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Ep. 49 – Barrie Thomson – Encouragement, Joy & Positivity

In episode 49, Barrie Thomson of Feasts & Fables discusses the powers of positivity and encouragement, and the importance of placing joy in the centre of our life and our outlook. We also chat about the benefits of living and working with rhythm, in tune with seasonal cycles.

Show Notes Links:

Full episode transcript below, and links to find out more about Barrie and Feasts & Fables.

Creating Cadence Podcast Transcript – Episode 49

Mich Bondesio:

[00:00:00] Hi, and welcome to Creating Cadence, a podcast for life and work in motion. I’m your host, Mich Bondesio, a writer, coach, consultant, and solo entrepreneur. I’m also the author of The Cadence Effect.

I help high achievers stuck on the toxic treadmill of overwork to transform how they approach life, work and business. So they can activate more of their potential. And perform better in every part of their life. At a cadence that’s more suitable to them. Despite this fast paced world we live in.

This is episode 49, the fifth episode of season eight, published in October, 2023.

So, I’m back from sunny Greece, where me and my close family were celebrating my mom’s 80th birthday. And I’m currently in Northern Ireland as I record this intro, where my croaky voice is still lingering. I’m here for a brief time with my mum visiting my extended family for the first time since before the pandemic. And it’s been so lovely to catch up with some of my aunts and cousins.

In my experience, there is as yet nowhere else in the world where I seem to laugh as much as I do when I’m here in Ireland. As they say in this corner of the world, the craic is brilliant. And it’s good for the body, soul and spirit. The whiskey is pretty darn good too.

The women in my Irish family are strong in body and mind. They’ve endured their fair share of hardships, like the rest of us. And they’ve learned to find joy and happiness in their situation. And lift themselves out of it.

I always come away from these visits, feeling like my cup is overflowing with love, positivity, and possibility. That no matter what challenges I might be facing, I can take on the world because I’ve been bolstered by the energy of this place. And it’s wonderful women.

As I mentioned at the end of the last podcast episode, sociability is an important part of supporting our wellbeing. Connecting deeply with people physically in place and having lots of hugs and good belly laughs are not just good for the soul. The energy they evoke in the body is also good for your work and productivity too, because it helps you to function better.

On that note, coming in early 2024, I’m launching the first cohort of a brand new coaching and accountability program to help overworked high-achievers craft a more meaningful and connected life. Which will transform how you work and help you be more purposeful with your productivity.

If you think you’d benefit from a bit more of that in your life, I’ll be sharing more info about this later in the season. And my cadence newsletter subscribers will get first dibs. So head to CreatingCadence.co/subscribe to be the first to hear about special offers and early bird pricing.

Before we get into this week’s lovely interview, I wanted to share a recent review for my book, The Cadence Effect.

Rock and Roll Reader, AKA Trudi Roth on Amazon says:

“The joy of intentional productivity. If you’re sick of being on the hamster wheel of life, burning out and hopelessly grappling with what the hell work-life balance is, this book is for you. It’s definitely for me, I’m a solopreneur. And even though I theoretically love the freedom my work arrangement affords me, I tend to push myself harder than any boss would ever do.

Mich Bondesio’s book covers all the reasons why we prioritize productivity over wellbeing. And also all the ways the two aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s not about balance, as she points out. It’s about knowing yourself well enough to create your own cadence. It’s a brilliant distinction and her framework helps you sort yourself out. And make changes to live and work in a much happier, healthier, conscious manner.”

Well, thanks so much for that Trudi, it’s a brilliant review! And if that review has piqued your curiosity to go deeper and benefit from the wisdom in the book, then you can find out more at TheCadenceEffect.com.

So, onto this week’s episode, which is an interview with Barrie Thomson, who together with his wife, JoJo, forms the dynamic duo known as Feasts & Fables.

After a 30-year career in the Royal Air Force, Barrie has spent the last 10 years living a different and more creative life. As the co-founder of a high street deli coffee shop in Wales, he uncovered a new wave of curiosity and limitless opportunities to celebrate people, place and produce.

