Finding yourself, the real me
Man Up / Man DownJanuary 18, 2024x
45:2441.58 MB

Finding yourself, the real me

Ian Sanders runs his storytelling, coaching and creativity/ work life design business. He’s the author of five books on working life including his latest, 365 Ways To Have a Good Day. Ian is resolutely independent, curious, open-minded, and rebel-spirited, and that’s led to a pretty unconventional career. It’s also given him a unique perspective on what makes people and organisations tick.

His current gigs range from training leadership teams at global organisations in the art of storytelling, to being an instructor for Simon Sinek’s Optimism Company, where he runs his Redesign Your Work Day class.

He starts with telling his story how he jumped into a lake as he finished a conference in Bavaria, Germany. Ian says that reaching middle age is a turning point, stepping into the Real Me. He describes how he was feeling overwhelmed with his workload. But instead of jumping on the wi-fi to check his email, he jumped into a lake instead.

This turned out to be a life-changing moment for him, realising that he should and wanted to do the things that really mattered in his life as opposed to things that we were told to do or what would be within the “norm“.

This lead to him getting a tattoo of the lake, his first one at 54.

You can find his talk here.

It‘s an honest and raw story, resonating with many leaders in organisations, building trust and connection. As a storyteller, Ian is empathetic, honest, and raw and shows his emotions. Something we have lost a little bit in today‘s society. This resonates with both David and Volker, and we are sure with most middle-aged men.

He has been depressive and he finds that for many years ago he couldn‘t talk about it. However things have changed. His therapy was sharing his story, influencing others, and giving others the validation to do their own thing.

Volker speaks about the poem ‘This Be the Verse’ by Philip Larkin. “They fuck you up, your mum and dad.“

We talk about the age-old belief that men “shouldn‘t cry or show their emotions.”  We discuss that it is still a stigma that “boys don‘t cry” but we should be encouraged to show emotions to our children but also ourselves.

As David says, you are “papering over the cracks“ by ignoring emotions and teaching the wrong things.

Ian suggests that he went back to being a bit more like he was in his teenage years. That resonates as you start losing yourself in the next stage in your life, when you start following that career path which is often forced upon us.

And mid-life often gives us the realisation and means to be the person we wanted to be all along. Whether that is in relation to tattoos, or pure fulfilment of our inner needs.

If it matters, make time for it – that‘s Ian‘s mantra. Whether that is the coffee in his local coffee shop or being present with the kids. Ian, similar to Volker has a gratitude journal, focusing on the positive things in his daily life.

You can find Ian on Instagram at @iansanders and

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