Craig: Welcome to the Mover’s Mindset podcast, where I interview movement enthusiasts to find out who thank you are, what they do, and why they do it. In this episode, Charlotte Miles shares her motivations for coaching, why it’s important to her, and how it fits into her life. She delves into more difficult topics. Emotional and energy recovery, personal struggles, and her experiences with mortality and grief. Charlotte discusses how parkour affects her life, her definition of success, and finishes with real life superpowers and finding purpose.
Craig: Hello. I’m Craig Constantine.
Charlotte: Hey, I’m Charlotte Miles.
Craig: Charlotte Miles is a coach, athlete, filmmaker, and an entrepreneur. Her curiosity for human movement has seen both her training and coaching career span various forms. From contemporary dance, crossfit, and Olympic weightlifting, to strongman, and now parkour. In addition to this, Charlotte is the lead creative at Parkour Generations, managing design, branding, and social media, and is the founder of Iron Heart Studios, her own media company committed to rich, resonating, and responsible storytelling. Welcome Charlotte.
Charlotte: Hey Craig. Thank you so much for having me.
Craig: Charlotte, as I was reading about some of the things you’ve done, I’m torn between … I wanted to just have the whole meta conversation about creativity in terms of working with media and interviewing people, and I’m not sure how interesting that would be to everybody else. But let’s start there a little bit and I’m wondering what your thoughts are being on the pointy end of the creative process. The sharp end.
Charlotte: Okay, give me a bit more context.
Craig: So when you work behind the camera, I know from our earlier discussion that you don’t go in with storyboards and this giant, complex vision. You go in and you know that you can just sort of get what you want to get. And by now you’ve realized I’m doing the same thing. I don’t have an agenda or a list of questions. And I’m wondering, now that you see what that’s like to have somebody point that at you, does it make you nervous to know that I don’t have a plan? Like this is going to be a rollercoaster ride. Or are you confident that, well I guess he knows what he’s doing?
Charlotte: No, I trust in you and the time that we spent together before we started, I think I have a measure of who you are and what it is that you’re doing here. And it feels like there’s space for authenticity so I think that going in with a really clear plan and structure can often be restraining. You’ve created the sandbox within which we’re going to play, but beyond that it’s about what happens in the moment so I trust in your process.
Craig: I’m just going to move your microphone as close as I can get it to get a little more bass. And we’re doing this just open today because I think we have enough to talk about that we won’t need to refer to any of my notes. I know that you’ve spent a bunch of time now doing physical training. So you were just at WIPW, Women’s International Parkour Weekend, and I want to just kind of hop around until we figure out where we’re going here. Are there any snapshots that … And I know some of the stories from WIPW but I don’t want to spoil it. Are there any snapshots from WIPW this past weekend that leap out at you as something that you’d want to share?
Charlotte: Sure. It was just a massive privilege for me to be at an event where I had access to so many women in a very short space of time. So I’ve been coaching for five or so years now, and I maybe have two or three women per session I’m coaching, but the strength and conditioning area of things is still fairly male dominated. So I just don’t have that many females in one space at one time and being able to give a bit more direction to the message that I’m giving them. And for this workshop it was very much about curiosity. So getting curious with your strength and perhaps feeling like you can hold a space within what is a fairly male dominated area of fitness. So not putting caps on your abilities based on what you’re told you should be as a woman. Let’s say culturally, socially, but deciding for yourself that there is this area of uncharted territory and you just don’t know what is possible in terms of strength. So get curious with it and go exploring.
Charlotte: So I hope that I was able to give the ladies there a jumping off point and a bit of a catalyst for showing them that what you perceive of your strengths is probably grossly underestimated. And if you can kind of find some courage to step in to those places where there is a gym or grabbing a set of dumbbells that your husband has in the bedroom at home, or whatever it is. Or if it’s go pick up heavy bags of shopping on a regular basis. There are so many different ways that you can train your strength and it doesn’t need to be in a globo gym surrounded by meathead lifters doing their bicep curls in front of the mirror. It really doesn’t have to be there. Whilst I train in those spaces and I think that you can find inner confidence to be there, I think there’s a lot of value in that, that doesn’t need to be where it starts. And it can be picking up a tin of baked beans at home and doing various different kind of movements with that or lifting your child. Just finding something that you can lift safely and with good technique you can carry it for a certain amount of time or distance. And you do that on a regular basis to the point where it is asking your system to adapt to these conditions in a way that it hasn’t done previously.
Charlotte: I was talking to the women about, our bodies are always trying to find homeostasis and a sense of balance, and you only need to find something that pushes it outside of that that is a hermetic stress response, a favorable response to stress that asks your system to step up and to grow and to adapt into a different space. And we’re always looking for mechanics first and then consistency. So consistent mechanics and then adding that intensity piece. And it’s the intensity piece that … It kind of sucks balls. It doesn’t feel very nice and that’s the area that most people don’t want to step into. But that’s the kind of missing piece of the puzzle that if you’re willing to do that … And the clue is in the name and it’s intense so it’s short. It doesn’t need to be an extended period of time. It can be three minutes worth of really busting a gut and sweating your ass off and breathing hard and pushing yourself. I’m not going to say into the pain cave because I don’t like that term, but just to a place that is unknown and probably uncomfortable. If you’re willing to go there for a short space of time, it’s that stressor that is going to get your system to up the ante and to grow and to become something that is as yet unknown to you. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Charlotte: So I was just trying to encourage the ladies there just to experiment and explore. Be your own N = 1. Get excited about this uncharted territory because that’s really where I started. I’d never had access to any kind of training tools like that.
Craig: And how did they react to that? I’m going to guess they reacted well to it, but did it work as well as you had hoped?
Charlotte: I think so. The feedback that I got from it was just extraordinary really. I think also because a lot of people come to parkour perhaps with no training at all or from certainly not a kind of fitness background. And what parkour does is it enables people to engage with an area of themselves like this childlike kind of experience of themselves that they have perhaps become detached from. It’s something that they once were, but haven’t explored for a while because they’ve slotted into this idea of what an adult is, what adulting requires. And that’s something that has existed already and that you’ve maybe moved away from. I think for a lot of people, being strong, there is no frame of reference for that. There’s no I once was and so there’s no return. It’s a completely new thing. It’s a blank canvas. And that can be as scary as it is exciting. And yeah, so I think for these women to have the sense of holy shit, I’ve just lifted something that I had absolutely no perception I could do that, it can light a fire within someone and it definitely did for me. So I hope that people have kind of taken that away and whilst they perhaps are great movers, they hadn’t ever considered that they could be strong too.
Charlotte: So yeah, maybe some people will be kind of finding new tools to explore and finding new areas of themselves that they can explore within that.
Craig: I’m curious, what’s something that you think other people get wrong about you or something that they misunderstand, or maybe something they believe that isn’t actually true?
Charlotte: That’s a very good question. That’s a really good question. Because I think I’d like to say that I am quite adaptable and can kind of shape shift a little bit depending on the scenario. But perhaps in some ways it’s about … I can be quite direct and people who work with me will know that I … Yeah, I don’t know how to explain it. Some people find me quite abrupt. And-
Craig: I don’t think you’re abrupt.