Just before the pandemic, Barrie and JoJo then closed the business and sold their house to create space for travel and new adventures. Their Encouragement Manifesto emerged from this period. And it’s the basis of a program of gentle mentoring and encouragement. They now live on a small, previously neglected farm in rural France, doing what they can to breathe new life into it, relishing a simple, seasonal rhythm.

Barrie is also a writer and curates a wonderful, long-running newsletter called Field Notes, which is a weekly collection of inspiring and uplifting happenings that have caught his and JoJo’s eye.

Alongside sharing more of the journey, which Barrie and his wife Jojo are currently on, in this episode, Barrie also imparts wonderful viewpoints on building a life that is in tune with, not just daily and weekly rhythms, but also seasonal cycles.

We cover the power of positivity and the importance of placing joy in the centre of our life and our outlook. And how a little bit of encouragement can go a long way to help build people on their journey. Because as Barrie says in the interview, encouragement is a superpower.

I think you’ll find this conversation uplifting and inspiring. And I also share a few of my own thoughts on these points at the end of the episode. So stick around for those, too.

If you’re ready. Let’s dive in.

So welcome to the show, Barrie. I think it’s been about a year since we last had a chat as part of your encouragement sessions that you offer. And it’s lovely to be able to have another conversation with you today.

Barrie Thomson:

[00:05:47] I’m thrilled to be here, I’ve listened to several of the episodes and the quality is amazing and I only hope I’ve got something to offer your listeners.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:05:55] Oh, I’m sure you do! So let’s get into how we know each other. We first met in 2016 at The Do Lectures in Wales, which for those in my audience who haven’t heard of it before, the Do Lectures is a fantastic creative speaker event that happens once a year on a farm in Wales, and we’ve stayed in touch since then, as many Do Lectures attendees tend to do.

Barrie Thomson:

[00:06:14] And it is an encouragement network, so, so it naturally lends itself to, I think what both of us are doing now. So, it’s interesting to have watched the journey, but I would say that was definitely the pebble in the pond.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:06:27] Absolutely.

So to start, tell us a little bit more about your background, because what you’re doing now is not how you started out your work life. And let us know where that journey has taken you. Where do you find yourself in this moment?

Barrie Thomson:

[00:06:38] So, yeah, it’s been a circuitous past, but probably quite a standard one. I spent 30 years in the Air Force and, um, I think a lot of people peering in on my life now would say that I wasn’t necessarily the, the typical military guy. And I probably wasn’t during my military life, but somehow I managed to get through 30 years.

They allowed me to get quite grown up. And I had a really fulfilling, adventurous, fun career and learned a lot, grew up as a man and as a person. But I reached a stopping point 30 years in, it felt a bit like a hamster wheel. I was measuring my progress in terms of a hierarchy where I’d got to rather than the sort of person I was.

And so I just left a little bit early. Maybe I could have done another seven years. Maybe I could have made another jump, but I had this spirit of doing something different. I thought I would retire and spend a lot of time playing on a PlayStation, whilst watching Jojo, my wife, do whatever interested her.

And then she came home one day and said, um, I’ve been chatting to somebody and I think we should open a deli, which was very left field, and that’s exactly what we did. So we spent five years, Mich, creating and building a community around a small rural mid Wales town delicatessen and coffee shop.

And, I guess it was so different to what I’d been used to. But in a way it wasn’t, in a way it was really people-focused. The way we are is very people-focused. And so we spent five years doing that. It is exhausting running your own business. You know, the freelancers, business people listening to this will know it takes everything of you or else you’re not doing it properly.

And so, whilst it was our idea and it was our intention to do it. It was very tiring. And we had other ideas bubbling. And so what we decided to do was to pull the rug out from under ourselves, stop running the business. So we gave people eight months notice. The accountant told us we could keep any gin.

We could write that off. And so that a great moment. And we deliberately set out to close the business. And not just that, we deliberately set out to sell our home, to buy a camper van, and to spend two and a half, three years on the road, giving ourselves space to think about what next.

And I think that chimes very much with the Cadence Effect, that sense that you need to buy yourself time, intentionally, to create the conditions for whatever comes next. And really, I suppose, we’ve then spent time thinking about how important it was to have a base camp, how important it was to have a place, to put ourselves and our ideas, and that’s where we find ourselves.

