How A Side Hustle Saved My WorkLife And My Well-Being by Carmel O’ Reilly

Three years ago, I was feeling the burnout from working the long hours required as founder of a start-up …

How A Side Hustle Saved My WorkLife And My Well-Being… are people’s stories of how a side hustle made a positive impact in their WorkLife. Stories of how a side hustle helped: their well-being; take ownership of their WorkLife; enable opportunities; build financial security; utilise existing skills; develop new skills; connect with their community; establish their reputation; to stand out; to distinguish themselves and their uniqueness; bring new opportunities their way, and much, much more.

Three years ago, I was feeling the burnout from working the long hours required as founder of a start-up … those were Saoirse’s opening words as guest-speaker on WorkLife Well-Being at her university’s annual alumni day. But let’s hear Saoirse’s full address to understand her story:

A How A Side Hustle Saved My WorkLife And My Well-Being Case Study: 

Saoirse’s WorkLife Well-Being Alumni Address:

Three years ago, I was feeling the burnout from working the long hours required as founder of a start-up. I was feeling overwhelmed and I knew I needed to reorganise my WorkLife. I lived in and worked from a small studio flat, and it was messy, it was disorganised, it was full of so much stuff, I could never find anything. But I didn’t have the time, energy or motivation to tidy it up, or so I thought.

Sage Wisdom 

My dear and wise friend Anne came to visit, and over a few beers I shared my woes, telling her how I no longer had the same clarity of thought in my thinking, and how I was struggling to focus my mind. “Tidy your home, and you’ll tidy your mind,” she said. But I don’t have the time, was my argument. “You need a side-hustle,” she responded. I think you’ve had too many beers, I said. I don’t need to take on something else, I need to let go of something. “That’s exactly my point,” she said. “You need to declutter, and you also need to reframe. You need to shift your focus from all the reasons why you can’t do something to emphasising what’s possible. By shifting from a negative mindset to a positive mindset you’re implicitly acknowledging that it’s possible. And I have the perfect book that’s going to help you,” she continued “It’s an easy, yet insightful read. Come over on Sunday and while you get started on it, I’ll make us lunch.” You really have had one too many, I responded, if you think reading a book is going to help me. “All I ask is you give it a try,” she answered. Knowing she wasn’t going to give up, along with the fact that her Sunday roast is the best in town, I agreed.

Book Wisdom

On arrival at her home that Sunday morning Anne took me directly to her wonderfully relaxing courtyard patio. Awaiting me was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo and soon to follow was a pot of her home-brewed coffee. Informing me lunch would be a couple of hours she left me alone. Wanting to make good with my promise to give the book a try, I got stuck in. 

Anne was right, it was an easy read, and more importantly it was insightful. It elicited self-feedback through self-questioning. Such as asking myself:

Why do I want to tidy?

I want a space that’s not cluttered was my response.

In preparation for getting started, I had to visualise my destination by asking myself:

What do I hope to gain through tidying?

I discovered my goal of wanting a space that’s not cluttered was too broad.

I had to think about it more deeply, so that I could vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space.

Wanting a more serene lifestyle was what came to me. Closing my eyes, I saw myself in my home:

My bookshelves were choc-a-bloc, with the overflow on my windowsills blocking my view across the rooftops of London, and London life in the streets below. I had more books and magazines all over the floor of what is my workspace/ living room during the day, and my bedroom at night. When I’d go to bed I’d have to move the clothes which wouldn’t fit into my already stuffed wardrobes from my bed to the floor, and then in the morning put them back on the bed, so I’d have a pathway to move around. My lifestyle could not have been called serene by any stretch of the imagination.

The book prompted me to go more deeply into what I meant by a serene lifestyle. I wanted windowsills and floors that were clean of clutter, to make my home a calm space to work from during the day, and a peaceful space to relax in at the beginning and end of my day. 

In the morning I wanted to be have my first coffee sitting in my window seat (which was covered in clothes), slowly waking-up watching the sun rise on a new day. At night, I wanted to sit and read looking out at a moonlit sky as the day came to a close. 

I wanted to be enlightened, I wanted inspiration, I wanted creativity, which has always come to me through imagination. I wanted to day-dream – I’d been feeling blocked, and my night-dreams were troubled – I wanted to be carefree.

Going deeper into knowing my Why (Why I want to tidy), led me to know what I wanted. This also allowed me to know that tidying would allow me to have the enlightenment, inspiration and creativity I wanted and needed to live my WorkLife with the serenity I deeply yearned. I had all of this knowledge by the time Anne came back to let me know lunch was ready. 

With this knowledge came energy, the energy I needed to tidy my home. The book stipulated making tidying a special event, thinking of special events reminded me of early morning hikes I always liked to take whenever I wanted to explore somewhere new and different, or when I simply wanted to be alone with my thoughts. I decided I’d make the following weekend my special event of tidying, and take the same approach as I did with my hikes by rising early when my mind was at its clearest, and my power of discernment sharp.

And it worked, I got everything I wanted.  But what was perhaps most profound was the immediacy in which it worked, together with how what I wanted remained with me over the coming days, weeks and months, actually that never left. I now live a WorkLife filled with serenity. The enlightenment, inspiration and creativity I gained, gave me back the clarity of thought I needed in my thinking, and allowed me to focus my mind. This was integral in saving my WorkLife because without that I risked losing everything. While I didn’t explicitly set out seeking well-being in my WorkLife through tidying, this came about as a natural, holistic and powerful by-product for which I am truly grateful. 

Words of Wisdom

If there are times in your WorkLife when you feel overwhelmed or you’re reaching burnout, I encourage you to reframe. By shifting from a negative mindset to a positive mindset you’re implicitly acknowledging that it’s possible, and that’s the beginning of a pathway to your WorkLife well-being. 

Epilogue

What began from a place of feeling burnout and being overwhelmed in my WorkLife, took me on an unexpected path to not only overcoming my challenges but also coming through with a strong sense of knowing that my experience could help other people’s WorkLife well-being.  This has led me to develop my weekend project of tidying into a side-hustle. I’ll share more about that in my talk later today: How A Side Hustle Can Super Charge Your Skill Set and Effectively Future Proof Your WorkLife.  Thank You.

Next week Saoirse will tell her story of How A Side Hustle Can Super Charge Your Skill Set and Future Proof Your WorkLife.

Todays Book of the Blog is: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, by Marie Kondo

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associate Programme. This means if you click through and make a purchase through my referral links, I’ll be compensated. Using the links won’t cost you anything extra, and it helps to keep the blog. Thank you.

WorkLife Book Wisdom

The intention of this blog is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride. 

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You, by Carmel O’ Reilly

The hardest workers always get rewarded. By “rewarded” I mean both financially and in terms of responsibility. 

Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You … are people’s stories of how they carved out a WorkLife that was rewarding, fulfilling and meaningful, how they worked with people they admired, how they contributed in ways that was valuable, and how their WorkLife allowed  them to make a difference in a way that had a positive impact.

The hardest workers always get rewarded. By “rewarded” I mean both financially and in terms of responsibility. Those were Elaine’s opening words at her university’s annual alumni day. But let’s hear Elaine’s full address to understand her story:

A Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You Case Study:

Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Elaine’s Alumni Address:

The hardest workers always get rewarded. By “rewarded” I mean both financially and in terms of responsibility.

Sage Wisdom

Tim Cook said: “There is a saying that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. The truth is, you will work harder than you ever thought possible, but the tools will feel light in your hands. He added something equally powerful: There’s nothing more beautiful than trying.”