Charlotte: But maybe a bit cold. And I think what people don’t understand is that I’m highly, highly emotional. I think that’s part of why it is I do what I do. But I think I have degrees of that or I’m certainly able to manage that. I feel like I’m waffling now.
Craig: Or maybe deploy it as a skill?
Craig: I can’t really help you because I don’t really know.
Charlotte: Feed me a line Craig. Come on, help me out here. Throw me a life saver.
Craig: You already have my pillow.
Charlotte: So you noticed this?
Craig: Yes I did notice that you brought that.
Charlotte: In psychological bullshit terms.
Craig: You brought it from the sofa.
Charlotte: I know. I was like, I need my comforter.
Craig: I did notice that.
Charlotte: I did it the second I walked in the room. I was like, okay, we’re going into business right now, I need a barrier.
Charlotte: Yeah, I’m a really highly emotional person, but I think some people will perhaps perceive of me that I’m quite cold maybe. But yeah, I think just my direct conversation style when I need things I guess. I like to cut to the quick of what it is I need. But as I mentioned before, I feel like I’ve had some experiences in life that have made me unable to do the small talk. And I have the ability to … It’s not ability, it’s about the language. I have the tools to deal with tough subject matter and I’m never scared of talking about taboo issues and I think I have a responsibility to talk about those things. And as a result of that I don’t do the small talk. I don’t do the kind of fluffy, friendly stuff perhaps.
Craig: Yeah, or the social lubrication.
Charlotte: Exactly. Good word. That conjures up all sorts of imagery.
Craig: That’s why a great way to phrase that. But that’s mission critical. I mean, get on the tube here early in the morning and your personal space is a quarter of an inch on all sides. And you literally need the social lubrication to make sure that we can all exhale and get one more person in this car.
Charlotte: Absolutely. And I feel like in some ways my life experiences steered me in the direction of the kind of storytelling that I do and has facilitated me with the tools to be able to do that to a certain level because I can have those conversations that you’re not going to have when you’re standing in the queue at Sainsbury’s waiting to pay for your bread and milk. I’m probably going to get to the tough stuff far quicker, but I think actually at the heart of things a lot of people are really craving to talk about that stuff.
Craig: I would definitely agree with you.
Charlotte: The things that kind of … Not the nuts and bolts, but the real meat of who they are. And there’s not many opportunities to do that so I find the contributors that I work with, once I’ve established a relationship with them over a short space of time, so I spent time kind of getting to know them and their life and being embedded within that, they’re then able to have a certain degree of trust in me that I can take them in conversational terms into those spaces where perhaps it’s going to get a little bit emotional and maybe it’s going to touch on some tricky subject matter but is going to be dealt with in a sensitive way, but is also going to be somehow rewarding because it’s not the conversation they get to have on a regular basis.
Craig: Right. They get something back.
Craig: We were talking about that before, about how the interview process … I was going to say, but I didn’t want to interrupt you, your superpower seems to be being able to turn that on as a flashlight. So you’re incisive, cutting in a good way, cutting insight and ability to, all right, we’re having this conversation. Do you find that that superpower is a little scary sometimes? Because I find it’s-
Charlotte: For me or for them?
Craig: For you. So I find it’s a little scary sometimes to sit down and have conversations with people and then I ask them a question and then I watch them answer the question. I think maybe that’s too much. Like maybe I should have said something like, how was your coffee, and just gone for the social things that are safe. So I’m wondering … I’m also enjoying having a bit of a meta conversation with somebody who’s been on both sides. And I’m wondering do you find that you refrain sometimes, like intentionally refrain, from pointing that flashlight at something?
Charlotte: No. Hell no. Absolutely not. No. I guess the producer in me is … I also know what I need to have at the backend and I think I can spend time with someone and really know what from their message is going to be really strong, really powerful and resonating with an audience. So I have to take from there. I have a responsibility to do that. To them and to myself and to my audience. So I can’t avoid those tricky places and perhaps I trust in my ability to bring them back from that. It’s something that actually in coaching terms I talk about quite a lot. In that I feel like as coaches we have a responsibility if we’re going to take someone into a dark place. That intensity piece I was talking about, that is horrible. And when you push someone to that place where they are really hurting, it can really unlock some emotional things that perhaps they weren’t even aware existed. And as a coach I think if you’re going to take someone into that pain cave you have to be willing and able to bring them back out of that.
Charlotte: We’re always looking to cool people down and bring them back to the state within which we found them. And as an interviewer I need to be able to do the same. And that means taking them to a place where they are perhaps breaking down in floods of tears, but then finding the path that returns them to some normal state so that they can continue their life without feeling like they’ve been traumatized in any way and that actually they can reflect upon it as a really beneficial process to them.
Craig: I think there’s a lot of energy. I’m speaking from personal experience and from what I’m gathering as you’re describing it. A lot of energy goes into being on the leading side. So it can get very tiring. I know it gets tiring for me and I’m guessing you would agree since you just said mm-hmm (affirmative). I’m thinking that it gets very tiring and I’m wondering, personally, how do you take care of your own personal … How do you create space? Maybe you recharge by doing really physical things or do you like hammocks and read books? What do you do personally when you’re like okay, I now need to go recharge my batteries?
Charlotte: I go and lock myself in a dark space for a short period of time. No, tiring is perhaps not the word I would use because that has a negative connotation. There’s an energetic expenditure that happens and that’s to do with the focus and attention that you’re giving to someone and being not only present enough to let them feel supported and that you’re really listening to what it is that they’re saying. But you’re listening in as much as part of you is also thinking into future and where you can guide that person and what the next part of the conversation is so that you can lead them down a rabbit hole. So you, temporally speaking, you’re kind of split. In that moment you’re there and you’re present, but you are past, present, and future simultaneously. And yes that requires an awful lot of focus. And to answer your question, I haven’t yet figured out a way to really recharge my batteries from that other than solitude. I am an introvert and I really have to be alone and have some time to not be thinking and not be talking.
Craig: What’s your drug of choice? I mean other than literal, like caffeine. But is it books? Is it hammocks? Is it literally the dark? I’m just curious to know.
Charlotte: It will be movement based probably. It will be training. I train by myself most of the time. Yeah, rest and recovery is an interesting concept for me because I try as best as I can to walk my talk and take care of myself, but I think most coaches will not necessarily live by the tenets that they … Or they extol the virtues of rest and recovery and sleep and hydration, good nutrition, yada, yada, yada. But we’re often not that great at taking care of ourselves. So if I think back to … I spend 10 solid days in New York filming with women from … When I’m on, I’m on. When I’m filming with somebody I’m, as you’ll know, the really sweet spots are the moments where you switch off the equipment. It’s the best bits sync, the soundbites will be when you’re not recording and then you kick yourself. And I vowed to never switch off because I don’t want to lose those moments. They’re all part of the process and they’re all part of the gift that that person gives to me by agreeing for me to follow them around for three days.
Charlotte: So when I’m on I’m on and that means when I was in New York I was perhaps shooting from 5:00 a.m. in the morning, which means I’ve been up since maybe 3:00 a.m. and I’ll be with them until 11, 12:00 at night. So I may be getting three, four hours max sleep. But there is something about the process that it feels right to give that energy in that moment and I trust that I will recoup it further on down the line.