We bought a little farm, tiny little farm, quite run down in rural France, and we’re trying to live an intentional life beyond that traditional world of work.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:09:39] Fantastic. I love your whole story. And I seem to recall from watching your progress through your journeys and your campervan, a lot of that happened over the pandemic. So that was an extra constraint that was put on you. And where it’s taken you and where you’ve ended up is an interesting story in itself.

But the way that you and your wife Jojo have purposefully embraced this slow living approach, I think ties in very well with this idea of creating cadence to your work and your life. And you’ve done it in a way that is bespoke to you. And that’s really important about how you create cadence. It’s an individual thing that’s different for each of us.

And you’re living and working with a focus on mindfulness and intentionality. And I’m sure that living on a farm and growing food means learning to live more in tune with the land too. So your cadence is also needs to be flexible in that you have to adjust your routines to fit the needs and demands that come with these changing seasons.

So tell us a little bit about your day-to-day routines. How do you support your wellbeing and your productivity when it comes to running the farm, renovating the farm, as well as your writing and mentoring projects?

Barrie Thomson:

[00:10:45] It’s such an interesting angle because I, I would have always been the sort of guy who said that habits were for monks and so I would be more of a rhythm sort of person. You have that sense of cadence to me is about rhythm. It’s about not being overly fixed on a way of doing things that then ends up binding you or bearing heavily upon you.

And so. There are things that we do to try and set up the day. Look, we have a cup of hot water with a slice of lemon in it every morning. We sit and do the Wordle together. You know, I know they’re little online things, but we, so we have a little start up routine. But for the rest, we try and live more of a rhythm than a set of habits.

So, for example, poor old Travis, the van is no longer ours. He’s waiting to be rehomed. So we’ve taken a vehicle out of the equation. Madness, you might say, cause we live in a rural location. It is 11 kilometers to the nearest French market, which is perfect. It’s twelve if we go via our favourite boulangerie and have a pastry and a coffee, which we do.

And so on a Tuesday and a Friday, there’s the rhythm. We get on our bikes, we pedal to the bakery, we start the day, we go to the market. It compels us to fit into the community here. It compels us to talk more French. My French is very transactional. I have more words to say how bad my French is than I do words, which say what I need to happen.

And so we, we built a rhythm around that. And because we’re in our first season, we have planted wildly. We’ve just gone mad. And of course, what we’re learning is nature’s pretty good at this stuff. Our trees are bearing fruit, crops are growing. The tomatoes are absolutely crazy. And now we’re into a whole new rhythm of picking, pickling, preparing, you know, and trying to get ourselves set for what will be quite a traditional winter, I think.

So it’s, it’s as much rhythm. Uh, and it’s as much driven by the seasons, accepting of course that the seasons are all over the place at the moment. But it is, the intention is that we’ll try and model our life around that.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:13:01] Fantastic.

And what are the challenges that you’re experiencing as part of this that perhaps you hadn’t preempted?

Barrie Thomson:

[00:13:07] Water. It’s the most basic of things. But, but the volumes of water that it takes to service a potager, a kitchen garden, even modestly planted and the inheritance of a, I don’t know, maybe we’ve got about 50 fruit trees spread between a verger, which is an orchard. A little bit of meadowland that we’ve got and, and the actual potager itself.

The volumes of water are unbelievable and our intention is very much not to place an extra burden on the resources that are, that are already here. So we’ve got quite a simple farmhouse, one bathroom, a couple of toilets. The intention is not to make conversions and add in more plumbing, it’s to, to live very simply with the, with the.

the bits which are in place at the moment. So, it’s all about rainwater capture. My words, that’s a real challenge. We are very lucky. We have a fifty thousand litre rainfall reservoir which the rain is captured off our ridiculously large barns, which we don’t need, but they are very useful for capturing water.

And we’ve got a whole lot of work to do before the autumn to put new guttering in. I’ve got storage tanks to capture water and then use it productively, make sure there’s nothing going to waste. So there’s a challenge.

They’re really practical things, which, of course, I’ve been one of those people. I just turn a tap on, water comes out, suddenly you’re into a whole world of hurt if you haven’t got the resource, and I can’t see it getting any easier.