As you prepare to go out into the world, wherever your WorkLife takes you you’ll want to stand out, you’ll want to be recognised, and you’ll want to be rewarded. But how do you achieve that? The answer to that question came to me though the superpower of:

Book Wisdom

I learnt lessons and drew inspiration from Setting the Table by Danny Meyer. It’s essential reading, not just for people in the restaurant business, but for people in any business, people who want to play an integral role in integrating the success of a business and the success of its community.

In the book Meyer asks: “To imagine if every business was a lightbulb and that for each lightbulb the primary goal was to attract the most moths possible. Now what if you learned that 49 percent of the reason moths were attracted to a bulb was for the quality of its light (brightness being the task of the bulb) and that 51 percent of the attraction was to the warmth projected by the bulb (heat being connected with the feeling of the bulb).” He said: “It’s remarkable how many businesses shine brightly when it comes to acing the tasks but emanate all the warmth of a cool fluorescent light.” He went on to say: “That explains how a flawless four-star restaurant can actually attract far fewer loyal fans than a two- or three-star place with soul.”

Like Meyer, in my WorkLife I wanted to be a hundred-watt lightbulb, whose work is the sum of 51 percent feeling and 49 percent task. 

I learnt that hospitality is present when something happens for you. It’s absent when something happens to you. These simple concepts – for and to – express it all. 

I learnt to err on the side of generosity: You get more by first giving more.

This wisdom allowed me to know what I needed to do in order to stand out: I needed to work hard to be the best I could be; I needed to commit myself fully to always go the extra mile; I needed to pay attention over and above the task, to what was going on around me, to the people, the situation, in order to notice what else I could do that would allow me to go that extra mile.  

I also knew I wanted and needed to be in this for the long-haul. As a graphic designer straight out of university, I had so much to learn, and because of that I knew I needed to work with and for people I admired, people I could learn from. I knew I couldn’t compromise by taking something less than my ideal job, I knew I couldn’t settle for a place where I wouldn’t accomplish anything. I wanted and needed to make an impact with my work, to stand out for reasons that gave me a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction. To be so good they couldn’t ignore me.

I encourage you to do the same. Do work that makes a contribution, work that gives you a sense of purpose, passion and pride. Work with collaborators who respect you, this is very important. You most likely won’t make a lot of money straightaway, but if you work with people you think are great, and you actually learn from them, that will be more valuable than immediate financial reward. But that will come too, along with greater rewards in terms of responsibility as you travel down the road of your WorkLife. 

The principle of working hard is an old-fashioned principle, a principle that has stood the test of time. It’s a principle that you can all live your WorkLives by. It’s a principle that leads to many rewards. It’s a simple principle: the harder you work, the better you’ll become. The greatest reward: You’ll be so good they can’t ignore you. 

Words of Wisdom

Why do I do this every day?  This is a question I regularly reflect upon. Through self-feedback the answers I’ve received include: it’s helping me achieve a goal that’s important to me; it’s helping me create freedom, independence, confidence and security. All good things to help me create the WorkLife I want. It’s about getting rewarded both financially and in terms of responsibility, it’s about what that allows me to do, who that allows me to become, how that allows me to serve others, and how through that I can achieve my dreams. 

That’s a value that I try to live out every day. I encourage you to do the same, by following this simple practice of asking yourself: Why do I do this every day? Then take time through self-feedback to reflect by way of understanding how it can help you achieve your dreams to live the WorkLife you want. 

I can’t wait to start work every day, and I hope all of you will get the same type of pleasure and reward out of what you choose to do. 

Thank you.

Epilogue

Elaine’s grounded approach while following her bright star to live her WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride has led to her giving motivational talks at her university, her workplace and at events within her industry.

Today’s Book of the Blog is: Setting the Table by Danny Meyer

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associate Programme. This means if you click through and make a purchase through my referral links, I’ll be compensated. Using the links won’t cost you anything extra, and it helps to keep the blog. Thank you.

WorkLife Book Wisdom

The intention of this blog is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride. 

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

Build It And They Will Come, Do A Great Job Building It And They’ll Stand In Line To Get In. By Carmel O’ Reilly

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw

Build It And They Will Come, Do A Great Job Building It And They’ll Stand In Line To Get In … are people’s stories of how they carved out a WorkLife that was rewarding, fulfilling and meaningful, how they worked with people they admired, how they contributed in ways that was valuable, and how their WorkLife allowed them to make a difference in a way that had a positive impact.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw. Those were Marco’s opening words at his university’s annual alumni day.  But let’s hear Marco’s full address to understand his story:

A Build It And They Will Come, Do A Great Job Building It And They’ll Stand In Line To Get In Case Study: 

Build It And They Will Come Do A Great Job Building It And They’ll Stand In Line To Get In

Marco’s Alumni Address:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw

Two years ago, I interviewed for my dream job of advertising artist at my dream company. The process was really intense, but I got through the four rounds of interviews and reached the last stage – the dreaded “interview task”. You all know the drill: I had 4 hours to design a product that had a great UI (User Interface), was slick, and really stood out. 

Now you also all know the actual time that goes into that 4-hour task is considerably more. The reality was I spent 40 hours preparing. But I was OK with that. This was my dream job, with my dream company, and I really wanted that job.

I didn’t get it. I was told it was a close call, and to re-apply in another year. I was totally gutted, and it took me time to pick myself back up. As I went through what I call my Rejection Recovery Resilience phase, I was reminded of something the actor Vince Vaughan said that helped me, and I believe will help you too. So I’ll share Vince Vaughan’s:

Words of Wisdom

“When you’re rejected, find a process where you allow yourself to feel disappointed. It is important not to turn off those feelings, but it is important to understand how to do that as quickly as possible to then become productive again, and start doing the things that are going to give you a better opportunity. The sooner you get back to your own growth, and what can enhance it, the sooner the chance of having what you want in life becomes greater.” 

The time I spent in my Rejection Recovery Resilience phase brought me the fourth ‘R’:  Reflection. I’m a firm believer in effective self-feedback through insightful self-questioning. I asked myself the question: “How can I use this experience to move forward in my WorkLife?” Through self-feedback I had an idea: I took the prototype I’d developed for the interview task, I added features, and I built it into an app which you may have heard of: NOQ. An app that allows people to queue remotely for the best restaurants in town. (People applauded – NOQ was a much talked about alumni success story.)

I built the app into a business I love. That wasn’t in my plan. That wasn’t the plan I had when I was starting out, when I was sitting where you’re sitting now. My plan then was to get a job as an advertising artist at my dream company. And you all know how that worked out.

Building the app into a business I loved actually happened quite organically, but because it wasn’t in my plan, I did need help along the way. I’m a firm believer in the:

Sage Wisdom

“When the student is ready, the teacher will come.” Buddha

This is exactly what happened. The help I needed came to me in many ways to include through the superpower of:

Book Wisdom

I discovered Principles by Ray Dalio. In the book Dalio shares the unconventional principles of life and work, that can be used by anyone to achieve their own goals. The book became my bible, I learnt so much from it. In particular I learnt how to make decisions in the best possible way. I learnt that having the courage to make them comes from: a) going after what I wanted; b) failing and recovering well through radical open-mindedness; and c) changing/evolving to become ever more capable and less fearful.

I didn’t have all the answers. I didn’t need to. I asked people what they wanted, and they told me. I then found a way of giving it to them.

You can do the same. You can build a business you love, by letting your community build your business with you. Try doing something that’s good for you, good for other people, good for your community, and then let them co-write it with you.  

I began from the simple principle of wanting to use real demand in the form of bookings. I built it and they came. Did I do such a great job building it that they stand in line to get in? Well as you know NOQ means no standing in line, instead they queue remotely for the best restaurants in town. 

That’s my last plug I promise.