Craig: Like next week right?
Charlotte: Exactly. Because also the other thing about me is I don’t know how to not give everything. I don’t know how to hold back. So when I’m there and I’m in the process, that’s all there is. And I’m okay with that. And I know that if it’s even two, three, four weeks down the line that I will find ways to reenergize. But most of the time it’s just being a really antisocial person. Like when I know I need my space, I know I need my space and I’m quite happy to tell people that I’m going off. And I can be around people … This is the other thing I guess. I can be around people and be in my own space. But that also means that sometimes I have to have a dialog with people in advance and kind of a precursor of-
Craig: Caution, right?
Charlotte: Yes. A couple of years ago at Rendezvous I had Bane staying with me.
Craig: Oh my god.
Charlotte: Who I utterly adore. He’s a fabulous, fabulous dresser.
Craig: Awesome guy, but I’m not thinking that went entirely well.
Charlotte: Yeah, he just needed Andy Fischer, who is a dear friend of mine who understands my energy.
Craig: Buttoned in together. Awesome.
Charlotte: So Andy just knows that Charlotte’s doing Charlotte right now and she just needs a bit of space. So I can be with people but I will be in shutdown mode and I’ll quiet.
Craig: I was going to say I think that speaks very highly of you as demonstrating you have the wisdom to know this is what I’m good at and if I continue to hang out … So sometimes I sneak away from social gatherings in the evening to go to sleep just because I know, I learned the hard way, if I continue to try and engage in this space I’m going to run out of energy and then the next morning’s going to be like, oh my god, I said what? I did what? And it’s actually really good I think that you’re aware to say, “All right guys, can I have a Charlotte timeout?”
Charlotte: When I worked on Barbell Shrugged, the guys, I would send them out for pig breaks. Does this translate? Like they would play pig.
Charlotte: No, horse. That’s it. Like basketball.
Craig: Oh, right.
Charlotte: You can cut that bit.
Craig: I could, but we’re not.
Charlotte: So I would send them out into the garden to play. I don’t know. It was basketball. I’m like this is not my domain. Just bugger off and give me some space. So we would record in Chris’ garage and it would be, “You guys go outside and you just play and this how you renew your energy-“
Craig: GFO, right?
Charlotte: Yeah, basically. But for me it was like I need some space. Whether I’m just sitting there listening to music, but many times I’m just sitting being quiet. It really is as simple as that. Quieting the inner space as much as the extrinsic one. I think, yeah, I’m an only child and I’m an introvert and so therefore my inter … Yeah. Craig’s dancing right now. In terms of my inner monologue, it’s fairly relentless and so finding space for me to switch off for my intellect or my ego or whatever else is running inside to find a sense of calm and quiet is necessary in those moments.
Craig: Deep wisdom. There’s a metaphor that I like, which is Charlotte if I handed you a bucket of murky, choppy water and I asked you to calm the water, you would look at me like I was an idiot and you would set the bucket on the floor and you would not touch it. And I spend a lot of time trying to calm the water by effectively like, no, no, stop … Put my hands in it, but that doesn’t work. Just sit down and relax. So I find that just doing a little bit of breathing meditation gets me a lot of space.
Charlotte: What kind of breathing do you do?
Craig: I love people who ask me pointed questions. I prefer to do what they call square breathing.
Charlotte: Box breathing.
Craig: Box breathing.
Charlotte: Mark Divine did a … US crossfit. But he’s a Marine and he’s one of the guys that kind of started box breathing.
Craig: I got that from martial arts practice. For those people who are like, what’s that? I mean you could google it, but roughly speaking the idea is to breathe in a square even timing. So maybe four counts in and there’s a four count pause. You picture going up the box, across the box in a four count exhale and then a four count across. And then you just change the count to whatever. You’re not supposed to hyperventilate or be gasping. And the way I learned it in martial arts, the challenge was to at the pauses on the top and bottom don’t close the glottis. They’re supposed to open so that if somebody were to push on your stomach it’d be a little bit of like … Air would move. And I find that trying to hold that … What made me think of this was trying to hold that space at the top and the bottom of the breathing is sort of, I think, what you’re describing of trying to create a space in a more macroscopic sense for yourself to calm down and recover. Breathing happens to be one way that I like to do it. I had another thread of thought but I’ve lost it.
Craig: So what else springs to mind for you? Anything coming up that you want to throw at me or that you want to talk about? I have many more things we can talk about.
Charlotte: I’ll let you steer.
Craig: Next question that comes to mind is when you were talking about downtime you mentioned your inner monologue and I have an inner monologue, but it’s this not very nice person. It’s obviously me and knows me particularly well. If I said to anybody else the things that I say to myself, I’d be arrested.
Charlotte: You wouldn’t.
Craig: And it’s not as a joke. And I know that that’s been done. There have been sessions that have been done where you pair up with a partner and then you externalize the monologue that people are like, “You can’t say that to me.” And I’m wondering what’s your internal monologue like? Is it like that? And how do you-
Charlotte: It’s very aggressive.
Craig: How do you pick that apart? Let’s find some tools. How do we pick that apart to learn to become more kind to ourselves?
Charlotte: Ooh. I’m still trying to find that one out. Yeah. So what you’re describing is actually a session that Naomi Honey does at WIPW. And yeah, you would never, ever, ever, ever say these things to somebody else that you’d be willing to say to yourself. So therefore I’m exploring let’s say, the inner child that has these very aggressive kind of words for one’s self, but also knowing that the coach can exist internally as well. And so I try and coach myself through those things. It’s still an ongoing process. But I think the first thing to do as well is just to acknowledge that that monologue or those words exist. Those feelings are okay. That I think a lot of the times we’re trying to push aside. There’s a lot of shoulds and there’s not a lot of acceptance. And what I try to do is acknowledge and accept who I am and where I am and what I am in the moment. So if I am feeling aggressive towards myself to know that those feelings are apart from me, they are not me. They’re a quality, a substance, that is put on top. And to be able to see those things and decide for myself whether I want to inhabit them.Like items of clothing, do I really want to wear this right now? And I think a lot of people don’t feel capable of making that choice and they don’t have the language or the experience to be able to say that this is something that’s separate from me and yes it’s coming from me, but I don’t need to embody it. I can acknowledge the fact that I feel this way, rightly or wrongly. I might hate myself in this moment, but those are just feelings. And I might feel like I’m not enough. I might feel like I’m shit at something, I’m terrible, I’m a bad person, I’m a bad athlete, whatever it is. But these are just feelings about who I am and my performance and I don’t need to indulge in them. I can just allow them to be and then I can decide to move away from them. And I can decide to change that narrative for myself so that the coach in me can then step in and provide a different kind of language. And that’s not to say that we need to provide excuses for ourself. I think saying, “Well I’m shit at something. I can’t deadlift 120 kilos.” Okay, well that doesn’t … Or, “I just missed my lift.” That doesn’t make me a bad athlete. It means that maybe I didn’t get enough sleep or there’s stressors in my life. Whatever the things are that are mitigating my performance in that moment. I can accept those things. I don’t need to use them as excuses. They’re not reasons to corroborate the fact that I’m a bad person and I’m a bad athlete, yada, yada, yada. They can just exist as things that I can put down and step away from and then I can inhabit a new space. And I try not to kind of swing between this love hate relationship. I think there’s a lot of inauthentic sunshine and rainbows out there. Like the, everything is awesome.Amen. I can’t stand that.I can’t do it. I just can’t. And I find it quite-Oh, I don’t do it. I don’t do sunshine and rainbows.I find it quite abhorrent. It feels very uncomfortable to me and I think it is because it feels inauthentic. It’s inauthentic to me. I’d like to say I’m not a pessimist, but I’m a realist and so therefore doing the kind of care bears and all of that.No, I love it.It doesn’t work for me. But equally, we have to find some middle ground. So I can acknowledge the fact that there is a voice inside me that is saying you’re a piece of shit right now, but I don’t need to change that. I can just move away from it. Because I think when you try and suppress that thing, it just makes it worse. It’s like a child. Like I say, you tell a child to stop crying, they’re going to cry even harder. Because they want attention. They want to be noticed. So if you acknowledge where they’re at, but then try and steer away from that, to me that sounds like it seems like a better course of action than trying to suppress something. Because you don’t suppress it, you just push it down. And what do you do then? You compress it.
