Story of Green Man Go
After many years of working with clients, giving literally hundreds of courses in coaching, personal growth and stress management all over the world, I started to notice patterns that didn’t work for people—and that they did over and over again expecting different results. Even after intitial breakthroughs, the patterns would return. Observing all these people, I was in some ways an arm-chair social scientist working in the field of investigation. All this came together in a metaphor that has become my philosophy of living, my Green Man Go experience. It is a philosophy I continue to develop as I view it as a life-long pursuit of the questions of life.
I remember distinctly how this idea started to happened. I was in Central London with a colleague waiting to cross a busy street. You can imagine the traffic, double-decker buses, taxis all whizzing by. On this particular day, my colleague and I were running a little late to an appointment we had. We were going to meet a business contact in a restaurant. The restaurant was on the other side of the busy street. Faced with the notion that it wouldn’t be good to arrive late for the meeting, my friend decided to make a dash for it. He chose to work his way through the traffic, narrowly missing getting hit by a couple of cars but finally arriving on the other side. From my perspective, it was life threatening and heroing, if not crazy!
I didn’t jump at the “opportunity” that presented my friend and waited at the cross walk for the pedestrian signal to change from a red man standing to a green man walking, as is common in much of the world. In the United States, I notice that’s it’s a white man walking that signals it’s safe to cross the street. But never mind, I was in Europe where it’s a green man. Watching my friend cross the street at whatever cost had me think about: How many people are exhausted in the day to day lives, trying to reach goals at all costs and never taking the time to stop and reflect or be patient and wait for the green light? How many people get so obsessed with their objectives, they miss what is happening around them?
While I was reflecting on this, waiting patiently for the light to change, I realized that the person we were going to meet at the restaurant was just a little bit behind me. So I went over to him and greeted him. He apparently was running late for the meeting as well! As we greeted each other, the red man did in fact change to the green man and we proceeded to cross the street in an easy manor, making a little small talk. I told him that my colleague was already across the street and the three of us could go into the restaurant together.
When we got to the other side of the street, we couldn’t help noticing that my friend was still out of breath, and sweating a little as well. Knowing the body as I do, I also knew that his adrenaline was elevated as if he had to run from a tiger on the savannah, but in this case it was a double decker bus or two. It also got me thinking how much damage we do, how much unnecessary stress we add in our lives going against the red light rather than being patient and waiting for the green!
Later, when I reflected more on this, I realized that sometimes what we are looking for is right there next to use. For instance, as I waited for the light change, the person we were going to meet was right there. As my friend ran to cross the street to be punctual, he missed an opportunity to be relaxed, see what was happening around him and possibly hurt himself in the process. How often do we do that? It also had me thinking about goals. How often do we lose sight of the goal because we have to pay attention to so many other things like fighting against traffic instead of keeping focused on what’s really important—or not even noticing that what we are looking for is right there next to us?
So from this experience, I began to develop the Green Man Go concept. It basically stayed a nice idea until I met Sergio Blancafort. Our meeting was somehow serendipitous as well. He and I shared many of the same beliefs and had similar goals to be writers among other things. I leave his part of the synchronicity of our meeting to him, but for me it became a way to develop this concept into something more than a concept. Through our partnership, we developed the theory and made something real of it so others could benefit from our experience and the synergy of our ideas into a life full of red lights, red men, to the opportunities to live in harmony with life and life from the heart and passion of our truths from the perspective of Green Man Go!