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Being vs. Doing – Callum Wilson, Elaine Lajuenesse, and Miriam Gunn

Callum, Elaine, Miriam, Pt 1

 [00:00:00] I’m super excited to try something incredibly different, at least for me. I enjoyed doing all of the interviews, but I also think that the format was getting a little bit stale.

And so we are going to spend the next three months doing something a little bit different. I’m going to have conversations in here between high level coaches. I’m going to have examples of coaching.

And I might do snippets from other interviews that I have been a part of, or even other interviews that I’ve done.

It’s going to be a little bit of a free for all. And I would love to hear from you guys what it is that you enjoy or don’t enjoy of this new format.

So this next interview or conversation actually.

Is part of a larger 90 minute conversation that my friend, Callum Wilson, Elaine whose last name I can’t say because she’s French Canadian and is wonderfully French [00:01:00] and myself- we are going to have a conversation about being versus doing, and you might think, well, what does this have to do with self-development or business?

Actually it has everything to do with it.

And i know as astute listeners you will be able to make the translation as to how this can benefit your life. So welcome.

[00:01:22] Introductions

Miriam Gunn: My name is Miriam Gunn and I live in the Western United States. I am a transformational coach, primarily for entrepreneurs and high performers, and I’m so excited for this conversation.

Elaine Lajuenesse: Awesome, Elaine. Okay. I’m Elaine Naes and I’m starting to own the word coach. And I don’t know that I have a label, like I know I say executive coach, but I, I love change, so maybe I’m transformation and I’ve just heard last week that I was a life coaching, which kind of really kind of puzzled me cuz I don’t think I’m a life coach, but maybe I.[00:02:00]

Callum Wilson: Cool. Yeah. I’m Callum. I help people beat all of themselves so they can create deep happiness and high performance. In what ways? I do that a bit like Elaine. I’m not too sure. It’s a mixture of a lot of things. But yeah, it’s, it’s about helping people create that deep happiness and high performance that I think comes from embodying all of them themselves.

Okay. So my, my topic was “purpose”. And I wanted to start by asking you both what purpose means to you.

So maybe Elaine, what, what does purpose mean to you?

Meaning of Purpose

Elaine Lajuenesse: That’s such a great question. For me it’s a, it means to serve

because first too long I’ve just been grinding. Mm-hmm. In, in the second purpose for me is to have real conversation. I [00:03:00] am so fed up with the superficial conversation where I was just reading a post today about somebody saying, you know, you answer, how are you with fine, without even thinking.

and what I love about what I do now is people show up, how they show up, no filters. I’m lucky my client trusts me, but. This is so refreshing and I’m feeling that y I yearn, is it yearn, is it an English word? Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yearning to, to really just have this conversation all the time. Like, I meet somebody and I’m going deep into how are you in what’s going on in your life?

So that’s the purpose for me.

Miriam Gunn: Mm.

I appreciate that. I love that so much. I, this a quote is attributed to all sorts of people mark Twain and quite a few other people, but -The [00:04:00] two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day, you know why?

And I think that so many people are struggling with this question of purpose. Why am I on this planet?

And I, I don’t think it becomes acute until you hit midlife. Definitely younger people are asking the question, what am I gonna do? But it seems like as you mature into a different space, it, it shifts from what am I gonna do to who am I gonna be and why?

Why am I here?

[00:04:37] Why am I here?

Miriam Gunn: So one of the things that I think is A pro thought provoking, a provocative kind of exercise is to look at your lifespan and to see what sort of things have I done consistently throughout my lifespan. And that gives insight into purpose, you know, and you find that some [00:05:00] people will say, well, this was my job in my twenties and this was my job and this was my job.

But all through those times I was doing this activity.

And I think that’s my calling, which I find kind of purpose and calling are an interesting dialogue between those two words.

What do you think, Cal?

Callum Wilson: Yeah. Oh, I I guess I wanted to bring it up because I wanted to have a better, I wanted to think about it myself, to be honest, cuz I wasn’t too sure.

And I think purpose for me, I think the number one, probably human purpose is happiness.

A and the second one is a contribution, which is in line with what Elaine said about service, really. Mm-hmm.

But in line with what you said, Miriam, I think that happiness comes from being not doing. So if I had happiness and [00:06:00] contribution as my two, or the purposes that I, the, the first one happiness comes from being from, from being my true self.