Craig: You compress it and make it more intense.
Charlotte: Exactly. And then sure as shit that thing’s going to come back and bite you in the ass when you don’t want it to, when you least expect it. So yeah, it just feels like being a witness to it, I see you. I see that this thing exists. But acknowledge it and then decide that I don’t have to be that thing right now. I can move away from it. Realizing that you have agency within that. I think that’s really important.
Craig: A couple of times in different combinations and ways you used the ideas of deciding and moving with a forward context and I really like that wording just generally, but also the way you used it. Well let’s flip our conversation over. So if you think about deciding and moving and positive direction in terms of total wising, where do you see yourself in, say, five years?
Charlotte: I don’t go there.
Craig: You don’t have to go there. You can take a mulligan and take a pass.
Charlotte: No. The fifth amendment.
Craig: Nope. That doesn’t apply to you. Non-citizenship.
Charlotte: I don’t do the planning thing. And there’s a real reason for that in that in my experience as soon as you start planning … You can have an idea of the direction within which you want to chart your course, but if you plan for that thing, the world is going to turn and this notion of control is so fragile. So I’d rather have a loose idea of where I want to go but no plans for how I’m going to get there because in my experience every time that I have gone into more finite detail of these are the different steps that are going to get me to this place, whether it’s career, relationships, my training, any of those things, it feels like a fool’s errand. Because those are the moments where something has kind of come and bust that whole scene apart. And not only have, I guess, plans not worked out, but it’s like the whole landscape has changed and perhaps it’s from fear that I don’t plan things, but it feels like a better thing to have a rough idea. So, to come back to your question.
Craig: I was going to ask, okay, so what’s the rough direction?
Charlotte: For my company it’s just going to continue to be … The framework that Iron Heart Studios works around is to find a spark of light and turn it into a beacon for people to see. So it’s to continue finding those people that have a very strong message and shape that into a vehicle that can make positive change within the world. So in some ways it’s just to continue doing what I do. I’d like to do it in a way that facilitates some downtime for me. I would like to be able to start doing those things that I’m not. Which are sleeping for eight hours and taking rest breaks and just renewing myself. Because also I can see how … We don’t know how ineffectual we are when we are in that space. And it’s only when you take a step away from that that you can go, oh holy heck. I was running pretty close to empty and I could still be functional. I think our capacity for functionality is insane.
Charlotte: I do not know where my limits are in terms of that. I’ve experienced pretty close to burnout recently where I felt emotionally where the barriers were. But I just don’t know capacity wise where that stops, where there’s a breakdown that occurs. I know that I can just keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going. So that’s where that forward motion is perhaps not all that great. Because I suspect that actually what I crave is the ability to stop and to really genuinely have some downtime and to step away from things and renew so that I can be better at what it is that I’m doing. Because whilst I have a sense that I could be doing better, I just don’t know what that looks like because I’m too far into the weeds as this now. So yeah, I just want to keep telling stories really. I want to keep impacting people. I never have a sense when I make my work, and that was something that I was talking to Melissa about with WIPW is that it was really emotional for me, having immediate feedback from these women about their experience of the weekend.
Charlotte: Because most times when I’m coaching a class I don’t hear but from people. People, at the end of the class are like, “Thanks very much,” and yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly. And in some ways I don’t need it. Like I’ve said before, I trust in my process and so when I make something I put it out into the world and I’m not attached to it after that point. You can’t be as a creative.
Craig: You can’t be. Nope.
Charlotte: No. You put it out there. You do everything that you can do in the creative process, but then you have to be willing to just put it out there. And it’s not yours anymore. It really isn’t yours. Because it’s open for the interpretation of the individual that receives it. So you’ve done your part and it belongs to everybody else now. To then be in the space where I can do something, I can give something, and right there and then in that moment I’d see the return on that investment, is very mutiny. And it was like whoa. This kind of bold wave of gratitude and emotion from these people and that’s not something that I’m used to. I put my work out there, it is what it is. I have a sense that it can help people and it can … Put it this way. If my film can make you cry, it’s pulled on your heart strings and it’s going to have a much more resonating effect than you looking at something and going, oh that was really cool. Cool is worth sweet F-A.
Craig: You’re allowed to curse.
Charlotte: It’s a style over substance thing. And I’d like to think that my work is about substance. Yeah, I’m all about the long game. Immediate gratification is not part of my world really. Not meaning to sound like I’m in an upper echelon about other people, but it’s just not something that interests me. Because I know the benefit of the long game.
Craig: Of the hard work.
Charlotte: Yeah. And that is also you have to get to grips with that within strength and conditioning. You are not going to see gains in the short term. When you’ve been doing this for long enough, you realize that it’s about process and it’s going to be a long, slow road to get to where you want to go, and you have to be okay with that. And you have to find your why. And you have to have clear rationale for what it is that you’re doing beyond the number, beyond the immediate gratification of I just did such and such a thing. I just PRed or I just achieved these smaller goals. You have to be able to move away from that. So to be able to have an experience with those women and hear from them on the spot that it just triggered something or it just had a good … It landed where it was supposed to. That was really rewarding for me. And very different. I can’t remember why I started talking about that.
Craig: That’s okay.
Charlotte: I can’t find my way back after 10 minutes of waffling.
Craig: No, no, no. I was just watching. I’m like, okay, I think you need a break. But I do want to ask another. I have a hard question. Just off to the side of what we’re talking about is a big, dark, scary precipice, which is what are your thoughts on mortality? So what happens when you’re all done?
Charlotte: I think about that all the time. My notion of time is quite different to other people’s I would say. I’ve experienced a lot of departures from my life and kind of ones that have happened very abruptly. So as a result of that I try to … Not I try to. I just do have an underlying kind of notion that there is no tomorrow and so you must do everything that you need to in the moment. Make no presumptions about the fact that tomorrow will be or that there is another day, another day, another day. You just don’t know.