So the more we can put resilience into what we’re doing, the more we can maintain our intentionality, To live seasonally, because we’re going to be able to moderate the seasonal challenges.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:14:51] Exactly. And that’s a good point you make about building your resilience because with climate change, the way it is, you know, heat waves, extremes, all of these things will become a lot more commonplace.

So. Setting ourselves up as much as possible to be able to live in these, not to survive in these situations and conditions, but to be able to thrive in them is so important.

Barrie Thomson:

[00:15:10] And, and of course, from a human point of view, to make sure that we’re resilient, that we’ve, we’ve built in enough rest, you know, we, we don’t charge at things. You know, so hard that that we’re exhausted and the whole idea of creating space for ideas. If we compress that, we’re just not going to have the innovative ideas to be able to make the most of the small patch of land that we have got.

And to come up with solutions to those problems that are presenting themselves to us, which we never expected.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:15:41] Hmm, those are really good insights, thank you.

So let’s talk a little bit more about the work outside of running the farm.

So you have a fantastic newsletter called Field Notes for Curious Minds, which is published every Sunday. It’s described as a weekly collection of inspiring and uplifting happenings.

And your aim with it is to provide calm moments for unsettled times. And I’ve been a subscriber since I think almost the beginning. Has it been running since 2016 or a bit longer than that?

Barrie Thomson:

[00:16:09] 2017, so it’s, yeah, it’s a little over six years old. I did David Hieatt’s DoOpen newsletter course. at the end of 2016, you know, the same year that we did the Do Lectures. I was clearly a disciple worshipping at the altar of Do. And then it took me a few months just to be confident.

And I can still recall the first newsletter, 43 people largely signed up on the promise of winning a bottle of wine in the Deli garden. And in those days, of course, it was, it was pretty much, Jojo is about to bake a gingerbread cake. It’ll be here on Tuesday. If you want gingerbread cake, we’re the best place to come and get it.

And then we slowly started telling the stories of the producers that we put on the shelves and that’s where our distinctiveness came about. We were able to be hugely independent and celebrate other people’s stories. And then it became a realization. I think that, you know, if people like good food, they generally go to restaurants.

If they go to restaurants, you know, they, they look at the decor, they look at the plates, they’re interested in the maker of the glassware or the cutlery or whatever it might be. And so we realized, you know, pulling together and curating an eclectic mix of things that might be interesting.

Certainly that satisfied my curiosity, might just pique somebody else’s curiosity. So yeah, six and a bit years on, every Sunday 6 p. m. sharp. Yeah, it’s, it’s been going out. It’s brilliant.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:17:31] It’s a fantastic piece of work and you’re an inspiration in terms of your consistency and your staying power with your newsletter. I learned so much from you. And I also really enjoy it. It’s a beautiful piece of curation and you thrive on showcasing other people’s creative work, things that are linked to an appreciation of art and food, design, architecture, sustainability, and our connection to nature.

So I will share the link to that in the show notes, cause I highly encourage my listeners to sign up. But attached to this, you also have an Encouragement Manifesto and you offer mentoring associated with that Encouragement Manifesto.

So tell us a little bit about that and how cadence might apply in that context of what you’re doing with your newsletter and the encouragement farm, the mentoring work you do.

How do you think you’re helping people to support their creativity, productivity, and wellbeing?

Barrie Thomson:

[00:18:18] That’s such a good question. When we closed the Deli, Mich, in 2020. At the end of January, prescient maybe, luck of the draw really, we had this fallow period where we were trying to sell the house, that wasn’t happening. We were trying to get on the road, but we couldn’t get on the road until we’d sold the house to buy the van.

And so, there was time for reflection, and probably it was… I know a lot of people had a really tough time in lockdown. It wasn’t so bad for us. We were in a country location. We had a certain amount of freedom to go and walk a canal path. We had time to think we had space to decompress after what was a really hectic time. And that process of reflection made me think about the values that had underpinned the business.

