Episode 78 – Alessandra Edwards | Performance & Wellbeing expert for CEOs

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In this episode, I chat with Alessandra Edwards. Alessandra is a high performance and wellbeing expert, coach and trainer. Alessandra is passionate about helping leaders understand their own genetic limits so they can achieve their maximum potential and reach exceptional levels of physical and mental performance.

This enlightening chat is packed with deep knowledge on the importance of understanding yourself deeply from a genetic, biochemical and emotional perspective. Our deep dive into genomic wellness goes into how that enables you to be the leader of you and how combining with intrinsic motivation can lead to boundless, self-renewing energy, clarity and the ability to ‘stretch’ time.  We explore how Alessandra’s work helps not only A-type achievers (with high dopamine) but all leaders. You will learn how to take advantage of your inner workings and so much more.
Key episode highlights include:
  • Identify and create clarity about what you actually want, from more physical energy, more stamina or mental staying power, strength and cognitive ability.
  • If we don’t focus on patching up our leaks – energy leaks, resiliency leaks, motivational leaks, compassion leaks – then what are we left with?
  • When you’re in a state of complete self-serving, self-love, self-acceptance and self-mastery, you become completely magnetic and access the highest level of personal power.
If you loved our discussion on the role that our DNA plays in terms of us achieving our potential, maintaining optimal mental health and having great levels of energy, then you can find out more by connecting with Alessandra on her website and on LinkedIn.

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Murray Guest  00:01

Alessandra, thank you for your time today. And welcome to the podcast. So looking forward to talking to you about the unique perspective that you bring to high performance. How’s your week been?


Alessandra Edwards  00:17

This week has actually been fantastic. As you know, I live in Melbourne. And about a week ago, we had this fantastic announcement that we got the out of jail free card. And so it’s been a busy week. But just having this renewed freedom has really brought about incredible sense of energy, momentum, and appetite for really going out and experiencing life again.


Murray Guest  00:46

Yeah, I’ve seen some footage on the news. And I’ve heard about on the radio about some of the, I guess, embracing back some of that freedom, which people have been needing. What’s it been like, living in Melbourne these last three months?


Alessandra Edwards  01:04

Yeah, it’s really interesting question. And I wish I could summarize it for all the other Melbournians, so I will just stick to what the experience has been for me and my family and some of my clients. To begin with, it was a little bit of a rollercoaster, the initial phases were really intense, and obviously, very much driven by a lot of fear of the unknown, what’s going to happen, personal safety. I have very close friends of mine who actually lost relatives. So there was this very much unknown quantity. And it really felt like, Okay, this is the right thing, let’s all go in, and let’s all rally, as we then re-experienced a little bit of freedom, and then went straight back into a much harsher lockdown. The experience that I had with my family was that the fear was no longer there. And so we’d already had the experience of being in lockdown with our kids, learning new routines, my husband runs his business as well. So negotiating who gets the office for the day, who’s on call for the children, donning the teacher’s hat, no longer having access to what we take for granted, or just being able to go out. So just the mental restriction of just having one hour, or one hour a day, even though some days, we wouldn’t leave the house, you know, back to back meetings and calls. But just having that potential for freedom, mentally, was quite a challenge initially. And then, you know, as the days went by, and we were in lockdown for basically four months, what I found, which really surprised me was that, especially towards the end of the last month, certain revelations came through. For me and my husband, they actually made us realize, you know, once we finally came out that there was a lot of good stuff that came out. And I think it’s really relevant for the conversations I have with my clients around really managing time in terms of aligning that to our purpose, and what’s important in life. And I wish I could say I’m perfect at that, I’m sort of the queen of high performance, and my life is perfect. And I always manage time with family and friends. But the reality is that that’s not true. And suddenly, I have more tools and awareness, perhaps that me and my clients have. But if you get sucked into that vortex, and if someone had actually said, you know, no stop, you’ll actually have to stop and take stock of what’s important. And it really struck me at some point that I literally looked around, and there was a sense of Yeah but I can’t see my friends, and I can’t do this. And then just realize, yeah, but everyone, and anything that’s actually really important to me, in my life, are within these four walls right now. And that they’re here, they’re safe. I’ve had an incredible evolution of relationship with my teenage daughter, that I couldn’t put a price on that. And obviously, as I mentioned to you earlier, I feel incredibly privileged that I don’t work in an industry that was really destroyed. So it’s easier to look at the higher self evolution. The survival aspect, in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy, right? We’ve got the food, money in the bank, and we’ve got safety, health safety. So, I can’t say it’s been the same for everyone, but that that was an incredible realization, and I am so grateful to have been able to have this be part of this huge psychological human experience.