Craig: At the risk of interrupting you, I noticed that you said, do everything that you need to do as opposed to everything that you can do. And I think that’s a very important distinction. And I don’t know how intentionally you’re choosing your words, but I think most people would say that they need to do everything that they can do today if they’re going to hold that mindset of uncertainty and I think that’s a very … Enlightened is not quite the word. But I think it’s a very wise observation on your part to say, I’m choosing to do the things that I need to do for me. And because you and I both know that means that you’re also able to do the work that helps others. But putting yourself first and taking care and doing those needs, I think that’s very important.
Charlotte: It’s about purpose. What were you put here for? What do you feel like your essential quality is in this space? And this is your reason for being. So yeah, I don’t know. Like I said, all of this kind of comes into focus when you have experienced a lot of death, quite simply. And it just makes you reframe things in a … It has to be now. It has to be now. And it has to be what is important. And what you need is important. What you were put here for, what you feel like your purpose is, is absolutely important. And so follow that. There will be plenty of time for want and desire around that, but I think attend to what is needed first. If someone were to tell you that you have three days left, I promise you it’d shift your perception of immediacy and what needs to happen. It would clean the slate of all the bullshit things that take up your day. You would suddenly start spending your fucks wisely and you would care about a whole lot else other than the things that society tells you or the conditions that are placed on you by family and your work and whatever. You’d start cutting to the quick of these things.
Charlotte: Part of my story is that I had someone very dear to me pass away through suicide. And when you are touched by that, it’s something that is so prevalent now. Most people know someone who knows someone who has taken their life. And it’s still this tricky subject that we don’t want to touch on it. And the reason being is because I think it scares people how close it can be. And is it going to shift my paradigm too? Because it does. And I think that’s the thing for me in that. Because it shifted my paradigm in a, okay, I don’t actually need to be here every day. It’s a choice. So therefore when you have that double edged sword of you could be taken out by a London bus the second you walk out of this joint, or you could reach the point where you cannot go on and you could make that decision for yourself. It really does kind of reframe things in a what has to happen in the time that I’m here for? You can’t go onwards without questioning what am I here for. And in some ways it’s the gift that was granted to me by experiencing what I went through. I’m just trying to decide what needs to be said.
Charlotte: This is that thing I was talking about. I was saying on the train that there’s so much noise out there. Everyone has their social feed. Everyone has a following. Everyone has an audience to some degree or another. But the question of whether someone is listening or not is a different matter.
Craig: Exactly. Figuratively speaking, one has a following, but one also knows full well that you’re not being heard. If you have somebody who hears you, that’s awesome. But most people, I think, don’t.
Charlotte: So this feels like you guys have a following. You have people that are listening. I was saying on the train it just kind of feels important. Well you do. Come on now.
Craig: I was just like, I don’t even think about that. I’m busy trying to watch the time and be kind in what we’re doing here.
Charlotte: But it’s like when you have the opportunity to be in front of a microphone and to have people listening, what is it that is essential? What do you want to say? So I’m just trying to figure that one out without crying. Because I hate doing that. It’s vital for people to get in touch with their emotions and that’s why I do what I do. But it’s still a really sticky point for me.
Craig: And I didn’t go there knowing that. I was aware of that, but I think it’s important for people to see that other people are struggling. So to see the different challenges that other people face and then they go, oh okay. So one still hasn’t found an ear, but one at least can see, all right, there are other people on the tube with me right now who are going through very similar struggles even though we all look the same.
Charlotte: Yes, yes, yes. We’re maintaining that veneer on the outside.
Craig: Facade, yeah. Vocabulary fail.
Charlotte: Yeah, and actually that’s something that, whilst I hate the social media thing, I try really hard to put out an authentic message that oftentimes is about struggle. Because I want to be able to let people feel a sense of connectedness that we don’t have to put out our highlight reel and we are all human, and we are all struggling in our own right. And it’s okay to be there.
Craig: Yeah, that broadcast of the epitome version of things-
Charlotte: It’s such bullshit.
Craig: And we all know … Not to name drop, but I’ve seen people spend 30 minutes to capture the video clip that 100,000 people are going to look at and love, and I think the video clip is great when it’s done, but I implicitly understand what that clip represents and I see the experience that that person went through and the people who were out of the camera and how they sat down and chitchatted and up there they caught it. But I think that if people haven’t taken the time to try and create, then they don’t understand what they’re consuming so I think … I kind stay through it myself, even the same tube as you, but people who create and understand all the process, and we see the artifact that we create and we’re like, okay, that’s perfect, and then we put it out. If you haven’t created and tried to create that artifact, you’re just seeing the artifacts and you don’t actually appreciate them the same way that the other creators do. And I don’t know if there’s anything that you or I or anybody who’s a creator can do about that other than maybe to encourage more people to try and create.
Craig: Maybe that’s why so many people are drawn randomly to learn to play the piano or learn to paint. They just have an inner calling to create. I think that creating things is a very important skill or habit to develop. And that’s something I didn’t … I didn’t start podcasting as like, I want to create. I just was having unbelievable conversations with people all the time and then some people literally glommed onto the back and at the end said, “That should have been a podcast. I would have downloaded that and listened to it.” And I went, “Oh yeah. That’s a good point. We could record this.” So the formats a little different than strolling to the next jam spot. But I think it’s a privilege and this is just psyche analysis for me in reverse. I just listen to people.
Charlotte: I think people have a natural calling to create things, but then there’s this idea that therefore the product must be perfect. And we’re so guided away from process and the understanding that the best things come out of that process. Certainly the most rewarding things, the lessons, come from that. So therefore that should really be the focus.
Craig: The point, yeah.
Charlotte: Yeah. It’s the messy middle. We’re always looking for perfection and to be something, to be enough, to be accepted. But in some ways the final product is irrelevant. It’s the process because that’s where the real beauty and the real-
Craig: The messy is the beautiful part.
Charlotte: Yeah, the change. That’s where that happens. And that, again, comes back to that get curious, just play. It doesn’t have to be any one thing. It’s just an experience of a thing. And that’s why we don’t plan for things because then that means we have a preconceived notion of what they should be.
Craig: Right. I love Alice Lewis Caroll’s curiouser and curiouser. Long again, maybe 20 some years ago, if you went to thesaurus.com and looked up the word curiouser, the definition that was … I’m sorry. Go to dictionary.com, the return one … Use your words Craig. The returned definition was look up curiouser, and the answer was curiouser and curiouser. And they were linked, you could just go around and around and I think somebody bought them and made them clean that up. Now it’s a normal definition of curiouser. But I think about that a lot when I encounter something that’s really, wasn’t expecting that, I can hear Alice going, “Curiouser and curiouser.” I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that book.
Charlotte: Yeah, I’m a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland. To come back to Bane, his nickname for me is Alice because I have a big attachment to that story in that while she’s trying to … She drinks the potion that makes the size that she-
Craig: One side makes you bigger.