And then the second bit contribution, I don’t necessarily think I could decide it for myself because so much of this just comes from, I can’t like think, oh yeah, I’m gonna be I’m gonna contribute like this, this, and this. I, I think nature kind of just tells me how I’m gonna do it, you know? So I let, it’s kind of like letting nature tell me what I’m gonna do and I can’t really describe that other than a feeling.

A lot of my ideas just come out of the middle of nowhere, don’t really feel like I own them. So happiness through being and contribution through whatever I’m kind of being guided towards.

 Does that ring any bells with anyone here?

Elaine Lajuenesse: Like to me it’s a challenge. I have to be very honest cuz I spend so many years in business where being is made [00:07:00] very, very small.

Like everyone tells you that they want you to bring your, their authentic self to work. That’s not really true. That’s a dirty little secret there. But the reality is that you get really busy with doing a lot of things, and some of them make you happy. I was really happy when I had a busy day. I was less happy when it was a grinding day where it’s, let’s just go through the motion and doing all that activity that, you know, add no values.

So, so, and, and I, a lot of my clients, because we coach people are like us. I’m, my clients are all here and not at all here. And I’m learning to trust that part a lot more. But it’s a very difficult challenge. It’s hard to be, it’s hard to be, it’s really easy to think. Yeah.

Practice Being Authentic

Miriam Gunn: Yeah. I would agree with that. I think it takes practice to learn how to be, unless your parents [00:08:00] have taught you that space.

Going back to what you were saying, Cal, and then I want to bounce back to your comments, Elaine. This notion of, is your purpose created by you or is it in you and discovered by you, or is it, you know, out there? And the universe creates God, in the universe, creates, you know, scenarios. That’s a very thought-provoking and challenging thing for me to wrap my brain around.

I come from a deeply held spiritual tradition that would say God has placed in you a purpose and it’s your life’s exercise to discover it. And of course, other people think and believe very different things and but I will bounce into that space.

I’m gonna use the word joy more than happiness. When you are living out your purpose, you experience joy.

I would, I would, yeah just like [00:09:00] wave a flag over that for sure. You know, for each of you, when have you experienced that happiness or joy where you were like, oh, I’m doing what I was meant to do, or being who I was meant to be.

[00:09:19] Who am I Meant to Be?

Callum Wilson: Yeah. Well, my, my answer is pretty much the second question that you asked, like, being who I’m meant to be. That is when I feel joy and it, it doesn’t really matter what I’m doing. My deepest joy is that unfiltered version of myself where I’m giving all of me to the situation. And I’m not, it’s not, I’m not thinking like, what’s the best for me?

What am I gonna do here? I’m just like, from a place of being, I’m just doing, I’m not kind of having to, there’s nothing personal about that, that space for me. And just to link back, I think to probably what Elaine was was saying about the, [00:10:00] the kind of, I know you come from a business background, Elaine, and, and like my experience in sport is, is is pretty intense as well.

And there’s just, they don’t care who you are being, like, they’ll pick awful people least authentic versions as long as they get results.

So I think you sort of mentioned it’s very hard to come from the being, but for me, like I, I lacked the courage to, to be the type of person I wanted to be during my career.

I was so worried about what people thought about what I was doing. I forgot about being entirely almost, and I. I was sort of like being who I thought other people wanted to be, to be. And I, and the funny, funny thi thing with that is like over a long cur, over a longer period of time that actually reduced my performance.

Being All of You

So in some ways I kind of lacked the courage to be myself, which actually dropped the performance, which is what I was being judged on any how. [00:11:00] So it’s kind of a funny situation, but I didn’t really have the courage to, to bring all of me to it, to say what I thought to play, really to play the way I wanted to play.

I was so worried about what other people thought of it. It became a filtered version of me. So yeah. Ellen, I, I know Miriam asked us a question there, if you wanna grab a hold of that.

Elaine Lajuenesse: so it’s an interesting question. Cuz like you Callum I used to to say, I don’t care what business I lead, as long as I lead people.

And that was my happy place. Mm-hmm. And I would say that for most of my career, I was trying, I was really, judged. I was, I guess my assessment from my boss was the overriding, I was judging my worth based on the fact that he was, oh, he or she told me that I was meeting expectation or exceeding expectation.

And if I was [00:12:00] not exceeding expectation, it was devastating.


