The Second Act – Course Info

“It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking, than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.”

– Millard Fuller, founder Habitats for Humanity

Our life journey has been likened to a three-act play. In the first act, people establish themselves and the relationship to the world around them – they may receive their education, choose a career or two, partner up and create a family, acquire trappings of success – home, car and so forth – and collect a number of experiences to create a sense of fulfillment. Even though it feels like a stretch at times, the First Act is about creating a sort of comfort zone.

But often toward the end of the First Act, there is a disconnection to that comfort zone. Some people become aware of an inner calling to be or do something different but it feels counterintuitive to follow a new yearning for a deeper experience of life. For other people, an unexpected incident or a changing set of circumstances seems to thrust them into a new unexpected reality in which it is impossible to do the same thing or act in the same way.

This phenomena is sometimes flippantly written off as a mid-life crisis but this ignores the reality of a natural transition point at mid-life where it is time to launch into a Second Act. Often attempts to resolve the inner discomfort results in what feels like false starts and confusion. People are unfamiliar with feeling uncomfortable and do not recognise this as an important part of the transition.

In theatre, this Second Act is one that features “rising action” and the individual’s journey through this is dubbed “character development”. In professional development terms, we simply call it ‘becoming self- authored’.

Navigating through these changing circumstances is difficult as it takes not just a higher sense of awareness but also new skills to optimise the experience. It helps to be aided by mentors, and that is what the Second Act course is all about – supporting the individual through a process of discovery and reinvention.

Who are you?

Most people struggle to answer this aside from referencing themselves against their work or their family. If you are somewhat bothered by this question, then read on.

Based on learnings of two Second Act pilot programmes and 19 other leadership development courses, Play CoLab’s Second Act course is for those at mid-life, whatever that is for you, who feel a little untethered to familiar ground. You’ve probably had a good working life, possibly even a stellar career but you are having trouble getting into gear to create a Second Act that nourishes you.

It is likely there has been an ending of sorts – a selling of a business or a change of location, perhaps it was a redundancy, or the ending of a relationship – that leaves you perhaps even unexpectedly looking ahead with a bit of confusion. Or perhaps you’ve started a new role and you are aware, perhaps secretly so, that really you have opted for Groundhog Day through a simple lack of courage.

“When the Buddha started to wander around India shortly after his enlightenment, he encountered several men who recognized him to be a very extraordinary being.
They asked him: “Are you a god?”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you a reincarnation of god?”
“No,” he replied.”
“Are you a wizard, then?”
“Well, are you a man?”
“So what are you?” They asked, being very perplexed. Buddha simply replied: “I am awake.”

– Buddhist teaching

The Group Process

“If I am not for myself who will be for me? If I am not for others, who am I?
If not now, when?”

– Rabbi Hillel

Since we launched in August 2016 with an intention of raising the consciousness of leaders, we have had the pleasure of working with 21 groups across different courses as well as a handful of executive teams who have been up for a different sort of development process. This has allowed us to more fully realize the group process as a powerful medium for transformation, far more impactful than one on one coaching.

While many initially want to do their development work in the privacy of a coach’s office, we are social beings and mostly live and work in small hubs and communities. Hence having mastery over how we live and respond to life in a group is a critical aspect of development.

The Second Act uses the group process to accelerate the growth of the collection of individuals. As coach-facilitators, we are able to observe first-hand how you play in a group setting and together with you explore your reactions to certain experiences.

It is interesting that one’s vulnerability and honesty soars in the company of strangers. People are better able to “drop their mask” with those they don’t know which enables them to more effectively start reflecting on the narratives that have kept them unwittingly and often unconsciously stuck.

Importantly, while we learn as much from listening to others, what is often missed is that our contribution to others is a key part of our own growth – (Who am I being in this group? How am I serving?).

The Course

An extended group development experience for 8 people.

6 days + 5 evenings at the Play CoLab space in Queen Street, Auckland CBD
Over a 4-5 month period, a curated group of individuals will come together for an extended group coaching experience.

Intention: to release the First Act narratives that keep individuals stuck in order to provide insight and create momentum to generate a Second Act of their choosing.

The course involves three distinct aspects:

a) An initial intensive over 4 days and one evening, which includes:

  • Understanding and kick-starting a guided meditation practice
  • Understanding and experience the benefits of a journaling practice
  • Exploring the Jungian concept of persona and explore the masks we wear and shadows we keep hidden
  • Understanding the impact we have in how we turn up in our working world using the Leadership 360 profile
  • Discovery and release of narratives that lock us into patterned ways of being
  • Beyond skill set, identifying essential drivers to be leveraged in the Second Act
  • Training in deep listening and sharper questioning techniques to help coach others and ourselves to greater mastery
  • Introduction to techniques to enhance authentic presence

b) Peer to peer coaching

Building from the intensive, each participant embarks on a programme where they either coach or are coached/mentored by other course participants. It is important to note, that our own growth is enhanced through our support of others.

c) Mini-projects

To help ensure new neural pathways are being created, through the course every participant works on at least one mini-project, unrelated to current work commitments. This is not about a new career but rather uses other projects to activate other parts of ourselves in order to kick-start creativity, curiosity and create momentum. Note there are two full days of integration work through the programme – one midway and one at the end of the course. Post-course, all Second Act participants are eligible to further alumni experiences offered by Play CoLab.

Course Details

9-13 March:
Day One (evening) – Introduction
Day Two – Understanding our patterns
Day Three – Understanding how we have played*

Day Four– Questioing our First Act narrative
Day Five – Activation and Intention
*Using The Leadership Circle 360 Profile, the only 360 that is set in the context of adult development.
Peer coaching begins – after training, each participant partakes in a one-hour mentor/coach session with every other participant over the following months. Hence a participant both gives and receives individual peer to peer mentoring at least seven times.
31 March: Group Session with Jenny – 5.30pm-9pm
22 April: Group Session with Sandy – 5.30pm-9pm
14 May: Midway Full Day Review
11 June: Group Session with Jenny – 5.30pm-9pm
9 July: Group Session with Sandy – 5.30pm-9pm
13 August: Final Day integration and celebratory meal
Final peer coaching session post-course.
Note: most cohorts remain together as a collegial peer network after the formal course ends

Cost per participant $8,600 plus GST
All workshops take place at Play CoLab Level 8 187 Queen Street, Auckland CBD