Charlotte: Right. This notion of what she’s supposed to be. It’s only when she goes into the space of a play and imagination and starts to pull apart those notions that she actually can be what she is. She can step into that. I think that’s really powerful. That being said, parkour is the one area for me that is … It comes back to my dance background in that it’s a kind of movement system or a way of moving that I feel like I have to be perfect in. Which is, again to tie things back together, it’s a sticking point for me and it hooks into a lot of the emotional things we kind of touched on. And you saved me from.
Craig: Oh you noticed that did you?
Charlotte: Yeah. You were talking before about that inner monologue that we have and we often have these really harsh roads for ourselves. I have managed to get to a space with my strength and conditioning training where I don’t have that with myself anymore and I’m not attached to numbers and I’m not attached to what I should be able to do.
Craig: I’m surprised to hear you say that. I would have thought that that would be one space where you were-
Charlotte: Oh, I was there. Believe me. That’s actually why I stepped away from doing crossfit.
Craig: Oh no, I meant what you’re saying about your experience of parkour, I would have guessed that parkour was one of your go to I’m free here type of-
Charlotte: Oh, no, no, no.
Craig: Oh, total misread.
Charlotte: Yeah, because there’s this whole sense that parkour is natural human movement and is something that we should all be able to do. But I think we all have the potential to be able to do it. And whether we can do it or not at this point in time is a very different thing. And there’s a big space between being a beginner and being … Not even elite level, but you see coaches who move so elegantly and can do so many things, they’re so capable. Where was I going with that?
Charlotte: Yeah you’re definitely going to have to edit this.
Craig: Or not.
Charlotte: Oh no. That’s painful.
Craig: No, it’s not painful. Don’t listen to me too much.
Charlotte: This is my perfectionist speaking by the way.
Charlotte: Guess the ego is running.
Craig: So is mine. I’m running an internal, what have we covered, where are we going, what’s the vision for the finished piece? But I think that the hardest part … I’m talking about parkour and being comfortable in parkour. I think the hardest part of that you have already done, which is to first of all begin. Most people, the vast majority of people, have not ever begun. I hope that some day people will all begin. But for now, people have not begun. And then I think you have already gone beyond the beginner level, way beyond the beginner level, and realized that, all right, now I see what the challenge is for me, the challenge isn’t physical, the challenge is mental. And that’s another lesson that the vast majority of people, I think, especially people who don’t start in a coached environment. But the people who do manage to start, the vast majority of them never even notice that that’s a thing that they need to learn to move beyond.
Craig: My opinion. I’m not a coach. I don’t even play one on TV. So I think that you are realizing that that’s a challenge. Just let that sit awhile and you’ll break it open based on what I’m hearing.
Charlotte: Yeah, you just get to the heart of who you are very quickly within this training and you can avoid that in other training areas because you’re not having to embrace fear all the time. The second you get scared, you have to meet yourself. And you might not like what it is that you see and some of that voice that kicks off might uncover areas that you have been avoiding for awhile. And that certainly is the case for me with parkour. I managed to kind of coach myself out of that with strength and conditioning and moved away from crossfit because the redlining in that when I was-
Craig: Feed the monster, right?
Charlotte: Yeah. It wasn’t good. But that being said, that’s why there’s something about parkour that is enabling me to deal with these things. And that’s why I can’t step away from it. I’m forever asking coaches, just throw me a bone here. Tell me that this is just not for me. Tell me I’m never going to be good at this. Please.
Craig: No one is going to tell you that Charlotte.
Charlotte: Please just do me a favor. Because it would make life so much easier. But there’s, A, this part of me that wants to be good at this. Also the ex dancer in me sees the creativity, the choreography, the beautiful movement within it, the athleticism, and there’s a like, I would like to be moving in this way again. I would like to be able to do this. But there’s so many kind of layers that presuppose that that you have to cut through. And in some ways it doesn’t matter. And this is my constant frustration, I train to be a beast and yet when it comes to parkour there’s so much I can’t do. And my physical strength and my athleticism means jack shit when it comes to parkour because my fear of things puts a cap on my physical capabilities. So it’s a perpetual conundrum for me because until I deal with my head space, my body cannot do what it is destined to do. Yeah, that’s really annoying.
Charlotte: Somebody help me with that. But ultimately what it means is that parkour is essentially a way to do therapy. It’s making me … It’s not making me because I’m choosing to do it. But it’s asking me to have a dialogue with myself and to deal with these things. And until I do that, there will be small gains that are made in terms of my progress physically, but it’s not going to be what it could be because my head is always getting in the way. And I know there are a lot of other people that do that, and so I hope that hearing me say this means that people don’t feel like they’re other, they’re different. Because actually I think the majority of people feel this way.
Craig: I would agree.
Charlotte: But yeah, it’s whether you’re willing to go there. I would implore people to … Whatever it is that feels scary, whatever it is that kicks up these feelings is probably the direction that you should be headed in. So don’t step away from the edge. Just stay there for a little bit longer, wait for the adrenaline to wear off, deal with whatever gets kicked up in the process, and perhaps next time you might be able to move a little bit further forward. That’s certainly my hope.
Craig: So I’m guessing that you would agree, but correct me if I’m wrong, that parkour, when one goes out and does parkour, that you could divide the doing into two basic categories. One category is I’m just doing the physicality and I’m getting stronger and I’m improving my tech, but I’m not really working on that piece that we were just talking about, that piece of the personal challenge. And I’ll give you a grammatical question. Are there particular activities that you do and do you intentionally go out and go at the really hard part of it? Or do you just, it sneaks up on you and you’re like, oh here’s that monster again-
Charlotte: No, because I guess-
Craig: Or do you go out like, where’s the monster, I’m diving on it?
Charlotte: No. No, no, no. God, no. I’m not at that stage. Most things really scare me. Really terrify me. But because they also tap into that sense of not being enough. As someone that can clean and jerk their body weight, jumping to a curb should not be scary, but my notion of what that should look like, what it should feel like, what it should be, how perfect that should be, and my inability to recreate that vision is full hard stop at the end of the sentence. So I don’t need to go and do the “big thing”. I don’t need to go anywhere … I can’t go anywhere close to those things because it gets emotional and it gets really sticky very quickly. Because I want to be good at parkour, whatever that means. I want to have an expression of my physicality that feels like it’s in alignment with what I can do. But every time I try for that, every time I go there, the person I am steps in front of that. So I have to deal with that.
Charlotte: But importantly, that’s a dance that I’m willing to engage with because I want to move beyond it. And so I’ll do the two step at this moment in time with the partner that I have in front of me. Otherwise I need to step away. And I don’t want to do that. I’m not a quitter. But equally, I can see that this is the direction I’m supposed to be headed in. So to answer your question, there is no one thing I do, there’s not particular exercises. It can be everything and anything. It’s more I have to get a read on where I am on that day. I’ll advise my athletes when they come in to train with me, base your impressions of your session for start off of your effort. It should be about progress over perfection and the effort that you put into something. And if your effort was 100% and you couldn’t have given more to that, then end of. That was all you could possibly do there. And your effort will be guided by how well nourished you are, how stressed you are, how well you’ve slept, all of those. The components that fit within your physicality.