And then to your point, Miriam, when I got to my fifties and I said, screw that. Like I’m not letting one person determining if I’m good or not, or if I’m doing the right thing or not. There was a lot of freedom that came with that, and then it didn’t get attached to will they fire me?

Most likely. Hmm. But am I doing the right thing for the team, for the organization and for myself and sometimes in that order? Absolutely. And was, I had, like, I decided at some point that there was two things that I wanted to, to really be. The first one is I wanted to be able to look at the person in the mirror and feel joy or proud.

And the other thing is that I wanted to treat people the way that I wanted to be treated. Yeah. [00:13:00] And, and I didn’t even think it was courageous cause they just said, okay, I w wouldn’t have been able to do this at 24.

[00:13:08] Being vs. Doing

Miriam Gunn: You know, Elaine, what you’re saying when Cal was talking and now when you were talking, I’m so curious.

I wish I could put you guys in an a functional m r I machine when you’re really being, versus when you’re doing and seeing which parts of the brain light up.

And when you say, Elaine, I couldn’t do that as a 24 year old. I, I just don’t think our brains are even fully developed and what makes me think, you know, bouncing into your story, Cal, I’m wondering who was yelling at you in the midst of all of this rugby- coaches and other players and the expectations and there was no emotional safety and being able to be versus [00:14:00] do requires some form of emotional safety that you then either you- each of us has created that by pulling out of those various spaces and saying, this is toxic and I’m gonna do something different.

I do think people manage to stay in organizations and create their own safety, but that’s something I’m thinking about is how do we create psychological safety so that we can be our best selves, and how do we create that for the people around us so that we can serve and help them be their best selves?

That’s something that this conversation is kind of stirring in me

Elaine Lajuenesse: and, and to me. You know, you didn’t ask me, but I’ll just jump in. This is how

Miriam Gunn: we’re doing this. We’re, we’re all jumping in to,

Elaine Lajuenesse: to me, this is these two principles that I mentioned, like looking at yourself and treating others the way you wanna be treated.

Being Yourself

Mm. To me, this is how you do [00:15:00] it. That’s how you create safety. Mm-hmm. And, and delivering on what you say.

Miriam Gunn: Mm, keeping your word. Keeping your words.


Callum Wilson: I, I couldn’t I kind of wanna, I don’t wanna retract what I said, but I wanna make it clear that like, I, I, I feel like I lack the courage to be myself.

Don’t think there’s anything toxic, per se within rugby. I, I think it was, it was me. I wouldn’t like to blame anyone else cuz no one said, I, I think I kind of, I mean, hmm. I’m gaining experiences throughout my life that have led me to potentially see things. But at, at, at the end of the day, I, I, I don’t believe in sort of determinism.

I think I, I can be who I want to be in every moment, and I chose not to be the fullest version of myself. So yeah. I, but I think when I, think about where that came from I, there’s undercurrents in it, in, in, in a [00:16:00] lot of we’ve already spoken about this, but maybe I, I’ve sort of mentioned this to the group, that like in Western cultures, a lot of it is around you kind of, you feel more able, more loved and more complete as a result of doing things.

You’re constantly getting rewarded for doing, doing, doing. And so by the time I got to rugby, cuz I’m not coming, I wasn’t coming from a place of like, I’m complete, I don’t need to prove myself, what you might call abundance. Cuz I wasn’t coming from that place. I was constantly feeling incomplete and feeling like I needed to do things to get there.


And then, because other people were, because that that doing was being judged by other people in my mind, not through self approval, which is that looking in the mirror, that self approval part. I, I was kind of like flipping, flipping a coin in heads or tails, whether it was gonna be. I was gonna feel good after doing or not because it was someone else’s opinion.

And, and really I think the answer for me would be like, if I understood that I was enough as a [00:17:00] base and then, and then whatever I did in terms of actions, I could, if I could have judged it myself through self approval, that would’ve been, that would’ve been the key to me to get into that. Like deep joy coming from enough and then self approval of the doing.

Whereas I kind of externalized a lot of it and lost control of my ability to feel happy in myself and feel happy about my performance. Like sometimes I knew I played well and then someone would be like, oh, no, you didn’t, and it would make you cr crumble. Or I play badly, and someone would be like, oh, you played really well.

And I’ll change how I, I literally changed how I valued myself between then and the next game, which is like, it’s a crazy way to live.

