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It all seems a little heavy right now …

… Which is not at all surprising. A year of change, of uncertainty, of inflicted control, of isolation, of mixed messages, of little understanding, of diminished humility, of jobs losses, of a mixed sense of identity, of loss, of gains, of witnessing aggressive, bullying and inappropriate behaviours for high office. It’s bonkers

And as we hurtle towards the end of this historic year — 2020 is certainly one for the history books — what next?

Frankly, who knows … I certainly don’t. In that unknowing state I could draw myself down into the depths of disabling worry and despair. As I wrote recently, the uncertainty of work presently could easily take me there.

And yet, I am choosing to hold positivity, hope and curiosity for whatever emerges.

Two weeks ago, I began lessons in Taiko drumming in Edinburgh — my home. Friends attend and they thought I might quite like it too — they’re right!

In my first lesson, a beginner’s class, following Covid safe briefings — which were informative and well thought through, we were introduced to the courtesy of Japanese interaction, the drums and the Bachi. The Bachi are important, they are the drumsticks — our contact with the drums. Our teacher, after watching us begin to play some of the sections of a piece we are learning asked us to stop and then spent time getting us to think about how we hold the Bachi.

Essentially, to have the most control, the least likelihood of personal strain or injury and the best sound on the drum it is important to hold the Bachi lightly, so that the bottom of the stick slaps ones palm as it strikes the drum — which in some ways is counter-intuitive as it feels like the stick could fly out of your hand. However, it works … of course.

I was reminded of a phrase I use in my coaching with my clients (often) which is to be clear on where we are headed (as people) and then to hold that clarity lightly. If we hold it too tightly, we may close down possibility through not seeing other options. So, yes, have a purpose, have a plan, know your desires and dreams … and then be prepared to allow those to hover in space around you as your life unfolds towards them, knowing that, maybe, sometimes, an alternative path may open up, which we will see more clearly with our eyes wide open and softened by a peripheral state.

It seems in many things in life it is important to hold intent lightly — our future path, our grudges, our judgements, ourselves … and of course, our Bachi. For it is here that we create the best, most powerful and moving music …

What do you hold too tightly that could do with a lighter grip?

Tania Watson is the founder of Creative Coaching and an executive coach, organisational consultant and leadership specialist. Creative Coaching is a successful company dedicated to the development of senior leaders in organisations through one to one coaching, intact team development and group facilitation. If you or someone from your organisation would like to have a no obligation conversation about how Creative Coaching may be able to help, please email Tania directly at

Executive Coach | Organisational Development Consultant | Leadership Specialist | Champion of People and Their Potential. Follow me for #leadership tips.

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