Now go build it and they will come. Do a great job building it and they will stand in line to get in. 

Thank you.

Epilogue

Marco’s story of how he let his community build his business struck a chord with the university. They asked him to develop a class that would help future students model what he had accomplished. The class was developed into an online course which has been made available to all alumni. 

Today’s Book of the Blog is: Principles by Ray Dalio

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associate Programme. This means if you click through and make a purchase through my referral links, I’ll be compensated. Using the links won’t cost you anything extra, and it helps to keep the blog. Thank you.

WorkLife Book Wisdom

The intention of this blog is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride. 

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

It Was The Worst Of Times And Then It Got Even Worse, But It Did In Time Get Better by Carmel O’ Reilly

Is It Ever Too Late Or Too Difficult For Your Next WorkLife Chapter?

We’re living in very difficult times right now, with countries throughout the world introducing the toughest measures affecting how we go about our daily lives, ever seen in peacetime. We’re anxious and fearful for vulnerable loved ones. Almost overnight our lives have slowed down dramatically, nearly to the point of standstill. We’ve all become more observant of what’s happening around us. Through the stories being shared we have learnt we need to take Covid-19 seriously, and that we need to take responsibility for our own behaviour, because we’re all key players in fighting this as an army of individuals. Through our observation and the stories being shared we have also learnt about the greatness of humanity through the care and kindness being shown towards fellow human beings. And through our observation and the stories being shared we are also seeing hope and recovery. 

It is the worst of times, and it will get even worse, but it will also in time get better. And when this time comes, we’ll need to focus on our next WorkLife chapters, for now we can use this present time to learn through observation to help guide us in knowing what we want the next chapters of our WorkLife to be.

Today I’ve revisited and revised a blog post I wrote some years ago, based on the TV series The Waltons, which I included in my book Your WorkLife Your Way The chapter is titled:

Is It Ever Too Late Or Too Difficult For Your Next WorkLife Chapter?

I’ll begin with a little:

Book Wisdom

The book Good Night John-Boy by Earl Hamner & Ralph Giffin. A celebration of an American family and the values that have sustained us through good times and bad.

The book includes a description of each episode of the TV series, which combined wonderful stories and “teachable moments” in which adults and children alike learned the importance of honesty, hard work, respect, responsibility, self-sacrifice, kindness, compassion and humility. As is true in most families, the Waltons faced many challenges, occasionally stumbled along the way, but they struggled to live their lives within the framework of the values they believed and taught.

The book introduces readers to the Hamner family members who later became characters on The Waltons. Richard Thomas who played John-Boy said: “It’s significant that the Waltons celebrated familism and healing during the tough times of the Great Depression.”

The Story Of The Waltons In The Most Difficult Of Times. Is It Ever Too Late Or Too Difficult For Your Next WorkLife Chapter? Case Study:

There have been many difficult times throughout history, perhaps none more so than the Great Depression followed closely by WWII. The Waltons TV series set during these times demonstrated how the family navigated their WorkLives during these difficult times.

When The Waltons first came to our screens it was set in the time of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, companies were closing down, and people needed to be creative in their thinking when it came to finding themselves a job or set up in business. Not so different to how it is now, really.

Then the storyline moved to World War II, which deeply affected the family. Their WorkLives became very different. It forced them to put aspects of their WorkLives aside or on hold. They had to diversify in line with the demands of the time. It was also formative in charting their immediate and pursuing WorkLife chapters. 

What might have made it even more difficult for the Waltons was that they lived in a very small community, and so perhaps there wasn’t a lot of scope for enterprise. However when they did venture further afield to the bigger towns, there may have been more opportunities, but there was also more competition, again not so different to how things are now.

And yet they all managed to find work when they needed to. They were quite inventive about it really and managed to utilise, embrace and nurture their unique talents, skills and attributes, whether that was in their small community or when up against the competition in the bigger towns and cities. 

The grandparents and parents instilled strong values in the children, along with a strong belief that they could achieve their heart’s desire. They recognised and encouraged the unique talents, skills and attributes within each child and gave them a supportive push in striving towards their goals.

They didn’t have the financial capacity to fund their education, but the belief they instilled in each child provided a greater capability to achieve the WorkLife they aspired to, far more than funding their education would ever have done. Each one worked hard for what they wanted, which resulted in even greater appreciation and gratification. I think the old adage of “give a man a fish and he’ll eat well today, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat well for the rest of his life” is appropriate here.

The grandparents, parents and in turn the siblings were a great support to each other along their WorkLife journeys. They were, I think, both mentors and mentees at various stages as they all supported each other in their learning, growth and development. As much as we’ve evolved since the time of the great depression, and WWII, and organisations are becoming more international and global, many things remain the same. 

We all have the capacity to be both mentors and mentees, to share our knowledge, wisdom and expertise, along with our kindness, compassion and humility; and even among the international and global organisations there is space for the values and beliefs demonstrated in the Walton family. Simple perhaps, but as I think many of us have come to realise in an increasingly complex world ‘simplicity’ is becoming a key value. 

Earl Hamner Jr. based the characters in The Waltons off his own family. 

John-Boy: From a young boy he had a passion to become a writer, and began by recording his thoughts about his family, friends and circumstances, writing stories in a journal. He wrote and published his community and college newspaper. On graduating he moved to New York to fulfil his dream of becoming an author. After the attack on Pearl Harbour he enlisted in the military and wrote as a war correspondent for the U.S. Army’s newspaper Stars and Stripes. After the war ended, he returned to New York and turned his attention to reporting news. He went on to become a novelist. 

Jason: Enjoyed composing music for harmonica, guitar and piano. He attended the Kleinberg Conservatory of Music. He joined the National Guard, and during the war became a sergeant in the army. He landed a job playing honkytonk piano at a local tavern, which he later came to own. 

Mary Ellen: Followed her ambition to go into medicine, gained an education as a medical worker and became a nurse. Ending up taking care of people out in the country by herself, she concluded they needed more medical expertise than she could offer, and so she continued studying medicine until she succeeded in becoming a doctor. 

Ben: Had an entrepreneurial spirit and embarked on various schemes, some more successful than others. He too fought in the war and was taken prisoner by the Japanese. Between times he ran the family sawmill in partnership with his father.

Erin: Worked as a telephone operator while finishing school. She struggled to find her place, as she wasn’t an academic like John-Boy, or musical like Jason, interested in medicine like Mary-Ellen, or entrepreneurial like Ben. She took a part-time job at a business college. When the owner saw her helping out at the unattended front desk answering and assisting callers, he allowed her to work her way through the business school. She went on to become an executive secretary, then personnel manager, going on to become the plant’s assistant manager. Later in life she earned a teaching certificate, leading her to become a school principal. 

Jim-Bob: Was fascinated by aeroplanes and aspired to become a pilot. However increasingly poor eyesight forced him to give up this dream. He went on to become a mechanic and opened his own business. 

Elizabeth: Had an inquisitive mind and a talent for writing. She joined the Peace Corp. A free spirit, she struggled to settle down and travelled the globe looking for adventure. 

Like the Waltons, we will come through this difficult time, not unscathed, not without sadness and not without loss, but hopefully with a strong resolve to appreciate the simple things in life: spending time with family and friends; being involved in our local communities; passing the time of day with strangers; walking in the great outdoors; appreciating the beauty of what’s around us; and everything good that remains with us.

Sage Wisdom

  1. Remember you will get through this, and things will be alright again. No matter how difficult and uncertain everything is right now, darkness never prevails;
  2. Be kind, look out for each other. You won’t be the only one worried. Talking will help, sharing will help. Look out for your friends, your neighbours, people you hardly know, family, because in the end we’re all family; 
  3. Stay strong, stay positive, you’ve got this. 

