Thursday, 21 February 2013

What Work Would You Like to be Doing if Money Didn’t Matter?

I think one of the most rewarding things I probably do is working with people to clarify just what it is they want to be doing in life and in which direction to be going in in order that they have a sense of engaging in purposeful activity and indeed meaningful work. I think this is particularly on my mind at the moment because in the last two weeks I have been focusing on this area with different people of wildly different ages and yet the same kind of questions arise. So, talking with a number of people who are in their very early twenties who really have been grappling with ‘what is my career path?’, ‘where am I heading’ and ‘what should I be doing?’. The kind of schools career approach didn’t seem to be really very helpful for them apparently and so I tend to go a different route which is to actually fall back on a number of ways of asking questions that take us to the heart of the matter.

To give you an example, many many moons ago, Alan Watts had an interesting question that he would ask in a variety of different ways but essentially it would all boil down to saying that if money was no object what would you like to be doing? However you choose to come at that you’re really of course saying let’s separate money and remuneration from the activity and let’s be clear about what would be the optimal activities as far as you’re concerned and what would you want to be doing?

This immediately takes us into questions about what is satisfying to you, what is meaningful to you, what is energising for you and what allows you to feel that what you’re doing is worth continuing to do and could be the basis of a fulfilling life. Now obviously there are very good reasons for wanting to get clear about this, not least if you spend about a third of your life working it might be a smart idea to be doing something that is rewarding. But of course people often think that rewarding must mean financially and yes, you need to be able to eat, you need to be able to pay the mortgage or whatever it may be but I think very often people jump straight to economic necessities they perceive rather than getting clear about what I would really get turned on by doing is this. Now, how could I do this and derive some kind of worthwhile income from doing it. At the start of a professional life it is an important question but you know it is just as important down the road, thirties, forties and fifties.

 I have worked with people who have been in the bizarre position of spending years doing something they really did not enjoy because they felt that they were restrained and they had to because it was the only way they knew how to bring home the bacon. That doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me just because you end up then living your life doing something you don’t like in order that you can do more of it tomorrow again. What? So really whatever one’s age these I think these questions get to be really important.

And myself I know that, many moons ago, I became very clear that the most rewarding things for me were being able to engage with people so that they could create the kind of life that was meaningful to them. I just found it incredibly rewarding, basically to be assisting people to become really more of who they could be. I also found it very motivating , it got me up in the morning and made me create a variety of businesses that are based on that fundamental premise that it is possible to find what is meaningful to you, it’s possible to move in that direction and you don’t have to give up the day job necessarily but you gradually edge in the direction that makes sense to you. For me that has been unbelievable satisfying, fulfilling, and frankly, intensely moving so that I end up having people coming back. A couple of weeks ago I had someone who said they would like to give me their book, and that without me it would not have been written. There was also a little dedication inside which was lovely.

So, I guess it doesn’t matter what age we are, the question is if you separate the money from what you love to do, what would you love to be doing and how might you begin to move in the direction of doing more of that?

Creating your own legacy happens on a daily basis by having the intention to move in the direction that is right for you. 

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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

“It’s All Moving Forward Mate!”

The past ten days or so have been really extraordinarily fulfilling because various projects have come to fruition in the way that I could only have dreamt of until their realisation. The weekend before last we completed the first of the new NLP Practitioner and Neuroscience programmes which has just been a blast because it has been so fascinating putting the two together; myself teaching the NLP and Professor Patricia Riddell, who is the professor of Applied Neuroscience talking about the Neuroscience of what we’ve been doing. I’m not too surprised but I am delighted at how people have been absolutely fascinated by this overlap and the kind of rigour that Neuroscience now can offer to an understanding of what it is that NLP can do and has been delivering on.

So there has been that on the one hand and then this past weekend we have just been seeing how  it is coming into its own  in the domain of coaching because we have just done three days together as a kind of double act on Neuroscience and Coaching; the applied dimension of neuroscience and how having an elementary understanding of some of what is going on in the brain can make a huge difference to the way you think about, ‘well how do I function?’ and indeed how do clients function? If you are planning on being a coach this is clearly got lots of applications but frankly a lot of people in the room aren’t planning on being coaches but they do want to know how to coach people in their teams more effectively how to draw out the best in them, how you would use what you could call a ‘coach approach’. The room was amazing, people were just hungry for this knowledge and were enquiring for more about the brain and ways in which they can practically apply their knowledge.

These last three days have just been so inspiring and not just for me, I’m talking for Trish as well. Afterwards she was saying she had been waiting thirty years to be able to do this, it is no good being in the lab unless it can come out and having this practical application. Well, we can see now that the dreams we both had when we started talking about how this could be really are possible.

This morning my kind of Monday weekend I went out for a walk and it was just gloriously sunny. It was the pleasure of just being out and about with a feeling that things were moving in the right direction and that really a vision I had had some years ago had finally started coming  to fruition. As I am on my walk I notice that there is a guy who is delivering a new empty skip to a house which is being built nearby, but I notice what he’s got in his truck which is across the road and is properly stabilised are two skips. One is empty and then that is containing another skip that is full to the brim and what I see the machine doing is raising up both, taking them over and dropping down both then he goes along takes the chains off the bottom one and then puts the chains on the full one and lifts that back onto his truck. I asked him if it was a new way of doing things  as I used to think you had to bring the empty skip, put that down, pick up the old one, put it on the truck and move the new one into place. The man told me that is exactly what you used to have to do, he said it took “Bloody forever, Gov.”. He then said something which I was thought was so, so brilliant, “You know, it’s the new technology, it’s all moving forward mate”. And of course he was talking about his skip but I thought how true and what a great summing of my experience.

So, I think I could say, along with man with the skip, it is this new technology, it is all moving forward and it certainly is. I am looking forward to it all moving forward. Certainly we’ve got plans for the next moves and I’ll tell you about those but for now it is just great to be enjoying simple ways of making good use of the brain that each of us has been endowed with.

So, it’s all moving forward, mate. Until the next time. 

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