So for the first time, you know, it was accidental, I suppose, how we applied them during the course of our business life, but it was interesting on reflection, just how solid they, they were. And none of them were rocket science, you know, being positive, staying optimistic because there’s wrinkles in the road, being kind to people, being generous.

You know, there were some more obscure ones, you know, about the pebble in the pond, be prepared to start things off. And then don’t worry about the fact that you need to be there at every touch along the way. Put two people together over a cup of coffee in your own town and those people, you see them chatting the following day. They’re starting to work together.

Be the pebble in the pond. Let the ripples take care of themselves.

So we put down these ten values, ten things which felt like they were important to us and that allowed us in the first instance to make sure that we were going to live the next stage of our life in accordance with those values, because they felt important to us.

The more I thought about it, the more I wondered whether they might be important to other people. So the first thing I did was, as you know, and you very generously offered your words, I came out to people and said, pick a value. Say something about it, you know write about how that value touches you. And so we’ve got a lovely collection on our website of reflections by voices which weren’t being heard as much as I felt they should be. By people who we bumped into along the way who we felt a connection with. And so we built this archive, and I know that people read them and get something from them.

So that felt really positive. But it felt as though that shouldn’t be the end point. And so, I started to think about whether or not people would need a slightly more active encouragement rather than the passive encouragement of sitting reading something. What if they interacted with somebody, even a wildly enthusiastic beardy fella, who had no skin in the game, who waves his arms around a lot, and who loves ideas.

And so that’s how the encouragement sessions were born. And I put it out there without any sense that, um, there would be any take up for it. Uh, it’s an hour long call. I describe it as a handful of tangfastics for the soul. It is that sense of getting some energy from somebody else. It’s like a, a bouncing ball.

You know, you bounce a ball against a wall, it comes back. You know, a slightly different angle. The whole idea that you could throw your ideas into a melting pot. with somebody who was just going to be positive about it, who was going to share the inspiration, who was going to celebrate what you were doing, who was going to say, yes, you can, rather than, no, you can’t.

And I, it was when I put it out there and people started saying, I could do with a bit of that, it, it really took off. And I guess there’s been about 250, free hour long Zoom calls. It suited the moment. Of course, people were on the end of a line. A lot of the initial calls came at that period of time where lockdown was just loosening.

People were going back to whatever this new way was going to be. And maybe it just, it struck a moment. And I think it helps that I’m not a big name. I’m never going to be a big name. You know, I’m a simple bloke who’s done a couple of things, had a bit of life experience. And has never lost his enthusiasm, never lost his optimism.

Always glass half full. You know, I wake up in the morning and I’m feeling good about stuff. If I’m not, I take myself out for a cycle. And by the end of the cycle, I’m feeling good about things. And so the audience just naturally emerged from that very difficult period in people’s lives. And it’s just carried on and we’ve been able to weave it into our life on the road obviously, it was a little more awkward with connections.

But we’ve been able to do that we’ve been able to be very intentional about it and say well I’m opening this up for three weeks when we’re house sitting in such and such a place What can I do to help you?

And it’s it’s been an astonishing variety, Mich, you wouldn’t believe. It’s been from sorting out somebody’s writer’s block. This lovely guy who I knew through work many many years ago. 15 years ago, we knew each other through work. He had spent 30 years, and I never knew this, writing a Christmas story for his family.

And in year 30, he had a writer’s block. He could not get going. So I wrote the opening to his story, and he took it off and ran with it. Some people need a social media bio. The thing they can’t say about themselves. They just don’t know how to get the words out. Somebody needed to told that that idea is ridiculous and just stop it.

Other people really just need to be given permission, and I use that guardedly. Why permission from me? They just need to be given permission to bring more joy into their life. And so, crikey, we all need a bit of that. And, and so, so that’s where it’s emerged.

It’s, it’s not a formal program. It’s not accredited. It’s not coaching. It’s not mentoring. I’m very careful to say It is what it is. It’s encouragement. But encouragement is a superpower. And it’s astonishing what has emerged from it for the individuals concerned. And your point about these paths are individual, the journeys people are on are hugely personal to them.

Many of which I wouldn’t talk about, you know because they are very private moments where somebody allows themselves to be unguarded to expose the fact that they’re suppressing something and not moving forward with joy in their heart.