Knowing You’re Enough

And, and what, what, you know, just to, just to explain, I was like, so I, I know you guys are, so in North America, there’s not heaps of rugby, but like, I was playing rugby and I wasn’t playing because I was excited to do things.

I was, [00:18:00] well, like, oh, I really want to throw that pass. I was like, I’m worried about what people are gonna say if I mess this up. So, mm-hmm. That’s, that’s what was going on for me. I was, I was so worried about mistakes, which is coming from complete lack. It’s all ego, it’s all, it’s coming from complete scarcity.

Whereas if I could have come from a place of knowing I was enough, because, you know, like, you guys are enough, you don’t need to prove yourselves to me. The postman doesn’t need to prove themselves to me. Why am I the only person in the world that needs to prove themselves to me? Yeah. De that’s sort of my chain of thought.

I dunno if anyone’s got any resonance

Miriam Gunn: with that.

[00:18:35] The Game of Life

Miriam Gunn: Yeah, no, I have some questions that I wanna ask and of course you can defer, but I, I think each of us finds us in places that are similar, different context. You know, I haven’t played rugby, but I’ve definitely been in that game where I’m wondering what the other person’s going to think and, you know, I play big or small based on that.

What changed for you or what helped you understand this is the way [00:19:00] I am playing and I wanna play differently? Not rugby, but the game of life.

Callum Wilson: Hmm. I realized that it’s funny, but I got injured and had to change career, but I dunno if i’d, I dunno when I would’ve got there in my rugby career, but leaving it, I was like, I don’t want to be in that situation again mentally.

And someone mentioned already that freedom. I didn’t create mental freedom for myself. That’s on me. I didn’t have the courage to have mental freedom. But leaving it and going on this journey, even at the start of coaching, I was very like remedial with how I was going about it. You will do this and that will make you happy, hard work works, all of this sort of stuff.

And as I’ve just gone deeper, I guess the answer for me is realizing that like, this is gonna get deep, but I think we’re probably all the same thing. Really. Like not feeling separate to the world, but feeling part of it allows me to be myself really. I don’t, when I think [00:20:00] of myself as this individual, life can get really hard.

Being More of Yourself

But when I think about us as a collective and just expressing us all coming from. In, in some form of unity. It allows me to be myself more so I think living life a lot less personally. If that, if you see what I mean. Actually Elaine, just I’ll hand over to you, but you said when you are at your best, you do the right thing for all.

Like when you grew in those environments and you were doing the right thing for the organization or what felt right. That’s exactly it. It’s not thinking about you singular. It’s like us. As soon as I start thinking like that, I can really, yeah. It’s not about me anymore. And I can give I love that you said doing the right thing for all allowed you to be sort of like, look in the mirror.

I can’t remember the exact quote, but I think that’s what you’re getting at. Am I right in thinking about

Elaine Lajuenesse: Yeah, I think you’re right. I think it’s just, it’s, it’s about feeling like, to me it was getting out of my head like, [00:21:00] so what if this particular boss doesn’t value what I bring? I don’t know what they want, but I see how they behave and that’s not the behavior that I wanna do.

And if, for me to be successful in this environment, I have to be that way. I don’t wanna do, I don’t wanna get on that train. Hmm. And I’ve seen a lot of clients do this like, I don’t know about you, but like I have a, it’s not even client colleagues where, you know, their boss asks them to do something that’s totally against their grain, totally against their value.

Place of Fear

Because they come from a place of fear. They do it, it impacts their brand. You know, and I, that’s one of the things I teach now to people. Like even if your boss is the biggest asshole of this planet, and I’m sorry, but French speaking, not really get offended with words like this. And you still have a [00:22:00] choice of how you execute their ask.

You can be like them or you can be different. Mm. You’re still doing what they want, but the how is always in your control. Mm-hmm. But that’s something I didn’t really appreciate until I detached myself from wanting to be loved and appreciated by the person who owned the pen on my paycheck.


Callum Wilson: Miriam, have you got any thoughts?

[00:22:37] Locus of Control

Miriam Gunn: Well, both of you are talking about, I’m gonna use the word internal and external locus of control. Where are we saying ownership of our lives exists. You know, is ownership of Miriam is a worthwhile person? Does that exist outside of me? In other  words, you know, Cal, if you say, I suck, or Elaine, if you say, I don’t like you anymore, does that mean I’m a terrible person?