During this enforced active WorkLife pause be open to experiences that require deeper thinking, let this guide your self-feedback to learning what you need to learn, and to knowing what you can do with the learning you already have within you, in a new and different context.  Being observant will allow you to know what to do next to make the most of this WorkLife experience. Ask yourself:

What do I already know that I can adapt to this WorkLife experience?

What parts of this WorkLife experience are best suited to teach me what I want and need to learn?

Words of Wisdom 

You are the author of your WorkLife story. This is not the end, it’s just the beginning. 

Epilogue

I leave you today with a poem by Laura Ding-Edwards

It feels like things are not ok

And this “thing” will never go away

Like all around is caving in

And no-one knows where to begin

What-ifs and fears are on the rise

And nobody’s able to disguise

The sadness of this sudden change

To life, routine; it’s very strange

But sit a moment with that thought 

Forget the things that you’ve been taught

For a while there’s no rat race

A slower life put in its place

We suddenly have the space to stop

Appreciate the things we’ve got

The cusp of spring still breaks its sleep

Our birds return to trill & cheep

And hope and kindness start to bloom

And we find ways to life the gloom

And so in this uncertain time

Take stock, reflect and redefine

Keep in mind it’s not forever

We’ll make it through with love, together 

Today’s book of the blog is: Good Night John-Boy by Earl Hamner & Ralph Giffin.

The story has been adapted from chapter 26 of Your WorkLife Your Way Is It Ever Too Late Or Too Difficult for Your Next WorkLife Chapter.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associate Programme. This means if you click through and make a purchase through my referral links, I’ll be compensated. Using the links won’t cost you anything extra, and it helps to keep the blog. Thank you

WorkLife Book Wisdom 

The intention of this blog is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride. 

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

The Objectification of People: Men This Week, by Carmel O’ Reilly

Those Men Can’t Wear Those Clothes, They Need to Look a Lot Smarter, They Need to Wear White Coats, That Will Make Them Look Smarter …

The Objectification of People … are people’s stories of the objectification they experienced themselves, or witnessed – of people around them, or of people in society at large. People’s stories of how they objected strongly to the objectification of people, sometimes inside of themselves, causing them to walk away from these people and situations, and other times when they spoke up and spoke out. Stories of how people took the steps they could to stop this objectification of people – how they did this by walking the talk, by never engaging in this practice, by being the change they wanted to see in people, by living their WorkLife true to their values. People’s stories of what they were able to do to make an impact in making it known that this was not a practice they approved of, that this was not a practice that was acceptable, and that this is a practice that everyone had the ability to impact to enable positive change within themselves, their groups, and society at large.

Those Men Can’t Wear Those Clothes, They Need to Look a Lot Smarter, They Need to Wear White Coats, That Will Make Them Look Smarter … I felt sick in my stomach hearing this words …

But let’s back up a little to my story: The Objectification of People Case Study 

Object To Objectification

I sometimes get asked to take part in focus groups, to be part of a discussion where I give my opinion on products or services, where I share my thinking on things that are happening in the world, from politics to economics and much more in between. 

I was taking part in a focus group about back pain. It was an all-women’s group, and we’d all experienced back pain in our lives. For some women it was from childbirth, for others from an accident. For me it was caused when I spent six months backpacking around Australia, when unable to leave my books at home, I instead loaded up my backpack with them, putting too much strain on my back, causing me to slip a disc; and once it happened once, it happened frequently, until I was able to find a way to prevent it from happening.

The market research focus group had been commissioned by two men: both of whom had significant experience working with people who had suffered severe back-pain. As well as both of them having private practices, they each had specific areas of expertise within the world of sports: one of them worked with grand-prix racing drivers, and the other with world-cup rugby teams, both sports put great strain on participant’s backs, causing extreme pain and injury. 

They had come together to combine their knowledge, skills and expertise, creating an on-line platform which comprised of videos demonstrating techniques and simple practices that people could do in their own home to help alleviate and overcome back pain. This was offered as a stand-alone service, and also in support of in-person treatments with practitioners who they had trained, who were providing their services throughout the UK. 

We were shown a video in which both men shared the story of their work, and then each of them demonstrated different techniques wearing the clothes they worked in – sweat pants and T-shirts. Immediately on the video finishing, one woman said: “Those Men Can’t Wear Those Clothes, They Need to Look a Lot Smarter, They Need to Wear White Coats, That Will Make Them Look Smarter.”

I felt sick in my stomach hearing those words. and a voice in my head was screaming: NO, PLEASE STOP! STOP OBJECTIFYING. As women we don’t want to be objectified, what then makes it OK to objectify men? 

While everything going on in my head was causing me to feel sickened and enraged, I wanted to express this in a way that demonstrated my thinking, without alienating the rest of the group. In my mind I asked myself what I could say in this moment that would allow me to express that I think what is going on is the objectification of men, and that I’m not OK with that. The self-feedback that came to me in that moment was that I could do this by simply bringing it back to what the woman had said about the clothes they should be wearing, and then try to move it on from there.

I said: “For me, white coats would make it very clinical. The clothes they’re wearing actually demonstrate to me that they know their work, and they know what’s needed in order for them to be comfortable in being able to move in carrying out their work.” I went on to say how the best treatment I’d had was from a woman who was dressed in clothes similar to both men, which allowed her to really get stuck in – in performing the hands-on treatment, which enabled me to walk out of her surgery upright and free of pain; and how this differed from seeing practitioners who wore white coats, which reflected the clinical approach of their treatment – which was hands off, apart from a little poking and prodding, and was totally ineffective.

I then said how to me the stories both men shared demonstrated their skills and expertise, along with their passion, and that was what impressed me most.

I wanted to bring the conversation back to what the facilitator had told us that the men hoped to get from this focus group discussion, which was: Do we think the platform they’re creating is something people would use, something people find helpful, and something people would pay for.

So I shared my story of how I first began to overcome my back pain.

Book Wisdom

It was long before YouTube or on-line video platforms, when in a search for what I could do myself to overcome my back pain I discovered the book: Body Learning – An Introduction to the Alexander Technique by Michael J. Gelb. The book gave me insights into how the Alexander Technique helps maintain the health and efficiency of the human body, by putting us in touch with our body, and giving us a way of deepening our perceptions and well-being. The approach it took in teaching the techniques was simple. For example, “Allow the neck to be free to let the head go forward and up so that the back may lengthen and widen”, was a direction I remembered. I went on to say that over time and over the years I discovered video demonstrations of the Alexander Technique, which I found to be really helpful, and what the men were proposing with the service they were developing was in a way similar to what I’d discovered with the Alexander Technique demonstrations, and so I believed there was scope for their idea.

My approach worked in bringing the conversation away from objectifying the men by the clothes they were wearing, to the techniques they were demonstrating, and considering how beneficial the platform they’re creating could be to people – would people use it? would people find it helpful? and is it something people would pay for?

Sage Wisdom

All of the women began to share their experiences, which was in effect Sage Wisdom. They shared their discoveries in being able to manage their back pain, many of which were video tutorials – tips and techniques, along with support being offered by local GPs and the NHS (National Health Service), health and sports centres, organisations for  employees. They talked about ways in which these men could work with GPs, the NHS, health and sports centres, and organisations, by way of offering their services to reach wider audiences. 