Murray Guest  04:54

Yeah. Can I say I echo a lot of what you’re saying around that renewed perspective. My children and I felt like we got deeper connections through COVID. We went into lockdown, nowhere near the length of time in Melbourne. But we had that early on. And just doing things that we would not normally have done, some of those connections. I also remember watching my children work out in the backyard together, they normally go to the gym, but just working out and encouraging each other. And that wouldn’t have happened. My wife taught me to play backgammon, and we played every afternoon for like, two months. I’m still not as good as her. But it was just, you know, those things I think about and what you’re saying, I think we’re aligned here, is that renewed perspective around what’s important. And where do we invest our time to actually focus on those things that are most important.


Alessandra Edwards  05:46

And I think as well as the perspective, in terms of having a different way of looking at things, but also an increased level of awareness are really, truly and honestly taking a hard look at ourselves and go actually, you know, what, I was really trapped in a little bit of a hamster wheel. And I’m not sure that all of the choices that I made or the behaviors that I did, or the engagements I chose to say yes to, really served me at a very deep or high purpose level. Which is really the tenant of the philosophy that underpins the work that I do with my clients.


Murray Guest  06:28

Yeah. So just before we talk about that amazing work that you do, I’m going to just check in – what is one thing out of this process of the last four months that you are committing to doing in the future and keep doing?


Alessandra Edwards  06:44

At a very quick level, I would say, learning to have more space between committing myself, committing my time. Yeah, my mental IP and my service, and having more time, creating more space, in that moment of decision. So that’s a takeaway, practical tip. What sits behind this is actually a bigger commitment to aligning my why, with my what.


Murray Guest  07:21

Yeah, I love both of those. And I think as you’re talking through those, I’m thinking about what that means for me and how I’m doing that, I’m thinking about the power of the pause in some of those commitments and decisions. But, again, knowing our why and really linking the what we do back to that as an ongoing commitment. Yeah, I’d high five you if we could touch you know, like I agree totally. Now about this great work you do. And I know it’s about how science and nutrition affects our DNA and our optimal wellbeing and you help with high performance. But help me explain what you do even better than that to people that are listening.


Alessandra Edwards  08:05

I think that’s a that’s a great summary to get started. Perhaps I will just rewind a little bit to give a little bit of the premise of what genetics are in the context of high performance. I think that we tend to think of genetics still today as ‘what’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with my heritage?’ Yeah, there is there is something inside that might mean that at some point, I may develop some some kind of really bad disease.


Murray Guest  08:38

Yeah, yeah. Gotcha.


Alessandra Edwards  08:40

And there have been celebrities which have famously brought to the surface in the media on specific genetic mutations that have that brought on different kinds of cancers. So I think we tend to think of genetics as the scary aspect that lies beneath. And whilst we are incredibly curious, because as a species, we are very curious about introspection and the journey within and learning more and more about who we really are. So I really get that. The dark side of it, I think, is for most people is the fact that they want to see it, but they don’t really want to know. So I don’t do that. I look at what’s called genomic wellness. So if you think that we have about 25,000 genes, I mean, that’s a lot. That is really, truly a lot. And some of these genes interact with each other. And this is really still an emerging science. So within the next five years, there will be an explosion of research that will look at the full 25,000 genes. Not only that, but also how several hundreds of thousands of them interact with each other. Now, we’re still at a stage where we’re looking at you know, maybe 30 to 40 genes that are really relevant in terms of personal performance and wellbeing. And we look at interaction of a maximum of three. So that’s to give you the scope of where this is really an emerging science. So I look at these genes and in consultation with my clients, or leadership teams, we first of all work out, what is it that you’re trying to access? What is it? What is that special thing, that you feel that perhaps you have, or you’re good at right now. But you want to be really better at, you want to really increase this level of self mastery over. With the genetics, then we can actually look at what these character traits are. Okay, so just to give you an example, someone says, I know you’re all about energy, okay. And it’s different guises. So someone is interested in having more energy. Okay, so tell me, what kind of energy would you like to have? Is it more physical energy, more stamina? Or is it more mental staying power, or the sense of increasing your ability to learn so really ramping up to cognitive ability is energy in the sense of being mentally strong. So we can look at all these different facets. And then what’s really interesting is that the genes that give us this blueprint, that becomes us, I’m kind of static in the sense that, you know, at birth you’re given a toolkit, okay? So you get what you get, and you don’t get upset. And that’s your toolkit. But then, within that, obviously, how we look after the toolkit is going to have an impact on how we use the toolkit, is the toolkit all greased up and left outside to rust? Is it kind of constantly breaking down hard rocks, all of those kinds of things.