That would be external locus of control. Internal locus of control is I know who I am and I know what I bring, and my desire is to bring goodness to each of you. You know, it’s a completely different feeling. And I think each of you have referenced that in a variety of different ways. It’s something I think about all the time.

Am I outsourcing my, I don’t really like to use the word power, but maybe my power to act or my power to choose. Am I outsourcing that or am I continuing to move that inside and say, I get to choose how I respond. I get to choose how I act or don’t act. I get to choose.

And I really don’t think unless you’re taught that so many of us don’t get to that space until midlife, which I [00:24:00] think is a shame.

Why, why were we not taught this? You know,

Elaine Lajuenesse: a lot of teenagers are, are teenagers and young adult are lacking so much confidence. And it’s not because they grew up in a big family like me, where, you know, you needed to, whoever were the fittest with us or wherever, survival mode, not survival because you’re not loved, but just that, you know, there’s not that much attention on, on any of us.


Like in my life, when I look around in the, in, you know, I’ve, I’ve mentored a lot of very young people, like in their early twenties to early to early thirties. There’s a lack of belief in themself. They have options that we never dreamed of. And really, it’s really interesting to see. I was you know, I don’t know if I, if [00:25:00] she’s not a she’s a friend and she’s a new mother, and I just ha just heard to say I am a great mother, and I forced her to say it and she was crying.

She’s like a wonderful mother and she, like any kid would be happy to have her as a mother. So I guess I agree with you, Miriam, that it’s hard to do when you’re in your twenties and thirties and I don’t understand it. They have so much more opportunity. They’re so much con, much more connected and there’s, they seem to be somewhat less materialistic and, and sometimes

Miriam Gunn: more, I guess.

Callum Wilson: Yeah, it’s interesting. A lot of people around my age, I’m 32, are, I don’t know if lockdown and Covid really might have actually sped up this process

I think it’s also the thing that allows you to eventually be yourself cuz you’re just like whatever. I don’t like I’m fed up of, of living up to other people’s expectations. And I, [00:26:00] I think Covid showed a lot of people like, geez, I was about to go down a 20, 30 year career, which wasn’t gonna be on my term.

So like, right. I’m just gonna create something new.

[00:26:11] Moving Forward

Callum Wilson: So I’m having a lot of those types of conversations with people in their early thirties, which I think is probably quite early. It’s almost like a midlife crisis, but slightly before midlife. I wrote down that I think, I think just love for people in general is, is, is so conditional in our world and I think that is a massive problem from the day you go to school.

It’s like you are valued more or less according to your skill level in maths or whatever. And you are literally made to feel more special and more worthy according to results.

And I think that conditional way of being I, I, I, I, I prefer the idea of instead of approving doing, I prefer the idea of appreciating being, and if we can [00:27:00] always appreciate people being themselves.

And I feel like that is a key to us moving forward in a world where people don’t get stuck in these states of like, proving themselves or worrying so much about what other people think. If they just felt great because they are great. Cuz everyone deep down is like, we’re all this, we’re all in this together.

If they could all feel that unconditional love, I, I think that would allow a lot of us to express our best selves. And then I thought it was really interesting, Elaine, you said it’s about how you do things and and, and you were talking about the boss could tell you what to do, and then it’s, you get to choose how to, how you respond.

And part of me almost tackles that question, thinking about like who you respond as.


When your ego flares up, you can either respond from that place worrying about what they think inside you is like all that she, the shadow version of Callum.

Or it can be, I’m doing this cuz it’s right. No matter what [00:28:00] you think about it.

So I agree it can, you can do the same thing, but it just comes from a different place. One comes from your head and one comes from your heart.

My experience is actually when you, when it comes from the true self, like when it comes from your heart, it’s normally filled with energy.

And when it comes from like bowing down to a, a boss or an intimidating person or whatever, it’s an energy taker.

So I, I found that quite interesting. Thought.

Elaine Lajuenesse: Should we talk about love because

Callum Wilson: Yeah. Okay.

Miriam Gunn: You know, because Sounds good to me.

Okay guys. I hope you’ve found that to be interesting and thought provoking.

I split the episode here, stay tuned next week. We’ll drop the same group of people talking about love. I enjoyed this conversation so much and i hope you did as well.


End Credits


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head shot Miriam Gunn

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