Charlotte: So I need to take a measure of those things, but those can also be wiped aside by whatever happens in that moment. And like I said, for me the emotional baggage that I’m carrying is something that is bloody heavy and has been controlled and suppressed for quite a long time. I’ve managed to manage those feelings. And now they are getting to the point where my capabilities within parkour are decreasing rapidly because this thing just wants to be heard and it wants to be dealt with. And I sound as if I have some kind of alien entity inside me. But it’s just this thing that it will just keep bubbling to the surface. So it has gone from me feeling like I can do a fair number of things, I can run a route, to now okay, in all likelihood I can be jumping to the bottom step of a stairs and it’s going to come up now.
Craig: Here it comes.
Charlotte: Yeah. And it’s all attached to ego. It’s attached to my sense of self worth. But the PTSD that I have and the grief journey that I’ve been through, and the trauma around that, is … I refer to it as like a sticky subject. So it doesn’t take much for that to attach to something and suddenly you’re in the spiral of emotions. So yeah, I’m using parkour. I’ve had to take the decision that parkour for me isn’t something fun to do. It’s a means to an end. Right now. It will be fun at some point in time because it has been previously. But right now it’s therapy.
Craig: Shortcut right into the monster right?
Charlotte: Yeah. And it’s the thing that has to be done. It has to be done because I have a sense of what lies beyond that and I want to get there and that area is exciting for me. So it’s facilitating personal growth and everyone talks about how personally developmental parkour is as a training methodology and I have to say yeah, 100%, above and beyond anything else I’ve done. It gets you there quickly. And that means that I just need to reframe how I look at it right now. I can’t look at it as the thing that I do for fun because it’s not. It’s painful. But that’s where I need to be. I am exactly where I need to be. So I’m not going to take a step back from that as much as I am trying to find that coach who’s out there that will be willing to tell me that I should stop and give me that underhand pass. I’ll keep going with this and keep trying to work through my demons and cut myself some slack. Maybe.
Craig: So, in the random direction, who’s the first person that comes to mind when I say successful?
Charlotte: I’m going to throw a question back at you.
Craig: That’ll be fine.
Charlotte: Because success means different things to different people. So it depends on whether you’re talking about self actualization or career or in their athletic pursuit.
Craig: The subliminal mode hidden in the question is how do you define success? And then based on your definition of success, which most people wind up unpacking in answering, is kind of where the question is aimed at. So I think I have an idea of what you would consider success, but …
Charlotte: The person I started my business with, Chris Moore. Probably him, just because whilst he passed away really ridiculously early, Chris was 35. He was one of the hosts on Barbell Shrugged and had had a powerlifting career and had been an American football player and had a lot of records to his name. I think his greatest success was probably his ability to reach people in a way that they weren’t expecting. So Chris’ gift was really to be able to combine the very dry, technical data based information of strength and conditioning and blend that really elegantly with philosophy and theology and terms and ideas that perhaps your meathead lifter would not have necessarily … You keep laughing every time I say that. Have I just sworn?
Craig: No. I had the same image. I hate weightlifters. Every time you say it I just think it’s funny because I love the visual that goes with it. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.
Charlotte: That’s okay. So he could really elegantly combine concepts, let’s say, for people that would not necessarily embrace them. And he could do it effortlessly. And for me, the reason why we do what we do is to connect people with each other and with ideas that aren’t necessarily within their field of vision. And if you walked up to a person in a gym who, let’s say, is a bodybuilder who is looking to train for aesthetic purposes and you gave them the Bhagavad Gita and said, “Go away and read this because you’re going to learn a lot about training and a lot about life within this text”, they would probably just, thanks but no thanks, push it to one side, carry on with their bicep curls. Which is all well and good. But what Chris could do was inspire people to want to learn more about the world, themselves, history, where they’ve come from, why people think the way they think, why they think the way they think. And yeah, he really connected people through that. And that’s super powerful. That’s a superpower, genuinely. To connect people.
Charlotte: In a world where so much is about being disparate and tearing people apart, there’s something very, very powerful about being able to interweave people.
Craig: And to first see who should be interweaved. I was going to ask, do you think he knew that he had that superpower?
Charlotte: No. But also just because he was ridiculously humble. He saw himself, and for all intents and purposes, a lot of the world initially saw him as just the comedian on the show. He was there for shits and giggles. He was the person that when the dryness of strength and conditioning and weightlifting information has kind of sucked the life out of the conversation, he was the one that could just throw in a little one liner. And lots of people just saw that as entertainment, but then other people really understood kind of that was the glue that held things together. And you need that. You need to not take yourself so seriously and don’t take life so seriously. But yeah, this is the thing that actually resonates with people. It’s what brings the barriers down. It’s what helps them to understand and feel connected and feel like this is something for them. Again, it’s what resonates.
Charlotte: These were terms … Responsible, resonating, storytelling. These were the terms that we came up with when we were establishing Iron Heart. Because we didn’t want to be part of the noise that was out there already. We wanted to do something that was genuinely about change. And no, he did not at all know what his superpower was. He didn’t know the efficacy of what he was doing, but my god, when he passed away the amount of outpouring of love for him was just intense. So many people feeling like he helped them be better versions of themselves. Who can say that? That’s a rare quality.
Craig: So what do you think your superpower is?
Charlotte: Bullshit. And waffling, clearly.
Craig: Ability to bullshit or are you calling bullshit on my question?
Charlotte: No. My knee jerk answer is hustle. I said this a million times over. I’m really not smart. I’m not well educated. I’m definitely not the most intelligent person in the room, but my god will I outwork anyone.
Craig: Will Smith said, paraphrasing, something like you may have it on me in 19 categories, might be bigger, smarter, faster, but he said I’ll guarantee one thing. If we get on a treadmill together I’m getting off after you or I’m dying. And he was just like work, work, work, work, work. In the spirit of that.
Charlotte: Yeah. So I guess I’m trying to hone that in that I’m trying to learn when it’s time to work hard and when it’s time not to.
Craig: I was going to say if I can venture to mention back to where we all started with this, that can be a vicious beast to feed. I have the same work ethic or the same … If I just work on this a little bit more. And I want to ask have you made any progress on how do you keep that dog reined in so that you don’t let your superpower wind up destroying the rest of your life?
Charlotte: It’s still a work in progress, let’s say. But it’s a different thing though because I’m very privileged to do what I love. It just about keeps a roof over my head and food on the table. But the sense of joy that I get from doing that feeds everything. When you have a big enough why, you’re willing to suffer so much. And it’s not suffering. It’s really not. Suffering to me would be doing a nine to five stuck behind a desk.
Craig: No efficacy, right?
Charlotte: Right. No purpose really. And I think it enables you to reframe your sense of suffering. Not only do I get that from my training, and yes I’m training for the zombie apocalypse and whatever else, but I’m training for the day when I’m destitute, for the day where I can’t do what it is that I want to do anymore. The tomorrow that is the worst case scenario. And it would be a slow death to be behind a desk. Or to be … This is the reason why I stepped away from working TV. I had a damn good job working in the TV industry. And I had worked hard to get to the position I was. And battled through vast amounts of sexism and ageism to get to this level where I felt like I was finally being able to embrace some creativity and not just doing kind of monkey edit jobs. But I then also realized that I probably wasn’t supposed to be stuck behind a desk for anything up to 18 hours a day in a room with no natural air and no natural light and a black box. Being able to make something, but am I really making something of value here?