A lot of it is balance, and, and you ask where it fits with the cadence.

I know balance is a dirty word in the book, but it, but it is trying to find a sweet spot, if I might use that language instead, between the commitments which people need to make to allow themselves to live. And in that I’m describing the normal world of work. That thing which allows money to come in, because whether we like it or not that’s important, which allows people to have an existence which is of worth.

Balancing that out, finding a sweet spot, which allows them to do that to a sufficient level, to enable them to do the thing which brings them joy, whether that’s their creativity, whether it’s their community, whether it’s hanging out with friends. So it’s a sweet spot. You know, let’s, I’m going to use that language and, and maybe it’s a Venn diagram for the clever people in class.

But it is just trying to find a way to encourage people to push more towards the joy end of things. Without compromising the foundation stones of their setup, whatever that might be.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:26:08] Oh, I think you’ve explained that beautifully. And, you know, we all need our own personal cheerleaders, especially people who are working on their own. And so many people do working in creative industries, running businesses, needing to be creative thinkers, the challenges can be vast and it’s quite easy to lose hope, you know, so it’s really important that we have ways to connect with people who can keep encouraging us and I see the value in what you do because I’ve benefited from it personally, Barrie. So thank you for that.

So. We’re coming to the end of our conversation, but if you could summarize in a few words or sentences, what does the concept of creating cadence mean to you specifically? Why does it resonate?

Barrie Thomson:

[00:26:44] I think what Jojo and I were looking to do, when we made our various decisions along the way, as we keep making the decisions, was to find meaningful ways of stepping away from the world of work. But retaining a life of purpose, and I guess it’s trying to be purposeful. The encouragement manifesto and the things which have evolved from it aren’t about setting up a business.

I’m past that. I’m in the very fortunate position that if you work for the Queen for 30 years and you go to some horrible places and you spend a lot of time doing some things that many other people wouldn’t do, then you get a pension and, and the pension, I completely get it, it’s part of my personal journey.

It has set us up to be able to describe a life beyond the world of work in a different way. But I absolutely rail against the word retirement. Retirement sounds like you’re waiting for the end. Retirement sounds like there’s nothing left of value that you can offer. And so I suppose the purposefulness, the thing which I was aiming for was: what could we do that, that would inject purpose into this next stage of life?

And this isn’t the end. It’s not like we’re, you know, on a linear journey. I think life is way more complex and far more interesting than that. And I would hate the notion that somehow we’re all going from A to B to C to D.

We’re not. We’re going to, you know, A to B to 2C to 3B. And then, and back again, because actually we’ve learned that it didn’t suit us at all.

And so I love this notion that we are we are going through life picking up experience. But we’re doing it intentionally and we’re doing it to find purpose and my purpose now is to encourage other people whether that’s them looking at us and going well, there’s the art of the possible. There’s some people who sold a place. Had a little pot, went smaller, shrunk everything down. And they’re living a simpler life.

That’s what we’re doing. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have a beautiful bookshelf behind me full of books that I need to catch up on. But it’s different, you know, I’ve just found a pathway which I think suits and it feels because of those connections that we have that other people make with us that there’s some purpose there.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:29:08] Fantastic. That’s a beautiful way of describing it. Thank you.

So any last words of advice or key learnings or suggestions you want to share with listeners based on experience of life so far?

Barrie Thomson:

[00:29:21] Find the things that bring you joy and inject more of them. I don’t want to sound simplistic because I know for an awful lot of people that is a very scary thing. It’s the same with my writing. Do I give myself permission to make time to write? Well, I do now. Increasingly, I do. But it doesn’t mean that it’s not nagging away that I’ve got to go and put some guttering up or I’ve got to go and dig the garden.

It’s just my advice. Who am I to give advice? But my experience has been that the more you do those things that bring you joy, the better person you are able to be when you bring yourself to the things you need to do. So they’re the things you want to do and there are always things we need to do. But let’s keep doing enough of the, of the wants to do, the things that make you bubble and fizz with joy to allow yourself to bring your best self to the other stuff.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:30:17]That’s fantastic. Very valuable suggestions from you. Thank you.