Murray Guest  11:58

Well, yeah, and I think back to the genes, you mentioned about that we understand now, and we are seeing the future about, we’ve got a toolkit that’s quite big, but we’re only playing with a couple of the tools at the top.


Alessandra Edwards  12:09

Absolutely, then we can actually intervene. So that’s what basically the genomic wellness does, it tells you this is your toolkit. And also in some of the bigger conversations, especially with more experienced senior executives are, Okay, I understand that you really coming to me about energy, and you want to have more energy, and maybe you’re not sleeping well. So this is impacting your energy, or maybe you have the kind of brain that just doesn’t stop thinking, impacting your ability to create that pause, okay, which then allows you to access a more grounded state so that you make the right decisions in the moment rather than a brain fog of you know, overwhelm.


Murray Guest  12:54

Can I ask just on that? Do you think people generally know where they want to improve? Or is there even a conversation about helping them understand that in the first place?


Alessandra Edwards  13:05

Absolutely. So that’s what sits behind. And it’s very individualized, some people have already developed a great level of depth in terms of their awareness. And so they’re very much aware of the why that sits behind what is the purpose. And so they’re very clear and concise in terms of saying, the reason I want more energy is because I actually want to create this amazing thing. Okay. So it’s not the energy per se, but some people are very much like, I’m exhausted. And I know that in my teams, there’s heaps of energy gaps. We’ve come out of COVID over the last five months, and I need people to be like, let’s go, let’s go people. Revenue has been impacted, I need people to have their energy needle move from 10% to 80%. They’re very different conversations. But ultimately, the genetic interpretation is the same. There are a number of foundational pillars that are going to be affecting how well polished and how sharp you tools are.


Murray Guest  14:20

Can I just say, as you’re talking through that I’m thinking about the clients I work with and different leaders, and how they try to get the most out of their teams. And again, and tell me if this is where you’re at, it’s like the whole understanding of the DNA of people at an individual level is adding to the conversation about building on to other leadership approaches and investing in people’s development to help them get there at a real individual level.


Alessandra Edwards  14:51

Absolutely, yes, spot on. You’ve described it really, really well. And that’s the work I do and often I work it as part of a of a team with other leadership coaches, that then we do genetic testing for the team. And we work out where the energy gaps are, where the mental stamina gaps are. And also we look at character traits, I know you do a lot of work around strengths, so if you like, it would be the genetic aspect that underlies the different strengths. And so just this week I’ve been working with a leadership team in Sydney. And what we found out by doing the genetic testing is that some people, genetically-wise, have all the markers for perfectionism. And what’s happening is that they’re exhausted right now, their business has pivoted a zillion times over the last six months, to really try and fit into new niches, right, they’re really moving the needle to really fill the gap, and get back on top. And so what we’re finding is that a couple of people in the interviews with these high perfectionist traits are also very tired. And they’re having to change how they do work on a regular basis, but the high level of perfectionism on a genetic level is really holding them back.


Murray Guest  16:15

Yeah, gotcha. Yeah, that makes sense. And I can see 2020 with COVID is probably highlighting this even more, as you’re saying that perfectionism, or that need to change rapidly, and how we are pivoting so much.


Alessandra Edwards  16:33

Yeah, absolutely. So it’s actually really, I’d say, for your listeners, even without doing genetic testing, this is something that you can observe for yourself. Because high pressure, high stress environments, always amplify the gaps, always. So you will have experienced over the last six months, an increase of the gap. And so if you were not aware of it prior to COVID, now you have a very clear indication of where the polishing, the patching up, the rebuilding needs to come in. And it’s really important to start on that work. Because once those gaps get amplified, and really, let’s face it, we’re kind of in and out of COVID. I mean, really, there’s no vaccine, there’s no end date in sight at the moment, we’re getting better at managing it. But we don’t know for sure. So I think that a realistic expectation and a positive expectation is to think okay, we’ve entered this marathon under new conditions, it’s a new landscape, I’ve got no idea how to tackle it. So we need to, as we go now, start patching up these gaps, because we might still be here in six months or 12 months. And so if you leave these gaps within, what will end up happening is that you’re just going to have these leaks. Right? So energy leaks, resilience, leaks, motivational leaks, and then what are you left with?