Charlotte: My films that I make now, god knows how many people see those. One, two hundred thousand. I don’t know. It’s distinctly less than when I worked in TV. But you only have to create difference for one person. So it doesn’t matter to me that maybe only one person sees and hears the message that I put out there. That’s enough for me. And I will do everything possible to make sure that that message gets out there. And also because I’m filming people who have such a powerful message to give. And they don’t have a vehicle for that. They don’t have an outlet. That’s my job is to be able to take an everyday story … Well not everyday, that’s bullshit. They’re extraordinary. But to take an everyday person and to tell their extraordinary story that perhaps creates some change, some positivity, some inspiration within another everyday person out there on the other side of the world that inspires them to be different, to embrace their physicality, embrace their inner strength. Just get outside of themselves. Do more, be more.
Charlotte: If I can do that, then it makes everything worthwhile. And no amount of money in the bank, no security of having my own house or a fancy car or years holidays, those things mean nothing in comparison to feeling like I am fulfilling my purpose by helping to help somebody else.
Craig: Had anything percolated to the top in story? You don’t have to go there. Because you’ve actually told a few stories.
Charlotte: Yeah, it’s just this … I was thinking about what is useful for people.
Craig: Doesn’t have to be useful. It can be completely non sequitur. Favorite sunny day, favorite …
Charlotte: I’m just so lucky. I’ve had many different experiences. So it’s really hard to pinpoint one particular story because there are a multitude of those. And that does come down to … I’m going to say the phrase going right. A friend of mine, Logan Gelbrich, just came out with a book, a very good one, Going Right. And it’s not necessarily following the stream, not going in the same direction as everyone else, but following. There is a logical path to following your dreams. And the things will come out of that will only be rich and beneficial and really, really rewarding. So it’s hard to pinpoint one story because there’s many different occasions where I’ve done what is the uncomfortable thing and not the clear path forward. Not the plan, not the … You know. Follow A, B, C, D, or steps one through 10, and it’s going to get you to where you want to go. Is that really going to be the way you want to go? Is that really what you want to do? I don’t know yet so I’ll follow the potential and I’ll go down this route and it has enabled me to experience many, many different things that are just …
Charlotte: I can see a through line from my dance career all the way to where I am sitting here now. But it’s fairly tenuous. But also it’s a very curvy, winding road. But it has all happened for a reason. And the experiences I’ve had from that I just would never had gotten if I’d followed that plan. That kind of charted journey that was from A to B to C. So yeah, it’s hard to pick one thing. My time with Barbell Shrugged was intense and amazing. Working with these guys who are all different backgrounds, different energies, just an incredible part of my life. And the coaches within strength and conditioning and crossfit and weightlifting that I got to spend time with was just amazing. Like Mike Burgener is just the most wonderful father figure. And to be able to spend time with him and learn a little bit from him was amazing. But yeah, it’s just hard to pinpoint any particular … I don’t know what’s useful to people.
Craig: I wouldn’t think about what’s useful to people. I’d think of what story came to mind that you thought would be fun to share. But it’s just a fun question to ask people and see what comes to mind. But like I said, you’ve already told a few stories in answering other questions.
Charlotte: Yeah, I don’t know if I can.
Craig: It’s all good.
Craig: Has anything else sprung to mind? I think we should begin winding up. Anything else sprung to mind that you want to bring up or that you want to shout out to people to go read or consider? Sometimes I worry that people listen and they might get inspired or feel that there’s a tap on the glass that has happened to them and then launching them off on that book suggestion, I think that’s always handy to give people a where to go next. But also tough to answer on the fly because you didn’t show up being prepared to.
Charlotte: Yeah, that’s a great book for people who are wanting to kind of have a sense that they want to kind of … What do I want to say? That they are not following their purpose. That they’re kind of leading a shadow existence and they are supposed to be something else. Rather than giving up our agency, let’s do something about that and move in that direction. And yes that’s probably going to be an uncomfortable journey. And this book just shows the efficacy of that decision making. That actually whilst the world will try to convince you that following your dreams and following the things that you feel like you should be doing that are essential to your being. It’s a scary and long road. There’s absolutely nothing immediate about the rewards within that. So that’s what puts people off and you have a whole bunch of people saying don’t do this, stick with security, stick with what you can control right now. This book really gives a very logical explanation of why that isn’t the right way of conducting yourself. So it takes it out of that dreamer head space in some ways and provides very clear data on that.
Charlotte: A clear rationale. And I feel like that’s kind of the missing piece for some people. They feel like dreaming is just that. It’s imagination and that shouldn’t be trusted. But instead I think imagination comes from the heart and it isn’t logical. It doesn’t have to be and it shouldn’t be. It’s about thinking bigger and thinking beyond what is already in existence. So you have to be willing to walk the path less trodden. But there’s too many people and things around us that are telling us that that’s probably not the sensible route. So that’s a good book for that. Just-
Craig: Be curious?
Charlotte: Yeah. Just experience more art. And when I say art I mean music, film, whatever it is. So the way that … I’m going to forget his name. The writer of Sapiens, Harari. I can’t pronounce his name. Let’s leave that one there. There is biology in a story. And understand that story is the thing that underpins everything. Where we don’t have data for things we fill in a narrative. It is how we communicate with the outside world, it’s how we understand our inner world, it’s everything. So experiencing more stories and other people’s perceptions of the world is only going to help provide a broader frame of reference for our own. And is only going to kind of nourish that space. We were talking about travel before. When you stay in the same space, you’re only ever going to experience one angle of that thing. And I think by engaging in more storytelling, more books, more films, more art, more music, it unfolds different perspectives. This life is multifaceted. It takes many different perspectives to create this rich tapestry that we call life. And the more of that that you can start to grapple with and play with and just dive headfirst into it.
Charlotte: Because it’s only going to help you understand the world, but understand yourself better. I’m really waffling now.
Craig: No, that’s fine. This is the perfect time for me to say I’m going to ask you one final question, which is a hook that I ask everybody at the end. Normally I would have a chance to unpack it a bit before but now everybody gets it. So the question isn’t meant to be a trick and it’s going to sound like I’m trying to trick you.
Charlotte: The way that you’re preempting this is really scary.
Craig: It’s really scary. The question contains the word practice. I’m going to ask you a question about your practice. You can interpret practice to mean your entire life, your parkour, whatever you like. And you don’t have to tell me what that is. Just use the question to do whatever you want to do with it. The question is, I always say, and of course the final question is three words to describe your practice.
Charlotte: Three minute pause. It’s definitely going to … Heart, story, strength.
Craig: Thank you very much Charlotte. It’s been a pleasure.
Charlotte: Thank you.
Craig: This was episode 56. For more information go to moversmindset.com/56. And there’s more to the Mover’s Mindset project than just this podcast. Visit our website for more free content, to join our email list, or to read about how you can support this project. And I’ll leave you with a final thought from Sir Edmund Hillary. It’s not the mountain that we conquer, but ourselves. Thanks for listening.