Digital Wellness Specialist, Coach, Consultant, Speaker

Catalytic Conversations

Reconciling Humanity and Technology

Liberating You From Digital Burnout

Crafting Healthy Hybrid Communities

Questions are awesome, glad youʼre asking some!

Tell me more about you; why did you choose this career?

Greetings friend, my name is Jaymes O’Pheron.

Yep, Jaymes with a wye – or as I like to say – Jaymes with a why. “Why” is one of my favorite questions, and Iʼm an expert in asking questions.

I started out as a freelance web developer, though. I was good at it; I enjoyed the intellectual challenge. But I found myself burning out. In the process of exploring why and resolving the underlying issues, I discovered a passion for helping other nerds not kill themselves. As I gained experience, I found myself gravitating towards coaching other developers and helping them develop their skills more effectively. I particularly found satisfaction in leveraging my experience working 100% remotely and my communication expertise to help others make authentic connections online, even outside my industry.

Similarly, in my obsession (my wife might say addiction) with Toastmasters I’ve found myself gaining more fulfillment and satisfaction from coaching other speakers than from doing speeches myself -- despite the fact that I love giving speeches. I also volunteer a great deal with and help lead addiction and recovery ministries, and then draw from that and my own experience with recovery to constantly help those around me.

When I realized all these things, it clicked for me, and I discovered that while web development was what I did, coaching is who I am. Now, I’m pivoting my focus from being a web developer to serving web developers, other remote professionals, and hybrid communities. There is a huge need right now with digital burnout on the rise and soft skills becoming not only a necessary edge in competitive markets but also becoming increasingly critical for survival. Depression is not just lost productivity.

So let me ask you a question.

How are you doing? Really doing? (‘Fine’ doesnʼt count. In all my experience, I have never encountered someone who was purely, truly, just ‘fine.’)

Do you want to do better?

Let’s talk about hope, solutions, and your future.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you. :)

Why couldnʼt I simply read amazing books and apply them myself?

Everyone’s own journey is their own responsibility. Each of us holds our life in our hands, and it is up to us what we do with it. No one else can force us to grow, and no one else can prevent us from growing. This is the amazing and terrifying power of self-determination.

Yet alongside that truth there exists another -- we are not designed to operate in isolation. The ideas of the lone wolf and the solitary genius are deeply flawed myths. Human potential exists primarily and fundamentally in the intersection of aligned minds.

If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.

Sir Isaac Newton

It is impossible to reach our full potential without the force multipliers of mentorship and partnership. There are questions we cannot ask of ourselves that we desperately need to answer. There are blindspots we cannot see until they are shown to us. There are self-limiting beliefs which drive us in endless cycles of destruction until they are exposed by others. There are barriers of fear which wall us against liberation and change which require an external hand for rescue. Any successful recovered addict will tell you they would never have made it out without their sponsor.

Let me ask you a gentle question: in the life-changing books you have read, have you fully put into practice even one tenth of what they offer? I would wager that if you have, it’s because others came alongside you in that endeavor.

Do I have to be a Christian to benefit from your programs?

As a devout Christian everything I do is predicated upon my faith, so the programs I offer are going to be colored and shaped by that worldview. However, I am not equipped or called to be a spiritual counsellor, pastor, or priest. My calling to the laity is very clear to me, and as such the services I offer are not spiritual in focus. The truths we explore in a group or in a coaching program are universal and recognized by world-class experts throughout history and across cultures.

Thus if you are not a Christian, or even if you are of a contrary faith, you will still gain a great deal of benefit from my programs and the materials I train with. You’re free to simply skip over the pieces that are more obviously derived from Scripture and the Tradition of the Church. If you are a Christian, we will have more common ground and will be able to discuss more aspects of your life with more liberty, but that is by no means required.

What exactly is a Mastermind Group?

The concept of the mastermind was originally coined by Napoleon Hill as a result of his research into the most successful people in the world. Here is its simplest and most concise definition:

The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.

Napoleon Hill

There have been many different applications of this concept in different formats and for different purposes. Sometimes they are focused around a single individual and their success or growth (like an advisory council), or they are focused on the growth of each person in the group. Sometimes they use a particular curriculum or project as a focus, sometimes not. Not all work as well as others depending on who is in them, who is facilitating them, and various other factors.