Epilogue

As the group was nearing the end, the facilitator said she’d just pop next door to ask if there were any further questions from the clients – who had been observing from the room next door! She wasn’t explicit in letting us know who was observing at the beginning of the session. She now explained this was because the men wanted to get our feedback based on what we really thought – rather than what we thought they wanted to hear, which might have been the case had we known they were observing. However she had told us at the beginning that as it was a focus group, and we were in a viewing facility, there were people observing, and our conversation was also being recorded – this was to ensure that everything we said was captured, allowing her to facilitate the discussion without having to make notes. She came back in with both men, who laughingly asked: “So what can we wear that will make us look smart?” They had taken what had been said in a good-natured way, and while I don’t think they wanted to get across any underlying message with  that question, that is exactly what they achieved. As I left the building with the other women, the woman who had said those words said how mortified she was in saying what she said. She hadn’t meant to objectify the men by the clothes they were wearing, but now recognised that’s exactly what she had done. 

Words of Wisdom

The golden rule is the principle of treating others as you want to be treated. 

Today’s story was about the objectifications of men, last week’s story was about the objectification of women.

Today’s Book of the Blog is: Body Learning – An Introduction to the Alexander Technique by Michael J. Gelb

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associate Programme. This means if you click through and make a purchase through my referral links, I’ll be compensated. Using the links won’t cost you anything extra, and it helps to keep the blog. Thank you.

WorkLife Book Wisdom

The intention of this blog is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride. 

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

The Objectification Of People: Women This Week, By Carmel O’ Reilly

These Women Are Too This, These Women Are Too That, These Women Are Too the Other – These Comments Were in Relation to Age, Size and Colour

The Objectification of People … are people’s stories of the objectification they experienced themselves, or witnessed – of people around them, or of people in society at large. People’s stories of how they objected strongly to the objectification of people, sometimes inside of themselves, causing them to walk away from these people and situations, and other times when they spoke up and spoke out. Stories of how people took the steps they could to stop this objectification of people – how they did this by walking the talk, by never engaging in this practice, by being the change they wanted to see in people, by living their WorkLife true to their values. People’s stories of what they were able to do to make an impact in making it known that this was not a practice they approved of, that this was not a practice that was acceptable, and that this is a practice that everyone had the ability to impact to enable positive change within themselves, their groups, and society at large.

These Women Are Too This, These Women Are Too That, These Women Are Too the Other – These comments were In relation to age, size and colour … I felt sick in my stomach hearing those words …

But let’s back up a little to my story: The Objectification of People Case Study: 

Object To Objectification

I sometimes get asked to take part in focus groups, to be part of a discussion where I give my opinion on products or services, where I share my thinking on things that are happening in the world, from politics to economics and much more in between. 

I was taking part in a focus group discussion about a clothing brand which was looking to reenergise itself, and also to reach different audiences. It was an all-women’s group aged over 50. We were given a homework task before attending, which was to think about what influenced us in the world of clothing: ’influencers’ we were aware of, people who wrote blogs or used social media channels such as Instagram to get their thinking out into the world, brands we liked, who were doing a good job within their industry, magazines we read, commercials we’d seen, anything that had influenced us, things we liked and also things we didn’t like.

During the discussion we were introduced to the brand – which we all recognised as a high-street retail chain. While many of us had shopped there in the past, none of us had shopped there in recent years. This was because we associated it with being for a younger age group.

We were shown their marketing campaign material: posters, TV advertising, their catalogue, their social media platforms, photos, blogs and so on.

The brand wanted to reach women of our age, and the focus group was designed to discover what they needed to do in order to achieve this. In sharing their thoughts and opinions, the women in the group said: These Women Are Too This, These Women Are Too That, These Women Are Too the Other.These comments were in relation to age, size and colour … 

I felt sick in my stomach hearing these words, and a voice in my head was screaming: NO, PLEASE STOP! STOP objectifying women, STOP making it about a woman’s age, her size, the colour of her skin. STOP being part of what has become the norm: the norm of individuals, the norm of groups, the norm of society. STOP being women who objectify women. Just STOP it now.

While everything going on in my head was causing me to feel sickened and enraged, I wanted to express this in a way that demonstrated my thinking, without alienating the rest of the group. In my mind I asked myself what I could say in this moment that would allow me to express that I think what is going on is the objectification of women, and that I’m not OK with that. The self-feedback that came to me in that moment was that I could do this by talking about and sharing the book the homework task had taken me to.

Book Wisdom

The book was Dreaming of Dior by Charlotte Smith. The premise of the book is that every dress tells a story. Smith writes about the inheritance she received from her American Quaker godmother, Doris Darnell. How the boxes started arriving, with more than three thousand pieces dating from 1790 to 1995, from Dior and Chanel originals to a dainty pioneer dress. How it was when she unearthed her godmother’s book of stories, that the true value of what she had been bequeathed hit home. This wasn’t merely a collection of beautiful things, it was a collection of life. Women’s lives. Tiny snapshots of our joys and disappointments, our entrances and exits, triumphant and tragic. 

I shared the story of how I came to discover this book My mum was born in an era when women always dressed up when leaving the house: not for a night on the tiles, but for everyday occasions, such as a trip to the local grocery store. I always remember her looking elegant, and she had a penchant for clothes and accessories. Sadly, towards the end of my mum’s life she developed dementia, which progressed quite rapidly. She had to go into a retirement home as she required round the clock care. As a family we felt we’d lost her: the dementia took away aspects of her personality and parts of her memory. She just wasn’t the same anymore and it was heart-breaking.

When we went to visit, she always knew us, but as soon as we left she wouldn’t remember we’d been there. We also couldn’t have a conversation with her, because she just couldn’t remember things, and she’d become frustrated and agitated. It was too upsetting for her.

My mum had a love of reading, and over the years along with books, she also enjoyed reading fashion magazines. Sadly, she was no longer able to read, and wanting to find a way of spending time with her, I began to think about books I could read to her, which she would enjoy. Thinking about it in terms of what she loved in her life led me to discovering Dreaming of Dior by Charlotte Smith. My mum loved it. She’d listen as I read the stories of the fabulous dresses and their adventures. She looked at the beautiful images of the dresses, which had been illustrated by Grant Cowan – an illustrator who worked on magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and Red Magazine. Our time spent together in this way seemed to have a calming effect on my mum.  She was always less agitated and more relaxed, and my sister would tell me of how she’d show her the book when she visited – she remembered it was in her bedside locker.

I went on to share what I believed to be:

Sage Wisdom

Dresses are about where they take women, where women take their dresses, the adventures they go on together, the experiences and memories they create, which remain within their hearts and minds, and will continue to live on through the stories women tell about their dresses.

Words of Wisdom

“A dress can hold a lifetime of memories for a woman.” Charlotte Smith

Epilogue

While I have no way of knowing the impact my words, my thinking, or the story I shared had on the brand’s marketing campaign, it did have an impact on the women in the room, as they each began sharing stories of dresses they had been on an adventure with: a dress they wore on a special date, a dress they wore to an event which they had a fond memory of, a dress they wore when they were travelling and exploring new and different places. My story took the conversation away from objectifying women by their age, size or colour of their skin, to sharing stories that were meaningful to each woman in the room.

Today’s story was about the objectification of women. Next week’s story is about the objectification of men.

Todays Book of the Blog is: Dreaming of Dior by Charlotte Smith

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associate Programme. This means if you click through and make a purchase through my referral links, I’ll be compensated. Using the links won’t cost you anything extra, and it helps to keep the blog. Thank you.

WorkLife Book Wisdom

The intention of this blog is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride. 

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

You’re Not Generic, So Why Act That Way? By Carmel O’ Reilly

Has someone ever said something to you, which you knew to be true; something you wanted to change, but you didn’t know how; or something was holding you back, maybe you didn’t have the courage to do what you wanted, and needed to do.