Murray Guest  18:05

Yeah, and I think, to be honest, if I think about all what’s going on in the world, right now, if we think about inequalities that have been getting raised, and we talk about climate change, we talk about politics, we talk COVID there’s just a lot, you know, I’m hearing the heaviness that people feel right now. And I think about their compassion that people are feeling and adding that to burnout. And I love that the way you’re describing this gets me thinking about how do I actually know myself more deeply at the individual level, so I can invest in me, because as you said, I mean to strengths, we’re all unique, we bring that uniqueness. So I’m just also mindful of a question that maybe some listeners are wondering, I know of 23andme, which talks about our DNA heritage – this is not what we’re talking about, is it?


Alessandra Edwards  18:59

No, this is not ancestry DNA. And so currently, and also in Australia, if you’re doing genetic testing by 23andme, the TGA (Therapeutic Goods association of Australia) had declared a few years ago that you would not allow for the full medical interpretation, which partly is also highly controversial, even in the US. So with 23andme or ancestry DNA, what you get is a report based on where’s your heritage. So, this is different, this is wellness testing that will look at a number of things and look at neurotransmitter production and break down, it will look at whether you are a fat burning machine or actually if you would benefit on an energy level and also in terms of waistline level, from adopting a more leaner, more plant based kind of diet. It looks at how our cells produce energy. So it’s very comprehensive, but it doesn’t look at your ancestry at all. So that’s a good thing to bring back.


Murray Guest  20:09

Yeah, just to help people understand that difference. And you mentioned leaders. So what are the type of people you work with to help them understand this.


Alessandra Edwards  20:19

So I work mostly with CEOs, and particularly male CEOs. And that’s not because it’s a personal choice, I think, unfortunately, it reflects still the gender disparity. So I probably work with 70% male CEOs versus 30%. female. And also I work with leadership teams, and management teams, and also work with a number of business owners. So generally, people who are really passionate about their work and work is an important part of their life and their life’s purpose. And they are prepared to make an investment, they understand that the body (and mind) is their ally to achieve their goals. And you know, the goals can be for like a smaller level, which are related to increasing revenue, increasing productivity, those kinds of things, right up to bigger goals, like what does my life mean? What is my purpose here? I want to be a CEO. And at the same time, I want to impact my community, I want to impact my country, I want to impact the bigger conversation at global level. And I know that I need a decade still, of me, my body working optimally, in order to continue doing this great work.


Murray Guest  21:49

Can I ask why this for you? Like, why do you do this work? Because I have talked about your degrees early in introduction, but tell me how did you get to where you are now and doing this amazing work?


Alessandra Edwards  22:05

I think, and tell me if I’m wrong here, but my experience of having lots of really great friends and colleagues in the coaching space is that we tend to be attracted to the level of knowledge or IP that actually is going to serve us. Have you found that?


Murray Guest  22:29

Yeah, I have, I think there’s a bit of our own journey we’re on when we’re doing the type of work that we do. So yeah, I hear you on that. And I think there’s something maybe it’s also DNA related as well, which connects with us at a cellular level that we really love to do. And we’re here to do.


Alessandra Edwards  22:46

Yeah. And so, for me, the journey started quite early on. Probably surprisingly, I was brought up in a household in Italy, my mum was French, that was so anti wellbeing like, it was chain smoking, chain drinking, workaholics, don’t even mention yoga – because it’s for people who are actually mentally deranged. So my mum had an encyclopedic knowledge about pharmaceuticals – medication – we had an incredible cabinet. And she used to actually remember having arguments with our GP in terms of how much he should prescribe. So what happened is that unfortunately, my father passed away when I was 12. So he was diagnosed with a very quick advancing brain tumor. And what happened is that it came out of nowhere so seemingly, he seemed very strong and then he was literally felled like a big old tree within the space of 10-12 months. And then a year later, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. And then eventually she died of lung cancer. So I became really interested in this when I moved to England to go to university and I started to be exposed, as you do when you go to uni, to lots of different ideas of people that at the time with my mindset, I thought were complete flakes and hippies. So literally, a friend dragged me kicking and screaming to yoga because I had some back pain and I just remember coming out of that class going, actually, I don’t think that this is all rubbish. I feel a lot better and so I feel like this initial curiosity came about and then I started to understand a little bit more about some of the behaviors that I witnessed in my house growing up and incredible levels of anxiety that my mother used to experience and the self medicating and starting to put dots together. After uni, I worked in a corporate setting, and I was very much through the highly driven Type A executive. So first one to get to the office, last one to leave. I still have memories of a couple of nights sleeping in the office. Can I say way before Elon Musk did.


Murray Guest  25:23

And before, we didn’t have a sleep pod. You know, you were on the floor… So when you talk to these CEOs, it’s like, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like.


