A successful hedge fund managerfriend was frantic when his trades went bad at the end of 2011. He went to seeAndrew Wallas, aka The Modern Day Wizard, for a session and was amazed howquickly he recovered his financial position. Rather than pouring over data,P&L and strategy, Andrew had him standing on different coloured blankets,walking around the room and unravelling his relationship with his father. Myfriend explained that while all the management consultants and advisers he hadseen over the years focused on core planning and turning negatives intopositives, this guy was only interested in exploring why and how my friend wascreating his crisis.
Andrew Wallas is an ex-Cityfinancier who had a spiritual epiphany in his late 20s and then trained asa psychotherapist – he now has 30 years experience in various types of bodywork (from energy fields to spiritual realignment), Gestalt (the essence ofthe whole), constellation work (family dynamics), breathing work and ancestralwork, as well as psychotherapy, of course. He sees both individuals and companies, for whomhe looks at the internal dynamics and the energy flow of business.
His approach may seem unorthodox, but he believes that the way to achieve true success in business is to connectand align the head and the heart. In his view, the mind is essentially amasculine energy, with insight, focus and resilience; whereas the heart is afeminine energy, with inner wisdom and creativity. He makes it his business tocombine these two different aspects.
I may have road-tested virtuallyevery conceivable beauty and fitness treatment, but I have never laid myselfspiritually bare in the way that a session with Andrew demands. But as my samehedge fund friend said: “Get your mind straight and the rest will follow...”
I’m in a picturesque villageoutside Henley-on-Thames thinking of an excuse to use to turn around and hightail it back to town. It is with trepidation and curiosity that I ring thedoorbell.
The door creeks open to reveal a50-something man sporting a purple cashmere jumper, a Patek Philippe watchand cords. He shows me into a room flooded with light. It has vaulted ceilings,Buddha statues and a circle of kilim cushions – and is instantly relaxing.
We sit in the stillness for amoment then begin to chat about my life. Andrew asks me a variety of questions aboutwhere I am from, my relationship history, what I do for a living, my careerhighs and lows, and what I do to relax. His questions are provocative, requiring me to look at things from a different point of view. Hesuggests that, perhaps, I may have been responsible for the demise of certain relationships and we discuss what role I might have played in the destruction process. Not onlydoes he listen to every word, he looks at me intently, too, picking up onevery gesture and movement.
He tells me that I have an“overwhelmingly masculine energy”. Thrown, I ask him what he means. I findmyself nervously flicking my hair. “Inauthentic masculine energy is a ‘doing’energy,” he explains. “It is where we are running, pushing, striving. It isfrenetic and exhausting. It is aggressive and all about control. Manyindependent career women – and business men, for that matter – are functioning on an inauthenticmasculine energy.”
He asks me to put my hand on myheart and imagine breathing into it. He takes me on a guided visualisation, where we picture my breath expanding my heart and encouraging it to open. Hethen tells me that we are going to ask my heart a question – the onlyrequirement is that I wait for any response to bubble up.
I sceptically think that it soundslike psychobabble, and yet, when prompted by Andrew to ask what I most want to explore in myself at this moment, I find that the answer comes easily andclearly. I want to find that feminine side of my business character I feel Ihave lost. I can see that the successful independent life I haveworked so hard to create for myself is all about being ambitious andcompetitive. Andrew is right: it is relentless and exhausting. I want tocrumple up on the floor and lie there.
Andrew tells me that while I haveexperienced business success there remains an inner emptiness anddissatisfaction, because the success “does not land”. I have an “inability toreceive”, he tells me, and goes on to explain that therefore, although I can makethings happen, I never feel satisfied.
“I have known many people who haveamassed millions through successful business activities,” he says. “However,the individuals often never feel they have ‘enough’, nor are they able to celebratesuccess. This is because their drive has itself become an addiction.” He goeson to say that this driving force is based upon an irrational need and desire to be in control.“There is no element of freedom, and so this approach can never lead tosatisfaction,” he says.
Andrew explains that there arein essence two separate areas when it comes to success. The first,achievement, is concerned with the outer world. It is about one’s career, purpose, ambition and meaning. The second aspect, fulfilment, is concerned withour inner world. It is about love, connection, wholeness – a sense of being atpeace with ourselves. “Achievement without fulfilment is empty and becomesmeaningless, while fulfilment without achievement is unsatisfying and a wastedopportunity.”
In addition, he points out that atvarious times in my life, when I have been on the verge of major success, it’slikely that something within me has undermined the outcome at the last minute.This, he reassures me, is the common inner saboteur at work.
“Often we don’t allow ourselves tohave what we desire,” he says. “This is our inner saboteur. We chase but neverobtain our desires because there is an unconscious belief – and fear – that ifwe get what we want, then life will either have no meaning or that it willsomehow be boring.”
What course of action for themasculine self-saboteur who can’t celebrate success? Check back on Tuesday January 8 to read Part Two.