You’re Not Generic, So Why Act That Way? Is part of a series of people’s stories of when they received feedback that cut to the chase. Feedback that in their heart of hearts they knew to be true, but yet they stopped short from making the changes needed.

You’re Not Generic, So Why Act That Way?

These words hit home for Chloe, she knew they were true. What she didn’t know was what to do about them.

But let’s back up a little to Chloe’s Story: You’re Not Generic, So Why Act That Way? Feedback Case Study:

You’re Not Generic So Why Act That Way?

Chloe was a Graphic Designer. Her intuitive ability to come up with ideas and her passion for excellence led her to become an influential and sought after designer. But somewhere along the way, something changed, but she didn’t know what, and without knowing the what, she was struggling to know what to do.

So, when her boss Ava said to her: You’re Not Generic, So Why Act That Way?  These words hit home for Chloe. She knew they were true. What she didn’t know was what to do about them.

Sage Wisdom

Chloe met with Harry, a longtime friend and mentor, who always had a wise way of looking at and seeing things. He immediately asked Chloe the question she had been struggling with: “What’s changed?” Chloe still couldn’t answer. As much as she knew something had changed, she still couldn’t pinpoint what it was, or when it happened. 

Harry suggested this was the question she needed to reflect upon. This was the question that would allow her to give herself the self-feedback she needed to be able to know what to do. He went on to suggest a book that might give her the clarity and insight she needed to be able to answer this question. 

Book Wisdom

The book was: How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman

“In the book Millman has gathered astonishingly frank revelations from acclaimed designers. Anyone who struggles daily to create great work will be inspired and encouraged by these intimate glimpses into remarkable minds.” This praise for the book from Joyce Rutter Kaye (Editor-in-chief, Print magazine) spoke to Chloe, as did the stories in the book.

Vaughan Oliver in particular gave voice and words to what Chloe was feeling: “I would like to get back my love for graphic design, because I think I’ve lost it.” His story resonated with Chloe. He spoke about how he can get stuck in his mind, and how when that happens his anxiety increases, how his self-doubt creeps in. In answer to Millman’s question: “Do you have a lot of feelings of self-doubt?” He answered: “Oh, don’t we always, us creative people? Sometimes you’re on top of the world, and other days you feel worthless and wonder what you’ve done and what you’re doing.”

His response to Millman’s question of what he does when that happens, to crawl out, also resonated with Chloe. He said: “Quite simply, I go for a walk.” 

Millman asked if he thought that self-doubt helps the creative process in some way. He said not his, and that in times past when he had deadlines every day, when he was doing a lot of work and there was a lot of activity around him, and the deadlines were relentless, the creativity was also relentless. There was no time for self-doubt. 

He went on to talk about the change in the industry – both technological and cultural changes that have caused disempowerment, and it’s the disempowerment that fuels self-doubt. He said there’s lack of rebelliousness and surprise in the industry right now; and went on to say he no longer has the satisfaction at the end of the day, of a day’s work well done.

Everything he said resonated with Chloe. She had found her answer to the question: What’s Changed? It was an answer that went deeper and wider than she had realised, and it was painful. But she knew it was what she needed to be able to move on. She didn’t know if she would be able to get her love for graphic design back, at least not with how things currently stood within her industry, but what she did know, was what she needed to seek out in order to try to get that love back, and for now this was enough. 

Epilogue

While Chloe has yet to get her love of graphic design back, she has gotten away from being generic. She’s done that by bringing her point of view to the work. Her point of view was always what was unique and distinct about her, but the self-doubt that had crept in had somehow caused her to shift away from who she was. She figured she had nothing to lose in speaking her mind, and she hopes this will also help in getting her love of graphic design back. 

Words of Wisdom

“To me, success is not about money, it’s about what I design. If I get up every day with the optimism that I have the capacity for growth, then that’s success for me”. Paula Scher

Today’s Book Of The Blog is: How To Think Like A Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman 

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associate Programme. This means if you click through and make a purchase through my referral links I’ll be compensated. Using the links won’t cost you anything extra, and it helps to keep the blog. Thank you.

WorkLife Book Wisdom

The intention of this blog is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride. 

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

Everything Is Riding On This … We’re Relying On You … By Carmel O’ Reilly

The Future Of The Company Is Hanging On This, You’ve Got Three Minutes To Win Them Over Matt …

Have there been times in your WorkLife when you’ve had to pitch yourself or your ideas, when there was a lot riding on it, maybe it was in an interview, or presentation, or you had to sell your idea to your team, your board or an investor …

Everything Is Riding On This … We’re Relying On You …  are people’s stories of when they had to deliver the pitch of their life, when their WorkLives and their future depended on it. When the stakes were high, and there was a lot to win or to lose …

The Future Of The Company Is Hanging On This, You’ve Got Three Minutes To Win Them Over Matt …

Matt, a man of few words at the best of times, was at a total loss of words on hearing this. 

But let’s back up a little to Matt’s Story: Everything Is Riding On This … We’re Relying On You … Case Study:

You’ve Got Three Minutes To Win Them Over

Matt worked in accounting at an advertising agency. In the last year he had somehow gone from reluctant speaker to the key speaker at this sales pitch. Through a process of self-coaching, self-directing and self-leadership he had transformed his presentations from boring snoring to interesting and engaging. This was no mean feat considering his subject matter was numbers, doubled with the fact that Matt had begun from a place where people’s eyes would glaze over, followed by the earliest possible exits as soon as he began his presentation. He had gone from being invisible to suddenly being in the spotlight – or rather about to be under the spotlight!

SAGE WISDOM

Being an accountant Matt was quite a logical thinker. He was also quite wise, and so he  turned to his inner sage for wisdom, posing the question: What do I need to know and what do I need to do in this situation? 

The self-feedback that came to him was:

  • I need to create the experience in people’s minds of the experience I’m trying to share;
  • I need them to know why it matters;
  • I need them to know the powerful impact this can have.

BOOK WISDOM 

Although Matt was a man of few words, he did have a love of words, and a passion for reading. Books were his go to place when he needed stimulation for his ideas, his thinking and his challenges. Matt’s search for the book to help him in this situation brought him to: Ted Talks by Chris Anderson.

The guidance he received was:

  • When tackling tough topics, the structure of these is typically to lay out a series of facts that illustrate how awful a situation is and why something must be done to fix it – that can be emotionally exhausting – route around that – first step is to think of your talk not as being about an issue, but about an idea;
  • an issue-based talk leads with morality, an idea-based talk leads with curiosity; 
  • an issue exposes a problem, an idea proposes a solution;
  • an issue says isn’t this terrible, an idea says isn’t this interesting;
  • it’s much easier to pull in an audience by framing the talk as an attempt to solve an intriguing idea, rather than as a plea for them to care. The first feels like a gift is being offered the second feels like an ask.

This is Matt’s Pitch:

“There’s an old myth about Picasso sitting at a cafe in Paris when a woman recognised him and asked him if he would draw up a quick piece on a napkin for her. Humouring her, he agreed.

“That would be $1 million,” he told her, once he was done. Confused and taken aback, she pointed out that it had taken him only 30 seconds to draw. He responded: “No, my dear woman, you are mistaken. It took me 30 years to draw that in 30 seconds.”

Imagine, if you will, hanging out in a cafe where the world’s most accomplished people converge, influential artists, thought leaders, experts in their fields. I’d like you to picture it in your mind, as you sit over coffee observing, watching the masters at work. As they converse, you capture their wisdom, through the knowledge they’re sharing, the stories they’re telling of their WorkLife experiences, the skills they’re teaching – learnt through years of blood, sweat, and maybe even tears. You watch 30-second demonstrations of work that has taken 30 years to master.