Alessandra Edwards  25:35

Yeah, I’ve been there. And I had, you know, the classic story, massive burnout, the doctors could see it coming, but I just kept going, it even back then – I’m 47 so this is quite a while ago – but even back then, I told myself the same stories that I hear CEOs today in Australia say to me, such as we just have to get through this merger or I just have to get the team over this hump, or, you know, I just had to get to December or I just have to get past COVID.


Murray Guest  26:12

And there’s always a ‘just get to’, isn’t it? Like, it just continues and continues?


Alessandra Edwards  26:16

Yeah, it continues. And we feel justified, utilizing those excuses, because they give us permission to not go and look in the dirty cupboard, the hidden cupboard of all the stuff that needs to be dealt with. So that was the end basically, with the burnout, I went to seek specialists, online practitioners, blah, blah, blah. And I just did not get the results that I wanted. And so that’s where the interest in genetics fits. I retrained in health science, I specialize in Clinical Nutrition. And then that’s when the genetics then came in. And that’s what really helped me understand why specifically I had burnt out. Sure, it was a matter of not sleeping enough and play hard work hard kind of scenario, but why specifically, did burnout manifest in that way for me? What was it?


Murray Guest  27:20

Do you remember the moment? Did you have like a light bulb moment where you’re like, Oh, my God, I now get this.


Alessandra Edwards  27:29

It wasn’t like that. It was gradual, because genetics are complex, and you have to have a really good understanding of also the biochemistry behind it, because genes do give these instructions, which then are decoded, and then are encoded into biochemical pathways. And so it wasn’t, it was more of a gradual effect. But what I do remember was really increased awareness of this sense of efficacy, and self agency. And for me, this is really important part of the piece, when we’re talking about wellbeing for personal performance. This is not about just give me a list of supplements, or give me the latest diet, or let’s look at the latest blog by Tim Ferriss about the 10 habits, or the 10 most successful, productive leaders, this is not it. It’s really about understanding self very, very well from that genetic and then emotional perspective and biochemical perspective. And then understanding that you can be the leader of you.


Murray Guest  28:37

Yeah. And correct me if I’m wrong, but combining that with some intrinsic motivation, some deep motivation, through the data and understanding to then have that motivation around investing in self.


Alessandra Edwards  28:51

Okay, I love love love this question. The reason I love it, is that yes, and that’s our usual understanding of we need motivation for action and implementing behaviors. What happens then, though, when at a genetic level, one has very, very low levels of motivation producing neurotransmitters, what do we do then? Does it mean that only the ones that have you know, high dopamine for motivation can then progress on to accessing personal power? So this is when then this understanding of, if you like, how do I hack the system? What do I need to do to then crank up my motivation? And then how do I then maintain that level of consistency, because we know that even people who are highly driven, you know, the motivation, just like incentives, only works for a certain period of time. So my interest then is around the psychology of behavior. So one of my mentors is Professor BJ Fogg, who’s created the behavior lab at Stanford. So I have been training with him and continue to train with him to really understand then, okay so we do the genetics, and we increase a person’s motivation. How do we then design the best personalized strategy to implement these behaviors over time so that they become automatic?


Murray Guest  30:24

Yeah, okay. I can understand what you’re saying. So I’m thinking out loud here, Alexandra, about the the deeper cellular motivation as opposed to some surface level motivation. Yeah. I can feel that one. That’s cool.


Alessandra Edwards  30:43

Exactly. And if I may go one step further, in terms of, if you like, from my perspective on the whole journey is, so I mean, that sounds good enough. And that’s good enough for me to sell my programs – that’s like, yep, give me that. I want to learn how I increase my motivation and how I make my behavior stick. Even when I’m traveling and working 80 hours a week, how do I stick to those while being happy. So that’s good. And then when we get to that, it’s like, Yay, but then the next level is about becoming truly and utterly comfortable with the idea that you’re actually truly only doing these behaviors because they are perfectly aligned to your why. So you no longer going to the gym, just because you want to lose the inches on your waist. You’re not just going to bed because you need energy for the meeting in the morning. You are truly doing those behaviors and living in a certain way because at a deeper level, your why is about complete self love, complete self acceptance, and living in a state where you have the highest possible imagined type of energy, because you are in this constant self serving self pleasuring mode, which is very controversial in this day and age, I understand. But that is where people really move on to you moving on to a completely different level of mastery. And that is where you really access sort of the highest level of personal power. When you’re in that stage stuff really starts to happen, you become completely magnetic.


Murray Guest  32:27

Yeah, and I loved on your website, I’ve been looking and having an understanding of some of the programs that you provide, and this level beyond energized, of being unstoppable. Tell me what unstoppable looks like. What does it feel like?


