...and now, a very happy one year birthday to the Occupational Adventure blog! I'd like to give a huge and hearty thanks to all of you who have been along for the ride.
I would especially like to thank the two people who are responsible for my starting this blog to begin with - Lori Richardson, who organized a FastCompany magazine Company of Friends meeting on blogging and convinced me to come, and John Porcaro, whose insights on blogging that night started the gears spinning.
It has been an incredible ride thus far. It's given me a vehicle to learn and explore my ideas further, to make some great connections, and to get the word out about my ideas and what I'm doing.
Last but not remotely least, it has given me the opportunity to consistently throw pebbles in the pond to create that ripple effect of positive change.
Some of the business successes that have come in relation to my blog (and my interaction on others' blogs):
* An article in the premiere issue of Worthwhile magazine (on the newsstands in mid-October).
* Being listed in Seth Godin's e-book Bull Market 2004 as a blog worth a read.
* Several new clients around North America.
* A passion workshop with a company in Chicago.
* Several contacts initiated by journalists who found me via my blog (e.g., Jean Chatzky at Money magazine, and a journalist who is writing a story that will be coming out on Monster.com / CareerBuilder).
* Broad exposure: Links from blogs such as FastCompany, Worthwhile, Monster.com'sThe Monster Blog, The Boston Globe's Job Blog, Rebecca Blood's blog, and more.
* Great feedback from "beta testers" around the world on an online course I am developing.
It has been interesting to watch it unfold, and a great lesson in "letting the process happen." When I wrote my first post, I had no idea what the blog was going to look like, or what I was going to write about (other than a very general notion that it would be passion-related, of course). I had literally no clue about blogging. I decided to simply follow it and see where it would take me.
Now here's an interview with Kroth. I love what he has to say on management and meaning.
Kroth: Good leaders are really meaning makers. Their job is to find out what is meaningful to each person on their team and then try to match the work to that meaning. Of course, you also need to hire people who will find some aspect of real estate sales meaningful.
RMO: How do you know what's meaningful to an individual?
Kroth: First, just ask them. Make it part of each person's annual business planning or performance review. Ask them what part of the plan or the job is most meaningful to them. Often managers assume that's what's meaningful to them is meaningful to others...
Do you ever find yourself setting out to do something and nearly freezing up because you're so focused on "getting it right" (or on not getting it wrong)? If you do, you're not alone. It's a huge obstacle I see popping up again and again as people set out to pursue their passions.
The solution, as Timothy Gallwey sees it, is "the inner game." (Gallwey is the author of a series of Inner Game books, such as The Inner Game of Work.)
The idea behind the inner game is pretty simple: By removing inner obstacles such as self-monitoring, you can dramatically improve your ability to focus, learn and perform.
Gallwey originally developed the idea of the inner game teaching tennis, and has gone onto apply it in numerous areas. The article outlines the basic idea:
One of Gallwey's premises is that inside each person are two selves. Self 1 is the critical, fearful, self-doubting voice; for example, the one inside the head of a salesperson that repeats instructions such as: "Stress the benefits. Meet her objections. Don't blow it! Now—close!" Those hectoring admonishments, Gallwey says, hinder the accomplishment of the job by Self 2, which encompasses all the inner resources, potential and actual, of the individual. If you can get Self 1 to be quiet, Gallwey says, Self 2 will not only get the job done better, but also learn effectively sans lectures and instructions.
In other words, it's getting ourselves out of our own way. But how?
Getting Self 1 out of the way so Self 2 can learn and act is actually a fairly straightforward process. One trick is to focus your attention, but not on your performance. That just causes stress and mucks up Self 2. Instead, focus on a critical variable relating to the performance. For instance, Gallwey teaches tennis players to focus on the way an approaching ball is spinning. He tells phone operators to focus on the amount of tension in voices of callers to directory assistance. He taught a symphony tuba player to play better by focusing not on the sound of the notes but on the way the player's tongue felt during a practice session.
How about you? What do you need to focus on so your inner game can shine?
One common complaint I hear is a lack of time for people to pursue their passions. They want to, but life just keeps getting in the way.
Here's an article with an idea for how to whittle down the things that take your time but don't add to your life. It suggests writing three column headers across the top of a page:
Like - Dislike - Ambivalent about
Go through a typical week and list all your activities, placing each of them in one of these three columns. The secret to finding more time lies in the middle column...
What to Do About the Items You Dislike:
Examine the activities you listed under Dislike.
* Go down the list and ask yourself, "Must I do this? And if I must, how can I change this to make it more satisfying or agreeable?"
* Realize it is impossible to get rid of all the disliked items on your list, but do eliminate or transform as many as you can. Be creative.
* Brainstorm about how to rid yourself of these activities.
* Set a timer for ten minutes and list every idea you can think of.
* Try to keep your hand moving. Repeat items if you need to.
Now take one action to eliminate or change a disliked activity. For example, you could get someone else to physically write the mortgage check; you could move; you could write the check while enjoying a massage or eating lobster in the nude; you could write an entire year of mortgage checks, address and stamp the envelopes, and have your secretary or reliable friend mail them each month. . . . See? Some of the ideas are silly, some worth exploring.
I love her blog, so I jumped at the chance to meet her in person and headed downtown to Elliott Bay Books. For those of you in the Seattle area, I recommend heading over to Third Place Books on Monday night and catching her (and a couple of the authors from the book) there. Funny stuff! For those of you outside the Seattle area, you can see where she's going next here.
We ended up grabbing a cup of coffee after the reading, and had a fun, real-life, actual face-to-face conversation. Amazing - life beyond the blogosphere!
