Hello, I'm Simon Darnton.
I think I have one of the most fascinating jobs there is.
I work with people in the most human of ways, exploring the nature of their lived experience in ways that help them to effectively change their relationships with the world, resulting in a change and growth of themselves.
How I came to do what I do
People have always come to me to talk about the personal things they're dealing with; to find a sense of clarity and answers. I'm told that the quality of space they get with me helps them to uncover the means to navigate their challenges and grow in valuable ways.
I've always been fascinated by peoples' inner worlds; exploring the qualities and flow of lived experience with them came naturally to me, and it was because people sought me out for their own catharsis that I have followed a lifelong journey along this path.
Life isn't that simple, and it hasn't been an easy journey. Despite my intuition, I didn't have the courage to step out into the world to do what I do as a profession. I was pushed by an incapacitating neuro-otological illness that required both delicate and dedicated long-term rehabilitation and nowadays continuous management. This demanded a radical re-appraisal of life and forced me in a new direction.
My journey so far
There is no neat linear journey here. It doesn't fit that kind of narrative. I've always had broad and deep, varying interests. Here are the main players:
I was drawn to the psychology/consciouness/being area as a teenager because people at school were coming to me to help them sort out their problems and emotional ups and downs. My initial introduction to the study of western psychology killed the subject for me for a long time because it simply didn't get the richness or complexity of lived experience. I found psychology as a subject to be stuffy, dry and quite often simplistic.
Because of my grandmother's involvement with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in India where she ran its London centre, I started to learn about and live approaches to consciousness and being from an Eastern perspective from an early age.
I've continued down this path where I nowadays practise and teach Chen-style Tai Chi Chuan. The principles and philosophies of these lived practises heavily informs my work today, especially those underpinning Tai Chi.
More formally, I have trained and qualified as a counsellor gaining about 7 years of experience working in counselling in both public and private practice.
In 2010 I completed a Master's Degree in Psychological Coaching.
In 2017 I will complete a 3 year Tai Chi instructor training programme.
The essence of my work has always been:
Getting in touch with people across the organisation to understand how they tick; to support and influence change and development. Sometimes this has involved technology but often not; it has been about influencing thinking and ways of working, including that of global and regional leaders.
Our experience of the world and how we function depends upon knowledge at all levels. The more senior, the more complex the role or activity, the more intangible, relational and inuitive the knowledge demands. This domain is poorly served by technical, or technique based development solutions which can reduce performance and hinder change.
I have worked as a 'human experience advocate' in a wide variety of change and technology projects since the 90s. I've been involved in engagement from the early days of web adoption and I've done work relating to tech products and large-scale tech design & implementation across organisations. I have even managed several commercial software products.
I have worked in small start-ups as well as multi-national companies which means I have gained business and organisational experience from many different perspectives. Notable previous client names include, for example, Microsoft and Apple. I was a consultant to, and then employed by, Deloitte to work across the UK and the global firm.
I work with athletes in extreme sports. Most clients come from the worlds of motorcycle racing and mountain bike racing. I've worked with ahtletes looking to develop themselves; enabling them to compete at the highest levels. Clients include National and World Cup mountain bike racers, Olympic level athletes and motorcycle racers at various levels of competition.
I also have clients where our work is a blend of business and sports.
I used to race motorcycles and spent several years studying elite racers to understand the nature of their experience while riding at their best. Competitive success depended upon a curious mixture of qualities of a clear, calm and relaxed mind, good rhyhtm and a good feeling. This is what I help my client to achieve where all have significantly improved their performances and competivie consistency, with some of them having gone on to win one or many championships.