The kind of mastermind that I facilitate has been proven to be dramatically effective by tens of thousands of people all over the world in every conceivable industry and background. As a trained facilitator, I lead a group of 6-10 select, growth-focused, motivated individuals through a powerful, life-changing book or course (in addition to my own content, I include a few select books by communication and leadership expert John Maxwell) for a set number of weeks. We meet weekly for an hour where we celebrate our wins, collaboratively seek solutions for challenges we’ve faced, explore the content selected for that week’s focus for actionable value in our current situations, assist each other in uncovering barriers to progress, and self-assign action items that the group can then hold us accountable for.

There is nothing quite like the connection that is forged in these groups. I’ve been awed by it, personally. If you are interested in exploring their potential for yourself, I recommend that you check out which ones are upcoming and register for one that fits your schedule.

What’s the difference between coaching, training, therapy, and spiritual counselling?

The word ‘coach’ has been thrown around so much lately that its meaning has become bloated almost beyond recognition. A lot of people associate it most strongly with loud-yelling sports coaches, which is unfortunate. There’s a glut of people wanting to share their advice and call it coaching. Not that there’s anything wrong with teaching things or educating people -- after all, I do that too.

But coaching isn’t teaching. It isn’t training.

It isn’t me pouring knowledge or information into your head that you didn’t have before. It’s me drawing out solutions and potential that you didn’t know you possessed. Coaching is fundamentally about asking questions, not answering them. By asking careful, insightful, structured questions I am able to help you think through your challenges with unprecedented clarity and self-awareness so that you can create a realistic actionable plan to accomplish your goals. And then, again by asking questions, I am able to help you put that plan into action by providing accountability and troubleshooting guidance to overcome obstacles you face along the way.

Coaching also isn’t therapy.

Some of the most liberating breakthroughs I’ve had in life I experienced while in therapy, and I personally believe that every single person should have a therapist. Therapy isn’t just for ‘those’ people, it’s for you.

But therapy is fundamentally distinct from coaching because therapy is focused in the past and how the events of the past are impacting your present. Coaching is focused on clarity of the future and turning that into action for the present. It approaches your current self from the other side of time. This is why therapy and coaching often work hand in hand and synergize well.

(Therapy also sometimes tends to come from a more medical perspective and so they may be able to give medical advice and prescribe medications -- coaching does not qualify one for this kind of advice.)

Coaching is different from counselling as well, but in a different way of being different. Counselling, at least in how I use the term, tends to be focused on a particular aspect of one’s life. There’s premarital counselling, marriage counselling, grief counselling, and so on. They tend to be more spiritually focused and involve more of a parental element to the relationship. Coaching on the other hand may touch on these things, but is fundamentally holistic in its approach, and the coach is decidedly not paternal in their approach. One of the unique things about a coach is that the coach doesn’t actually need to be an expert in the area in which they are helping their client. This is because coaching is question-based, rather than teaching-based. A great coach can actually help a client exponentially improve their performance without knowing anything about the client’s field of expertise. In contrast, an unmarried marriage counsellor would and should be laughed out of practice.

This is why, although I have expertise in communication, I don’t only coach people with their communication skills. Coaching is coaching, whether you are trying to improve your physical health, your business success, or your love life. The approach to improvement is fundamentally the same.

That said, I do have an affinity for those who are remote professionals, because of my experience as a remote web developer, and so it’s easier for me to grok the jargon, in turn making it easier for me to ask the right questions.

If you want to step forward into this journey, schedule a free strategy call with me now!

What is Toastmasters and why is it a big deal?

Toastmasters International is a global nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a network of local clubs. It’s been around since 1924, and has shaped the lives of world-class leaders and communicators as well as single moms and college students.

For me, Toastmasters is all about confidence and influence. I’ve seen men who have never been truly respected in their lives break down and weep at being applauded for their first speech. I’ve seen shy and insecure individuals blossom into leadership competence, delegating effectively and creating teams to accomplish things they never could have imagined. It’s amazing how much having a safe place to fail and grow will do for you.

Myself, I have almost completed my Distinguished Toastmaster award, and I’ve completed four full educational paths, with a couple more in progress. I’ve also been highly involved in leadership, not only at the club level, but also in my district. I’ve been Area Director twice, and a Division Director once, though I’m current on sabbatical from District leadership. I’m currently also an active member of three clubs: Bold & Blue, Sound Advice Advanced, and Nerdmasters (which I helped charter).

I wasn’t joking when I said I’m obsessed. I highly recommend you check out a local club in your area (or drop in to visit one of my clubs -- we all meet online and you’re more than welcome) and see why for yourself.

© 2020 Catalytic Conversations LLC