Alessandra Edwards  32:45

Unstoppable is about getting to this level that I’ve just described. So it I think that many people think in terms of Oh, that’s fantastic, so unstoppable is if I want to feel as if I’d have 15 coffees and I’ve got that kind of energy. No, it is more about how you get to really high energy and unstoppable is when you’re able to really take that pause with a gazillion things coming at you. And it’s a feeling of time stretching, you become the master of time. So because you have achieved such high level of mental and physical mastery that you can actually self regulate your biochemistry. So you can, and we do testing on this. So we’ve seen it with people’s heart rate variability, which is a marker of how the two aspects of the nervous system work, really expanding, doing specific techniques. So I like to think of it as like the Samurai state, I’ve never been to Japan but I have a real fascination with Japanese culture. So for me, unstoppable is feeling completely in your power, standing in your power for the right reasons, with your whole body and mind being right behind you like the highest performing team. And you being able to, you know, dodge bullets like in the matrix. That is unstoppable, obviously, without bullets, but being able to just reset. And as you turn around and deal with the next challenge or obstacle or difficult team member, that you turn around and your whole body turns, your body, your mind, your values come with you. So the decision that you’re making, the communication that you’re giving is coming from this place. And when you get there it’s a little bit like being in flow, the energy is self renewing, so you’re not coming home exhausted at the end of the day.


Murray Guest  34:45

And I’m thinking about alignment with self, alignment with your values. I’m thinking about resilience, to be able to handle and rise above the ups and downs, those types of things that people would be feeling through this unstoppable state.


Alessandra Edwards  35:01

Exactly. Yes, absolutely. And as you’re in that state, as you said, what happens is that you almost have double vision. So you start seeing things for the way they really are rather than the way they appear. So for example, I know many of my clients have become completely addicted to the news. And they may be aware, but perhaps not truly, truly aware of how that cycle of catastrophizing, negative news is actually affecting how they then affect the business.


Murray Guest  35:34

Yeah, gotcha.


Alessandra Edwards  35:35

Yeah. When you’re in that unstoppable mode, and you’re aligned, as you said, with all your strengths, your values, and then you’ve got the body and the mind, then what happens is that you can actually watch the news, but you can also see, okay, I see this is actually another cycle of really traumatic news and images. And this is actually going to speak to my brain, and then my brain, because genetically, I have high levels of rumination because my prefrontal cortex is super active, because I’ve got my dopamine receptors, genetically, are off the charts. I produce heaps of dopamine, and I don’t break it down, then I can see how that is going to start coloring my thoughts. Hmm. Isn’t that interesting? Okay, so you’re able to then distance yourself, have this pause, which is not just in time, but also from a space perspective. And can you imagine if you’re living like that the whole time? Incredible power.


Murray Guest  36:33

Yeah, I can I just say, just hearing you describe it, I’m feeling more energized. So to actually have that awareness. I can imagine then, that self awareness, that self understanding and that ability to have that greater awareness, and a choice then to shift.


Alessandra Edwards  37:01

Nailed it. Yeah. It’s about choice. Because we think we have a choice right now. But we don’t, we really don’t have a choice. And regardless of what job title you have, we think we do but we don’t. Whilst you’re still within this, the system, your body is at the mercy like a puppet of environmental challenges and stressors. And while you’re still stuck in your script, that you don’t have time, because you’re too busy, and that you will have time once you have got to whatever imaginary situation is coming – I call it the oasis in the desert because it always shifts – then it’s not freedom of choice. You’re plugged into the matrix. But the moment you step outside, you can see yourself and go, oh, there we go. Here goes Will, he’s doing his routine. He’s up at 5am. And he’s already on the emails at 5:30. I can see. So then you can make deliberate choice. And then you can say, Well, actually, I choose to answer those emails, for whatever reason, because it’s aligned with what I believe to be true and helpful.


Murray Guest  38:19

Yeah wow. Again, thinking about some of those other ways I was describing before, I want to add empowering, empowering about the the way I’m living my life to help me achieve that high performance. So I’m wondering if we’ve got listeners right now listening and they’re intrigued to tap into your knowledge and experience without getting the genetic testing, of course, which they can do through you, by going through one of your programs. But what sort of tips do you like to give to people to help them be at their best to actually invest in their wellbeing?


Alessandra Edwards  38:57

Yes. First, it all starts with an inventory. So you need to do an inventory as if like, you were commenting before about the books and doing this kind of thing. And I love Marie Kondo and the whole idea of clearing and tidying and all of that. So when you watch Marie Kondo… for those listeners who don’t, perhaps especially if you have mostly male listeners, Marie Kondo is a Japanese thought leader of tidiness. 