Now imagine, if you will, a gift. I’d like you to picture it in your mind, it’s quite abstract. So, envision what it looks like all wrapped up. But before I show you what’s inside, I will tell you, it’s the gift that has the power to do incredible things for everyone who opens it. It’s the gift that has the power to challenge, inspire and motivate. It’s the gift that has the power to bring new meaning to life, and to change lives. 

You see, this is the gift of knowledge, the gift of the most brilliant of minds coming together. 

Why? Because these brilliant people believe in the power of the gift of knowledge. They believe in the power of knowledge sharing. They believe in the potential of this gift, the potential to reach millions of people throughout the cafes of the world. 

By now I know you’re dying to know where these cafes are, and is there a waiting list to get in?  And how much does it cost people to drink coffee at such elite establishments?

The Answer:

These cafes are wherever people want them to be:

Their own homes, their workplaces, their local cafes, or a cafe in Paris, indeed a cafe from wherever they are in the world.

You see, the power of technology is bringing these brilliant people together to a cafe in cyber space. A cafe where people can go, at any time, when they want to hang out in a place where the world’s most accomplished people converge.

And is there a waiting list? 

No, there’s no waiting list, instead there’s a membership that allows people access to this elite establishment.

And the cost to people? 

£15 monthly membership – much less than the cost of a coffee a day. 

How much will it cost you?

The seed-capital investment we need to bring this cafe to millions of people is £250,000.  

And that’s an incredible deal. Why? Because this is the gift that keeps on giving. 

What do you get in return? 

20% share in this venture, together with the sense of accomplishment that comes from enabling the greatest gift that exists, to be shared. The gift of knowledge. 

Thank you.”

EPILOGUE

Matt’s pitch was good enough to pique people’s interest. There were questions, which he and the rest of his team answered. Offers were made, which led to discussions and negotiations, which resulted in the partnership the company needed being formed, to ultimately bring their idea to life, and to the lives of people in cafes throughout the world.

WORDS OF WISDOM

When presenting an idea, flesh out each point with real examples, stories and facts. This is how ideas that you cherish can be built in someone else’s mind. 

TODAY’S BOOK OF THE BLOG Ted Talks By Chris Anderson

You can read Matt’s origin story: His Journey To And His Discovery Of His Ability To Self: Coach Direct And Lead and how he used the other side of being a loner – being extremely self-sufficient to go from a man of few words, to a man whose words captured his audiences in my book: Your WorkLife Your Way: Make Your WorkLife Work For You. 

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associate Programme. This means if you click through and make a purchase through my referral links I’ll be compensated. Using the links won’t cost you anything extra, and it helps to keep the blog. Thank you.

WorkLife Book Wisdom

The intention of this blog is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride. 

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

Your Inner Saboteurs … By Carmel O’ Reilly

“I am so disgusted by your inability to hear the truth that people are telling you, I can’t even sit next to you anymore …”

Have your inner saboteurs ever caused people to react negatively towards you? Distance themselves from you? Choose not to spend time in your company, or at least as little as they can feasibly get away with …

Your Inner Saboteurs … are people’s stories of when their inner saboteurs caused problems for them, leading them to get in their own way, and to be their own worst enemy. Stories of when their inner saboteurs prevented them from reaching their potential, resulting in them badly messing up, and at best stopping themselves from having the impact they could have, or at worst derailing their WorkLives…

“I am so disgusted by your inability to hear the truth that people are telling you, I can’t even sit next to you any more …” There was something in the moment of that passionate truth telling, which caused Luke to have the sickening realisation that what everyone was saying was right.

But let’s back up a little to Luke’s story: An Inner Saboteurs Case Study:

Your Inner Saboteurs

It was the weekly project meeting at the health insurance company where Luke was Managing Director. Everyone on the team was required to bring their colleagues up to speed with where they were at with their role and responsibilities on the project: what was going well; challenges being faced; and support needed.

Just as Luke was about to bring the meeting to a close, Marc nervously began to speak, in a voice that was shaking.  He addressed Luke, saying; “It’s really hard for me to say this Luke, but I’ve got to tell you, in every meeting I feel harshly judged by you, and it really bothers me.” Luke was a little irked, and he had another meeting to go on to. Thinking on his feet, he said to himself: “I can’t give this any air time, I need to shut it down, I really don’t have the time for this”. Turning to Marc he said: “Marc, thank you so much for giving me this feedback, this is really helpful feedback, I’ll certainly take it on board.” While saying this, in the back of his mind he was thinking: “Of course you feel judged by me, you idiot, you’re the biggest loser in this group, how else do you expect me to think about you?”

He was about to stand up when Abigail said: “Marc telling you that gives me the courage to tell you I also feel harshly judged by you, Luke, and often I’m really bothered by that.” In his head Luke thought: “Not another one!, I really do need to nip this in the bud.” He turned to Abigail and I said: “Abigail, thank you so much for giving me this feedback, it’s very helpful feedback, and I’ll certainly take it on board.”

In the back of his mind he was thinking: “Abigail, have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately? I mean come on give me a break, don’t blame your insecurities on me, go get a life.”

Then a third and a fourth person gave him the exact same feedback.

He kept thanking them, but with an arrogant denial going on in his head, he was thinking: “It’s amazing how these guys are lining up based on the first biggest loser, then the second biggest loser, then the third biggest loser in the group, trying to justify their insecurities on me.”

Then Charles, who was perhaps the one person on the team who Luke admired and respected, and who was sitting to next to him, stood up in disgust, took a seat across the table from him and said: “I am so disgusted by your inability to hear the truth that people are telling you, I can’t even sit next to you anymore.” He then stood up and walked out of the room, and the rest of the team followed.

There was something in the moment of that passionate truth telling which caused Luke to have the sickening realisation that what everyone was saying was right. He got up and walked to Charles’s office.

Charles glanced up at Luke as he entered, and said: “I’m that angry at you. I have always felt judged by you too, not negatively – positively, the moment you met me you put me in a box, you put me on a pedestal, you’ve never really seen me for who I am. The way in which you judge people is intimidating in meetings. It causes people to shut down, or not to open up in the first place. You’re sabotaging your relationships, and team morale is suffering as a result. The air of judgement that you portray, reveals you for who you are and what you’re really thinking. People deserve better.”

Sage Wisdom 

Charles went on to say to Luke: “You need to develop your self-awareness of what it is that’s going on within you, within your mind, that’s causing you to sabotage yourself, because that’s what happening here. That air of judgement that you portray is self-sabotage.”

“You’re not alone in having inner saboteurs, everyone has these guys messing with them, it’s a universal thing. Once you know what your inner saboteurs are, you can manage them, and they won’t take you down. To do this you need to practice mental fitness, this will allow you to make the shift you need away from your saboteur.” 

Charles’s parting words to Luke as he indicated their conversation was over, was that he should read The Actor and the Target by Declan Donnellan.

Luke was puzzled by Charles’s book recommendation. He knew he had a need to instantly judge people, to size them up and then put them in a box. What he hadn’t known was how obvious he had been in doing this. He had actually thought he was good at hiding it. Was Charles suggesting he needed to learn acting skills? If so, this struck Luke as being odd, but he felt there must be more to it. Because he admired and respected Charles he believed the words of wisdom he had imparted was a gift. He just wasn’t sure what it was a gift for, but he was determined to find out.

Picking up a copy of the book he was immediately drawn to the recommendations: “The Actor and the Target is no more for actors only than The Art of War is reserved for Warriors”(Los Angeles Times) and “Hugely practical and never gets lost in theory. On the contrary, it distils its principles from life itself” (El Pais).

Luke asked himself: “How do I pull myself out of the hole, I’ve gotten myself in?”