At one point the conversation turned to blogging (shocking, I know), and more specifically to wishing we knew who was out there reading. Since I had never made comments on her blog, she had no idea who I was or that I had been reading her blog regularly. We both agreed that we would love to have more people commenting on our posts (though we LOVE the ones that do!).
Interestingly, that was exactly what had brought me to her blog in the first place this morning. I was scratching my head, wondering how I could encourage even more reader participation with comments, when it occurred to me, "Ummmm...Curt? You don't exactly comment much on others' blogs. Maybe that would be a good place to start."
So I started visiting the blogs on my blogroll. When I got to her blog, I saw that she was here in Seattle - and the next thing you know, there we are having coffee.
We are creating The small Change News Network ...because you don't need an organization to change the world, you need connections.
The small Change News Network is for connecting all kinds of small gifts and donations, news of small successes, plans for small improvements, and Little Individual doers in ways that can make a big difference. sCNN invites Active Citizens to share their personal passion, unique gifts, spare time, financial resources, community connections, life skills and experiences -- to make small change happen and big change possible.
The intro to their blog goes on to ask:
- What do you want (for the common good)?
- What do you already have to offer?
- What do you need from some others?
- What are you willing to do with it?
Consider big questions like these. Scribble some answers and post them someplace -- anyplace where old friends, distant colleagues and total strangers can find them and find you. Make some sort of ask or offer. Publish it in a weblog or other site, post it to an email list, tack it up on a bulletin board at school, the grocery or coffeehouse. Invite others to join you in doing the one small thing you know you can do to feed the common good, to make your corner of the world more hospitable for all. And pay attention to what happens next!
The blogosphere seems like a place that is absolutely ripe for this kind of thing to take off. They're taking an openspace approach to it, and inviting any and all to get involved. How?
We need people like you to post your news, projects, progress and gifts. And we need Network Affiliates, organizers and connectors who want to clone this blog, post the logo, copy the Network News roll, and begin to build their own Members News roll.
They have a great list of questions to stimulate your thought - and action.
What Do You Want?
- What is happening in your neighborhood, your school, and the larger world?
- What do you see and hear? ...or smell?
- What are you bumping into and how do you feel about it?
- What should be happening?
- How could the most important issues be addressed or resolved?
- What do you want the solution to look and sound and feel like?
- What is your own dream project?
What Do You Have?
- Who are you and what do you already have going for you?
- Who do you know? Where are you connected?
- What's already working, and why?
- How did you come to care about this issue?
- What gifts, talents, passions, skills and experiences do you bring to this?
- Are you spending your own time and money on making something happen?
- Do you have the funding and need people to work with?
- Who's already supporting this project?
- Who can we contact, as references, to find out more about the good work you've already been doing?
What Do You Need?
- What would it take for you to make a difference?
- Are you looking for partners? Connections? Some funding? A place to meet? Some special sort of expertise?
- What kind of connections and contributions do you need to give your own gifts, and make your own contribution, more fully?
- What kind of support do you need for this project?
What Will You Do?
- What will you do if you get the help you need?
- What are your immediate next steps?
- What results will you produce?
- Where will you report your progress and success stories?
- How will all of this benefit you, your contributors and the situation and people you are wanting to serve?
- What can you promise to this project and anyone else who will join you in it?
Those are some fantastic questions.
One of my favorite things to do is connecting people. Meeting someone and saying, "Oh, you should talk to so-and-so." In fact, one of the elements in my Passion Core is "being a catalyst," part of which is connecting people and watching what happens.
I love the fact that these guys are taking that to a new level with this idea. Talk about multiplier effect potential!
As I've mentioned in previous posts, the idea of "making a difference" as a key passion component keeps finding its way into my mind of late.
In Laurence Boldt's hefty tome Zen and the Art of Making a Living, one of the things I have resisted is his chapter on identifying your purpose. His basic take is that it's about serving. Who do you want to serve? How do you want to serve them? How many do you want to serve? Etc.
I have resisted it because it basically says, "Your purpose is to serve. Period. End of story. Figure out how."
My philosophy is that what makes each person tick - what really lights them up - is very unique and individual. So I'm reluctant to say across the board "making a difference is a part of everybody's Passion Core, so figure out what kind of difference you want to make."
Yet, the more people I work with, and the more people I talk to, the more I wonder if making a difference really is a core, fundamental component that we can say applies to everyone. It comes up consistently, in one flavor or other.
It's been on my mind so much, I thought it might be interesting and fruitful to throw the question out there for discussion. What do you think? Is making a difference fundamental to having a rich, fulfilling, passion-filled career? Is it a key component that everyone shares? What does making a difference mean to you?
We've all got amazingly creative ways to get in our own way when it comes to creating a career that really makes us feel alive. Often, those things are so ingrained that we don't even recognize they're there.
ReSourcing is a rapid process for finding out the inner saboteurs.
If you’re doing this with someone else, you say, “I’m going to begin a sentence, and I’d like you to finish it. Please don’t think about the answer. Just let the answer come from the top of your head.” You then take the issue and turn it into a negative statement.
You say, “What I’m going to say may sound a little bit negative, but just go along with it, if you will. Just finish this sentence, ‘I don’t want to expand my business because…’ Or, ‘I don’t want to do well on that test because…’ ”
The answer might be, “I don’t want to expand my business because I’m afraid I won’t do well.”
And you say, “And I don’t think I’ll do well because…”
The response: “Because I’ve failed before.”
And you say, “And I think it will happen again because….”
Here you get down to the bottom line, the lack of self-worth. You keep the question going and get more and more information until you feel satisfied that you’ve gotten to the bottom of things.
Like so many things, if you're willing to spend a little time digging down below the surface, peeling back the layers of the onion, you'll be amazed what you can find.