Murray Guest  39:28

Does it bring you joy? If it brings you joy keep it, if it doesn’t bring you joy anymore let it go.


Alessandra Edwards  39:34

Yeah, absolutely. So I always love starting with this idea of an inventory. So literally as if you were opening a closet and you look at it, it’s like there’s all this stuff you don’t know where to start. Just start writing down everything that comes into your head or surfaces at that emotional level that when you ask yourself the question, where am I right now? Who am I and what am I feeling? Just write it all down. Don’t question it, write it down. And then once you have this list, and for some people, this can go on like five, six pages, then take a pen or a highlighter and just just go through it, look at it and work out exactly what you said, Does this bring me joy or not? Okay. So say for example, I have a teenage daughter. And she is, much as I like my books ordered like this, she has a floor-drobe right. Yeah, you know, you’ve got kids similar age. I don’t know if yours is the same, but mine is. It’s like the Hansel and Gretel story, you can tell what she’s been because instead of breadcrumbs, there’s items of clothing.


Murray Guest  40:44

You know, it’s really hard to hang up towels in the bathroom as well.


Alessandra Edwards  40:50

Hey, in COVID, we’ve all lost muscle mass, so let’s not go there. So that is the thing that for example, I would write down like it absolutely drives me nuts. And I write it down. And then what I would do is I would look at it and say, okay, when I pick up the towels, or I have the argument with her, does that bring me joy? No, it doesn’t bring me joy. So does it bring me pain? Yes, it brings me pain. Okay, well, does seeing the towels on the floor bring me pain? Well, yes, it does, which is the greatest pain? Battle and have an argument with her, and then doing all of that? Or is it like, having a beanbag and just shoving things in or just pushing things aside? Which is the easiest. So you might want to ask yourself those questions. And then pick the ones that you feel gives you a little bit of a sense of yuckiness inside. Yeah, you read it and your heart sinks, so that you don’t want to go there. So that’s where you want to start. And you might want to ask the question, in terms of where am I, in terms of you write down, do the inventory of all the things that give you energy and deplete your energy. And then start looking at is there a pattern here, and what’s sitting behind it? So in terms of the epigenetics of the things that you can do that then influence your genes, you could go through each one of those and say, Well, I can see a little bit of a pattern here that I’m tired. You know, every Monday morning, I’m tired. But every Sunday night I’m having a whole bottle of wine. Okay, so start looking at what came before and see the pattern. Is it that the pattern is related to you going to bed very late? Yeah, is the pattern that you really struggle to fall asleep? So try and find these patterns and then work with your current knowledge or wellbeing practices. I mean, we’ve got so much information in terms of what’s a good sleep routine, right? Not eating sugar, etc. Just go start with the basics, because you’ll be amazed how quickly those basics work if you do them consistently without even worrying about the genetics.


Murray Guest  43:03

What I love through this process that I’m thinking about that’s really helpful is it’s not just blindly going to do some latest fad or routine or idea that you might have read about or seen online. It’s getting back to what’s triggering the need for those things to shift and and as you said, What are the patterns? What are the themes that are leading up to that? Bring that to your awareness then going now what can I do about those things?


Alessandra Edwards  43:24

Absolutely. And is it that the trigger, as you just mentioned, could it be that the trigger for you, maybe you don’t sleep well at night, because like many of my clients, you come home and after dinner, you just start picking at food, you can’t stop? You know, there’s a heap of genetics related to that, but you don’t need to know that. You will know deep down that actually that behavior doesn’t serve you because you always go to bed with the full stomach, and wake up at 3am feeling a bit nauseous. And then in the morning, I wake up as if like someone had died in my mouth. So then what you can do is start working out okay, well, okay, that’s interesting. So when you go and you know, pick your bag of chips, or whatever it is that you snack on at night, just pause for a moment, just pause and just see how you feel. What’s the emotion that’s behind it? Does it feel like your cup run is empty there emotionally? Maybe. Many of my male clients work all day. And they’re in a leadership position all day, they come home, they’ve been married for a gazillion years. And the wife is no longer waiting at home with an apron and go oh, my God, darling, I have missed you, you know, big kisses and make him feel like a man again, right? So for many men, the snacking comes from ‘I actually I don’t feel loved’. And it might take us five or six coaching sessions to get to that. So we don’t do things just because we do them. I mean, yeah, obviously, things taste nice and we eat them, but those repetitive behaviors that go against our highest self knowledge. They come as a way of bandaiding and pushing down very uncomfortable feelings and thoughts.


