The Power Of Positivity: An Interview with Confidence and Purpose Coach, Declan Edwards.
Over the last few years there has been a steady increase of awareness when it comes to issues surrounding mental health and emotional well-being. We have seen this attention grow via numerous national campaigns, all attempting to remove the stigma around such private issues. One man who is at the forefront of this awareness and seeks to change the traditional well-being sector is Declan Edwards, Confidence & Purpose Coach at ‘BU Coaching’. Edwards has long been fascinated as to why some people flourish, excel and enjoy their lives while others simply get by and survive.
We spoke with Declan about this fascination and why strong mental health and emotional intelligence is more important now than ever.
What is BU Coaching and what makes it different from similar services?
BU Coaching is about ‘Being You’, that via me and my team you are given the tools to become the best version of yourself. Our goal is to shake up the emotional well-being industry, because the industry, at least here in Australia, is often focused on weakness. They look at what has brought you down, they look at the negatives, and then the techniques and strategies you are taught to reassess and deal with your mental health are often wishy-washy or reactive. This doesn’t sit well with me, as I always wondered; why don’t we do something before people are emotionally struggling?
Look, don’t get me wrong, I think awareness of mental health and emotional well being is important and is much better now, thanks to campaigns such as R U OK Day. However, we can’t just only focus on awareness, we need actions and plans, otherwise nothing will change. A person’s ability to change their circumstance should be the primary focus, which is what we at BU Coaching do.
We offer emotional well being strategies that are proactive and fun, we also give you tools that you can then apply to all aspects of your life, not just your mental health. We push to empower people to overcome the negative voices inside their heads by using evidence based techniques and strategies that will increase their emotional intelligence.
We also see ourselves as a viable option for individuals where traditional psychology may not have worked. Unlike the old school of thought, we don’t believe in a one size fits all approach as our services are tailored around the individual, therefore one can get the best results they’re looking for.
Overall, I would say that 90% of our coaching is tailored to a one on one situation. We also offer online courses and short courses as well as live seminars and master classes, with them all based on evidence backed studies in Human Behavioural Psychology and Positive Psychology. Our work is to help people move towards overcoming self-doubt and increase their self-confidence and emotional intelligence.
I noticed that you have a nine point value system? Why is that important to you and your business?
We at BU Coaching believe in a value driven business. Because we are a business that deals with people and their well-being we need to value people over profit. The values that we have and pledge to uphold also make us accountable, not only to ourselves but our clients. I take great pride that every member of the BU Coaching team chooses to integrate those nine core values into their work.
The said values being; be authentic, work with passion, be grateful, value personal growth, aim to make a positive difference, deliver amazing service but don’t take a business too seriously, interact with genuine curiosity and compassion, practice what we preach and be ‘flawsome’ by accepting and embracing our flaws as they contribute to our awesomeness.
By having a set of values it ensures that we do truly practice what we preach and that we always aim to make a positive difference to ourselves, our community and the world as a whole.
I don’t know if you noticed on our website, but our ambition is to impact one trillion lives by spreading a ripple effect of positive change. I know, it sounds crazy, and people might think it is, but what my colleagues and I do here at BU Coaching is more than a business but a social movement. We have genuinely created something that is much bigger than us.
You also not only work with individuals but also with businesses, explain what you think it’s needed?
Just as individuals can make a positive impact, so can a business. The fact of the matter is that most businesses fail within the first five years and the stats show that the rates of anxiety, stress, depression and emotional burnout are 66% higher in business owners compared to the normal population. Apparently up to 68% of staff also report feeling disengaged at work. I and my colleagues believe this can be changed with the right attitude and processes.
To achieve an emotional turnaround for a business owner and their staff all starts with us training everyone, from the top down, in emotional intelligence. We give them the tools to invest in their clients, their staff and to incorporate a positive approach to their business. If you are engaged in your business on an emotional level, you not only have an engaged staff but your business will run better.
How did you and Jordan meet and start your business?
Jordan and I knew each other at school. We had mutual friends, but never really knew each other that well. It wasn’t until I was looking at starting this business that a friend told me to get in contact with him as he shared some similar views regarding changing up the emotional well-being industry. What I initially thought would just be a one off meeting with someone, turned out to become an important part and partner in the business.
Funnily enough, we actually didn’t get along that well in the beginning, as we are complete opposites in many aspects. Those early stages were a learning experience; learning to adapt and to gel with someone that may differ from your point of view or way of doing things. Ultimately, what made it work and continues to do so is our shared vision and goal for the business. Since then we have actually become really close, with Jordan now being one of my closest mates.
What inspired you to write your book “Opportunity Is Nowhere” or “Opportunity Is Now Here”?
Yes. You see? The title can be read two different ways, and that’s the point. I wanted to write a book that was short, actionable and to the point. I noticed there wasn’t a lot of books out there that gave real world examples and insight. The problem is that when people think ‘self help’ it’s often very heavy, dry and not relatable. I wanted to write a book that was easily digestible and accessible. The book has been really successful too. I was even a featured author at the 2017 Frankfurt International Book Fair.
Overall, the book compliments what we do at BU Coaching – to empower people to make change across the main area of their lives; health, career, finances, social life, romantic relationship, personal growth and self-perception.
“What we do at BU Coaching is offer emotional well being that is proactive and fun, and give you tools that you can apply to all aspects of your life. ”
— DECLAN EDWARDS
Speaking of self-perception, how do you think social media, with all its positive impacts, can also have a negative effect?
People see social media as truth, not remembering it’s all through a filter. From literal filters on photos to our words being carefully selected and curated when we post. Social media as a whole is more often than not a false reflection of someone’s authentic self. No one is ever going to tell you the whole truth on social media. If you are being your authentic self and you know your purpose, what does it matter what someone else posts? That’s why it’s such an emotionally dangerous thing to compare yourself to others. Ultimately when you do, you’re comparing yourself to something that is more fantasy than reality.
As we also live with a 24 hour news cycle, so much of what we often see and hear on a daily basis can be negative, how do you think that impacts on people’s daily lives?
I think it impacts people’s lives a great deal, whether they know it or not. As cliched as it may sound, positivity is a choice. If you focus on the negative and if you look for the negative, it will no doubt take control. This goes back to my point about giving people tools to effect positive change in their lives before they become depressed and lose motivation. If you want change, the only way to make it happen is to seek it out and pursue it every day, with the ultimate goal here being able to empower yourself through coaching and strategies to overcome the nagging self-doubt, stress and anxiety of everyday life.
“I wanted to write a book that was short, actionable and to the point.”
— DECLAN EDWARDS
Declan has a Bachelor of Health Sciences from the University of Newcastle alongside studies in fields such as Positive Psychology, Neurolinguistic Programming, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Declan is currently based in Newcastle, Australia but coaches people all around the world, as well as being a keynote speaker at numerous events throughout the year.
For information about ‘BU Coaching’ visit their official website.
* Stay up to date with everything Open Ended.