A life update from Michael

Thinking Out Loud No. 38

Hello everyone!

It’s been a while since I sent one of these, perhaps in part because the last one was on the topic of “that time I burned out”. Nothing like a heavy topic to make something feel aversive, huh?

This newsletter is a life update and marking of a restart of consistent publishing.

Things that have happened

🚀 Upgraded and re-launched Fundamentals of Alexander Technique

This has been my biggest project over the last couple of months and I’m really pleased to share that I welcomed 150 new students into the course over two launches. The first one about two weeks ago (for 100 people) sold out in 44 minutes, so I decided to open another 50 spaces on Monday, which took about 12 hours to sell out.

Some other time I’ll write about how life changing this chart is.

Much more importantly, though: students who are going through the course are saying nice things, which reassures me greatly and gives me the confidence to continue.

🔖 I incorporated Michael Ashcroft Ltd as a limited company

I know, I have no imagination.

I wanted to create a separate space for revenues and expenses away from me as an individual, and thus a company was born. At the moment the company does online education and coaching, but who knows! It’s nice that I can now think about “what does the company do?” distinctly from myself.

🖋 Write of Passage Cohort 6

I had a great time taking part in Write of Passage again about 18 months after I took it the first time. It’s clear that taking it put me on the path I find myself on today.

For anyone who is interested, I wrote this "how to get the most from Write of Passage” guide.

It was particularly fun being a mentor — it turns out I really enjoy facilitating immerse Zoom spaces. Who knew?! More of that please.

I also had a truly wonderful moment where David Perell based his session on the Personal Monopoly on my Architect vs Archeologist ideas of finding your niche. I struggled with this for so long and had to find my own way through — I can’t express how affirming it has been to see my journey integrated into the course for others to learn from.

🎥 Part Time YouTuber Academy Cohort 2

At the same time as Write of Passage I was also an ‘alumni supporter’ for PTYA and spent some time making YouTube videos of my own.

YouTube is a bit of a back burner project for me, but one I do plan to sustain in a long game kind of way. I’ve found it really helpful to get good at being in front of a camera — particularly for Fundamentals of Alexander Technique — and I do have a sense that YouTube could be a major part of my ‘creative portfolio’ in the future.

Here are some videos from my last wave of YouTubing. Also I have long hair now.

❤️ I moved in with my girlfriend in London

You’ll see a new background in those videos! That’s because I moved in with my girlfriend almost two months ago, and it’s lovely.

Things that are happening

🧐👷‍♂️ The Expanding Awareness Oasis

That’s a man in a builder’s hat. He’s a builder. It’s because I’m building.

I’ve decided to build expandingawareness.org as an online ‘oasis’ for all my Alexander Technique and adjacent writing (thanks to Rob Hardy for the term). This will also be a natural home for Fundamentals of Alexander Technique and any other related courses I come up with.

Alongside this I want to focus my attention on getting to know the people in my course community and allow myself to explore ideas again. It turns out I find it difficult to be ‘sales and marketing guy’ at the same time as being ‘community builder and deep thinker’ guy, so I’m drawing a line under the former for a while so I can be better at the latter.

📖 Roam Book Club 4

OH MY GOD. I cannot believe how much I am loving this.

Roam Book Club is run by Beau Haan and is one of the most curious online experiences I’ve seen. The idea is to help participants build a Zettelkasten in Roam Research.

There are hundreds of students, the whole thing is free, it involves group reading of Sönke Ahrens book How To Take Smart Notes and there are some intense daily writing prompts.


I’m excited to build a robust Zettelkasten that will support my thinking, particularly around Alexander Technique and carbon removal, but more generally around whatever I decide to research, think about and write about.

🧘 Build A Meditation Habit

I’m also participating in a course led by Tasshin Fogleman called Build A Meditation Habit, which is really working for me so far.

Tasshin’s focus is to make meditation fun, so the only requirement is to do minimum of five minutes a day (I’ve not missed a day yet) and to default to loving-kindness (metta) meditation that intrinsically feels good.

I’m really leaning into the idea of following the fun at the moment, so this course is getting a big thumbs up from me. 👍

🌍 AirMiners Boot Up

I mention from time to time that I am a co-founder and Non-Executive Director of the Carbon Removal Centre. Doesn’t mean I know as much as I’d like to know about carbon removal, though.

That’s why I’m taking part in a month-long self-study and discussion group programme organised by AirMiners. The next one starts on 10 May if you’re interested.

🚍 Coaching

I know it looks like a bus, but it’s a coach. Because I’ve been coaching.


Anyway I have been working with five clients on a weekly/fortnightly basis and really enjoying it. I love getting to work with people in this way.

Things I’m looking forward to

🧠 Building A Second Brain Cohort 12

I took BASB about two years ago and it was my entry point into all this weird and wonderful internet stuff. I’m excited to go through Cohort 12 as a student in a couple of weeks. Should go nicely with the Roam Book Club.

🌲 Travelling in the UK

Restrictions are starting to lift here after a very long winter of strict lockdown — nothing has been open and we’ve had to stay at home for months — so I’m excited to travel the UK to the extent I’m able to.

Things I’m thinking about

🤔 How can I nurture a community and get to know almost 300 students in a way where everyone feels seen and while not taking up literally all of my time?

🤔 How can I build a Zettelkasten that looks like this?

🤔 How can I have more fun day to day?

🤔 What does a consistent and fun writing and publishing practice look like?

🤔 How can I further focus on the things I care deeply about, while leaving plenty of space for play?

Photo of the week

This is the Millennium Bridge here in London. That’s St Paul’s Cathedral you can see on the other side.

Until next time!