BOOK WISDOM 

The Actor and the Target allowed Luke to give himself the following self-feedback: 

  • In his need to instantly judge people he wasn’t actually seeing them, he was in fact imagining them to make them fit to his pre-judgement;
  • Instead of discovering who people were, his perception of them already existed, again to make them fit to his pre-judgement.

The learning Luke was taking from the book, was that the people in the meeting were his target, and the target (people) cannot be a generalisation. The target (people) cannot be put in a box. The target (people) is always transforming, but Luke was blinded to this because of his pre-judgement of his target (people). Even worse, his pre-judgement was stealing energy from the target (people), he was taking power away from the target (people), resulting in at best blocking them, and at worse paralysing them. In doing so, he was allowing his Judgement – his Inner Saboteur to block himself – in being able to see people for who they really were, and his self-paralysis was blinding himself to people, resulting in destroying his relationship with the target (people). 

Epilogue

Luke began his challenge to overcome his Judgement Inner Saboteur by paying attention to his target (people) in meetings. He learnt attention has to be given, and it can’t be controlled. There was nothing he could manufacture within himself. Instead all he could do was to see things, and to pay attention. This simple shift in his behaviour gave the target (people) the freedom to surprise him, and gave him the freedom to be surprised. He was able to see the target (people) differently from what he had expected. The simple act of paying attention allowed him to switch off his Judgement Inner Saboteur. He was in effect giving himself the choice to be in the present, and in so doing dispelling judgement which manifested itself from past or future conceptions or misconceptions.  

Words of Wisdom

Your mind can be your best friend, and it can also be your worst enemy. Saboteurs create a lot of lies, and you need to be mindful of who’s doing the talking in your head. By naming your saboteurs as your enemy and the voice of folly, rather than trusting them as your friend and the voice of wisdom, they lose their credibility and power.

Todays Book of the Blog is: The Actor and the Target

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associate Programme. This means if you click through and make a purchase through my referral links I’ll be compensated. Using the links won’t cost you anything extra, and it helps to keep the blog. Thank you.

WorkLife Book Wisdom

The intention of this blog is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride. 

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

How A Disease Gave Me Purpose … By Carmel O’ Reilly

I’m sorry but you have gangrene, both your legs need to be amputated from the knee down 

How a disease gave me purpose are people’s stories of how a disease, illness or accident totally altered their lives, how their WorkLife paths were completely taken off track, how they navigated their long road to recovery, and how ultimately they came through the other side with a strong sense of purpose. 

I’m sorry but you have gangrene, both your legs need to be amputated from the knee down 

Jason listened to these words in complete disbelief and horror. 

But let’s back up a little to Jason’s Story: How A Disease Gave Me Purpose: Case Study

Happiness Is A Walk In The Park

Jason worked in events, a job which he really loved; and he was also a drummer in a band, which fulfilled his passion for music. He was married with two young daughters and life was pretty good. That was until Jason caught what he thought was the flu.  He had a lot of aches and pains, and was feeling really rundown. 

Then one day he collapsed at work and was taken to hospital. Examinations were made and blood tests were taken, the results of which led to those distressing words from Jason’s Doctor: “I’m sorry but you have gangrene, both your legs need to be amputated from the knee down.”

Jason listened to these words in complete disbelief and horror. As you can appreciate the road to recovery was long and hard from both a physical and emotional perspective for Jason. 

Jason’s illness had a devastating effect on his life. It meant he could no longer work in his chosen field of events. This was because he could no longer cope with the physical element of setting up events, which was a major part of his role and what he enjoyed. He also had to give up his drumming because he needed a sense of rhythm in his foot tapping to ‘feel the music’, and he no longer had that.

Jason had to have robotic limb replacements. He then spent months in rehabilitation learning to walk again. While in rehab he became friendly with Zeb, who shared with him the following:

SAGE WISDOM

Zeb was a military veteran.  He had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. During his last tour, he had come under attack while driving, causing his car to go out of control. He was pulled from the burning inferno, but sadly suffered severe burns to his face and body. 

On sharing his story with Jason, Zeb told him how what had happened had over time given him his purpose in his WorkLife. He said how it felt like all the stars had aligned the day he had the realisation that he could use everything he’d been through in his life to build something that would help other people realise that a disease, illness or accident, while life-changing, is not life-ending. He did this by sharing his story, then asking people who had also experienced life-changing events through a disease, illness or accident to tell their stories at the WorkLife Changing Events he ran.

Zeb went on to say, that looking back he couldn’t imagine where he’d be now, if he hadn’t gone through everything he did, saying that all of the challenges he’d been through had helped to determine his purpose, which led him to the WorkLife he’s living today. He said he’s passionate about what he does, and that he discovered he has an ability to make a positive impact to the lives of the people he connects with. 

BOOK WISDOM 

Zeb gave Jason the book: Life is Good by Bert and John Jacobs. Through simple life lessons, the brothers illuminate ten key “superpowers” accessible to everyone: openness, courage, simplicity, humour, gratitude, fun, compassion, creativity, authenticity and love. Their story shows how to overcome obstacles and embrace opportunity. Jason found the book moving, entertaining and profound. It became his guide for embracing and growing the good in his life. 

As Jason recovered, his determination to become agile and to build a good level of health and fitness pushed him to walk more and more. He had a love of the outdoors, and as soon as he could he ventured to his nearby park, and slowly he built up his walking ability. With that came a renewed zest for life. He spent as much time as he could with his wife and daughters in the wonderful parks of London, many of which were on his doorstep. He had plenty of time on his hands, and was determined to make the most of it, and indeed make up for the time he had lost during his illness.

He was considering his next career, and although uncertain initially what this would actually be, he began to think of it in terms of what he loved doing and what was important to him. He did a lot of his thinking when he was in the park, spending time with his wife, playing with his girls or just walking in nature maintaining his health and fitness routine. He got to know the people working in the park and talked to them about their careers. These conversations led him to become a volunteer with responsibility for maintaining the upkeep of the park. Although he had no specific experience in doing this, he quickly grew to love what he was doing, and became more and more interested in the horticultural side of things.

One of the park horticulturalists noticed Jason’s natural ability in the work he was doing and spoke to him about the internship programme they ran each year, suggesting he apply for it. This is exactly was Jason did, and he was successful in securing a place on the programme. He is now developing his new career in horticulture.

Words Of Wisdom

“Life is not easy. Life is not perfect. Life is good.” Bert and John Jacobs

Epilogue 

Jason now tells his story at Zeb’s WorkLife Changing Events. To help shape his talk he asked himself: “What legacy or reputation do I want to leave behind? Through self-feedback that came from the answer he developed what he calls his WorkLife Slogan:

Happiness is a walk in the park.

“For me this sums up everything that’s important to me, my love of walking in nature, playing with my girls, walking hand in hand with my wife, walking alone with my thoughts, all the time maintaining my fitness and well-being. Recognising the positive impact of simply being in the park, being at one with nature has for me and my family and wanting to play a part in contributing to creating that impact for other people too. While also playing my part in helping the environment through my work. This is my way of giving back or giving forward, this is the legacy I want to leave behind, this is what I want to be remembered for. “

Today’s Book Of The Blog is: Life is Good by Bert and John Jacobs

You can read Jason’s Turning Point Story: Overcoming A Significant Challenge, and learn how he developed his WorkLife Story and WorkLife Slogan in my book: Your WorkLife Your Way: Make Your WorkLife Work For You

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associate Programme. This means if you click through and make a purchase through my referral links I’ll be compensated. Using the links won’t cost you anything extra, and it helps to keep the blog. Thank you.

WorkLife Book Wisdom

The intention of this blog is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride. 

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.