So Barrie, where can people find out more about you and Jojo, Feast and Fables, and the Encouragement Farm?

Barrie Thomson:

[00:30:27] Ah, thank you. So we’ve got a website, feastsandfables, all one lowercase connection, dot co dot uk, and within that there’s a section on encouragement, there’s a section on writing, And there are some links out to our social media. It’s a movable feast, the social media. We’re out of love with the artist formerly known as Twitter.

We’re still holding on tight to Instagram. And I’m a devotee of Substack because it’s a home of creativity and writing and a really strong place of encouragement. But there are links out to all of that.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:31:02] Super, and we’ll include links to those in the show notes as well. Thank you so much Barrie for your time. It’s been so lovely talking to you again.

Barrie Thomson:

[00:31:09] Great pleasure. Thank you so much, Mich.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:31:11] So a few thoughts from me on points raised by Barrie in this interview.

Barrie made a powerful statement about the fact that he and his wife are aiming to intentionally live more of a rhythm than a set of habits. Now that’s what creating cadence is all about. Although I talk about how intentional productivity incorporates creating, designing, and implementing a set of habits and behaviours that support you to work better, that’s just one part of it. It’s also about the rhythm, which these thoughts, actions, and behaviours help you to create. It is not rigid. It is flexible. It needs to flow and adapt to your needs. And it’s personal to each of us.

As Barrie references in the episode, cadence is also about creating the conditions for whatever comes next. It’s about creating that space, which I’ve spoken about so many times on the podcast, and I also write about in my book, The Cadence Effect.

In Barrie and JoJo’s case, they are entering a time of life where they have chosen to retire from the traditional world of work. They have purposefully chosen another path. But that path is not actually retirement. It is simply another path.

This idea of “unretirement” is an important one, which is gaining in popularity as our longevity improves. Many of us in midlife, me included, have absolutely no desire to stop working at some government-designated stage. We have lots of skills, experience, expertise, and value to bring to the world in a host of different forms. And we want to keep learning and growing and contributing, too.

Some of us also may not have a choice but to continue working past what is deemed working age because of other constraints such as financial challenges or caring responsibilities.

Whatever the reason for an retirement, it’s crucial that we are focusing on being as fit in body and mind as we can be at the stage. And that we’re finding joy in what we do too. Because life is hard enough. We need to make space for joy. As Barrie says, doing things that bring you and others joy, also makes you a better person.

It’s important to find ways to be part of a community of like-minded people, too. Those who can cheer us on as we cheer them on.

Navigating the unknowns we face in life is helped by having a strong purpose to guide us. With aligned values, which underpin our thoughts and actions.

By way of example, from this conversation, through their Encouragement Manifesto, Barrie and Jojo have found clarity around their values and purpose. And how they wish to live their life. They codified 10 values that underpinned their business, realizing that this was exactly the way they wanted to do and be in this next stage of their life journey, too.

These values are rooted in finding joy, positivity, community, and cheering each other on.

I’ll share a link to their encouragement manifesto in the transcript, but to summarize the 10 values, they are: Stay optimistic. Focus on positives. Be kind. Celebrate others. Create community. Be consistent. Focus on value, not price. Share inspiration. Be generous. And be the pebble in the pond.

As Barrie says, “be the pebble in the pond and let the ripples take care of themselves”. 

Now that’s my intention with Creating Cadence and my book, The Cadence Effect, too. They are both pebbles in the pond. And I know their outward ripples can have far-reaching effects, which may be well beyond my control. As long as those effects are positive for other people, then I’m a happy bunny.

So a few things before you go.

You can find out more about my new book at TheCadenceEffect.com. And helpful reviews are always welcome to help the book get found by those who need it.

A reminder too, that if you want to be the first to hear about the special offers related to the new coaching cohort that’s coming in early 2024, then do sign up for the cadence newsletter at CreatingCadence.co/subscribe.

If you like the show, please share the love by rating it on Apple, Spotify, Google Play, or Amazon Music. You can also support Creating Cadence, all one word, on Patreon, or BuyMeACoffee

Thanks again for listening. Until next time, keep moving forwards with courage, curiosity, and cadence.

Bye for now.

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