Murray Guest  45:07

Yeah, I invite listeners to go down that path and start to explore where those motivations or the awareness or the triggers that are driving some of those behaviors. And I reckon once you start to do that, you might need to reach out to Alexandra and have a chat to her and have a look at her programs to help you then start to shift that because as you’re talking through that, I’m thinking about my own behaviors and the little bit of chocolate I like to have after dinner, and then maybe it’s a little bit more, and then I think maybe I didn’t need all that chocolate, I feel a bit sick. But where’s that coming from? Why am I doing that? Yeah… But thank you, that’s been enlightening to just think about that process. Obviously, the genetic testing gives us a real depth of knowledge when we do that. And as you said, the coaching that goes alongside that, because this is not a ticking the boxes, that this is a journey you take people on.


Alessandra Edwards  45:59

This is a journey, and it’s not for everyone. And I think with any kind of choice that we make for ourselves, again, reclaim that sense of empowerment and self agency for yourself. I can confidently say here with a scientific background, there is absolutely no one diet fits all, there is absolutely no exercise, there is no program for everyone, that everyone should be doing mindfulness, absolutely not. So you pick things that you come across, and maybe sort of spark your interest and your curiosity, and really start opening this conversation, this dialogue with yourself. You don’t need to pay any money to do it. All you need to do is have a willingness to explore some of the difficult feelings that we experience. And then you’re off. And then when you get to a point where you go, right, I’m ready for the next level, I really want to go in depth, then this is what these programs are for. I don’t want everyone to contact me for this specific reason. So there is so much that we can do well before getting to the genetic testing.


Murray Guest  47:05

Yeah, of course. Gotcha. And going back to one of your first comments, 2020 is the best year for reset, isn’t it?


Alessandra Edwards  47:11

Yeah, yeah. Well, I tend not to work in years. Just because I always think is like, well, is it really this day?


Murray Guest  47:24

It’s like, why do we have to have a new year’s resolution, I could have a resolution any day of the year.


Alessandra Edwards  47:31

Any research is good. Anytime that you feel like there is, it’s almost like sort of a voice, or a little spark of something, of intuition, that comes into your ear that goes, now is the time, now is the time. And so that that’s a good time to do a reset, or just start opening this more kind of investigative approach. 


Murray Guest  47:58

I love it. Thank you so much for talking us through the amazing work you do, some of the background and the science behind it, and the impact that makes in people’s lives, and the leaders you work with, and then that self evaluation that we can start to go down the path of ourselves. So it’s been such a great conversation, I’ve got two more questions need to ask, before we finish up. Where is the best place online for people to reach out and find out more about this great work that you do?


Alessandra Edwards  48:29

Obviously, there’s always the website. I have to say that for all my organization, the website needs to be updated, it doesn’t reflect all the programs that I do. But you can certainly have a look on the website. There are some really good articles there. But generally, I’m quite active on LinkedIn. So if you’re interested in picking up tidbits and furthering the conversation, just connect with me on LinkedIn. And through the website you can download 30 tips for increasing energy and then I send out twice a month, a short note related to genetics and performance, which has a section called Smart Hacks. So they’re two minute smart hacks and we look at things like how to deal with anger, anxiety, sleeplessness, those kinds of things. And we’re related back to genetics. That’s a great place to start.


Murray Guest  49:18

Fantastic. And I’ll make sure there’s links to both LinkedIn and your website in the show notes. That’s awesome. So thank you for that. Now, just to wrap us up. This is the Inspired Energy podcast. What is your definition of inspired energy?


Alessandra Edwards  49:35

You put it at the end. This is a big question.


Murray Guest  49:40

I think you’ve already answered it in this conversation.


Alessandra Edwards  49:44

I think I have. So for me inspired energy is when our being, or our why, our purpose, then aligns with our DNA. Which is our ‘who’, who we are, which then aligns with our actions, which is the ‘what’. So it’s the being aligned with the DNA aligned then with behaviors and actions that reflect the other two. That for me is inspired energy. 


Murray Guest  50:18

I love that. And it links beautifully as a great summary to everything we’ve talked about today. Such a great conversation. Alessandra, thank you so much for your time. I am really inspired by the work you do and the people you help. It was such an insightful conversation honestly, thank you so much.


Alessandra Edwards  50:35

Yeah, the same I really really enjoyed it. I just loved it, actually I could happily carry on talking, I can see that there’s so many synergies and things that we could learn from each other. So I hope that we get to connect again.


Murray Guest  50:48

Well I’m sure I’ll have you on the podcast again in the future. All the best for the rest of 2020.


Alessandra Edwards  50:54

Fantastic, same to you. Bye.


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