Archives for posts with tag: Questions

I’ve broken lots of ‘rules’.

I’ve not stuck to one job since leaving school. I’m paring down my possessions to only my most loved / most useful / most used. I don’t go shopping for the sake of shopping…

I’ve trained, retrained, started a business, stopped a business, started another one, trained again, had numerous jobs and contracts…

I’ve followed passions. I’ve read books and watched movies when work deadlines were looming. I’ve walked kilometres just for the hell of it. I’ve left the house to dance without doing the dishes first. I rarely make my bed in the morning…

Hardly the poster-child of obedience!

In his post “Confusing obedience with self-control” Seth Godin points out the danger of being obedient:

“We organize our schools around obedience. Tests, comportment, the very structure of the day is about training young people to follow instructions.

We organize our companies around obedience as well. From the resume we use to hire to the training programs to the annual budgets, revenue targets and reviews we create, the model employee is someone who does what he’s told.”

I don’t believe I’m the most self-controlled person around (especially when it comes to potato chips and chocolate!) but I’m doing my best to be more aware of when I’m unconsciously obedient, when it may not actually be beneficial to me.

According to Seth,

“Self-control is without a doubt one of the building blocks of success, a key element of any career worth talking about. We need self-control if we’re going to make a difference.”

Is self-control the difference between doing what’s important instead of just the urgent?

Each time I scoot through the supermarket checkout the staff member behind the till asks me “So are you having a busy day?”.

This puzzles me. Why has this question become a stock-standard rapport-building, time-of-day-passing, anything-but-the-weather topic?

When did ‘being busy’ become a marker for a successful day? An important day? A day well lived?

I don’t actually want to be busy.

I want to be cruisy, yet productive.

Hmmm… on second thoughts, some days don’t even need to be productive. Unless I include relaxation, mental health, contentment and peace into the ‘productive’ category.

How about you? Are you busy?

Answer me this: what percentage of secondary school students do you believe are bored by their weekday routine?

  • If students are bored, they’re unmotivated to be in class.
  • If they’re unmotivated to be in class, they will never rush to get out of bed and into their day.
  • If they’re uninspired by their day, will they enthusiastically follow their passion?
  • And if they don’t follow their passion, are they destined to hate their eventual employment, joining the burgeoning mass of ‘I would rather be anywhere than here’ workers?

Seth Godin raises a great question in this post:

“Here’s the question every parent and taxpayer needs to wrestle with: Are we going to applaud, push or even permit our schools (including most of the private ones) to continue the safe but ultimately doomed strategy of churning out predictable, testable and mediocre factory-workers?”

…and he finishes with:

“The post-industrial revolution is here. Do you care enough to teach your kids to take advantage of it?”

What do you reckon? Is a no-longer-relevant system (with an output of ‘bored kids’) a contributing factor for tagging, shoplifting, unemployment, suicide, violence…?

What will it take for the system to change?

A new acquaintance asked me today what it is I do for a living.

I struggled to answer.

Fumbling and mumbling and stuttering I tried to explain how “I can coach people, and deliver development workshops and training, give after-dinner speeches, act as a master of ceremonies for conferences and sometimes I help small businesses with their marketing communication or where-to-from-here strategy thinking, and can run team-building-with-impact programmes… oh, and I have executive board experience and have been interviewed on TV and my writing has been published in books, magazines, newpapers and online.”

Not exactly a succinct reply, huh? I was embarrassed at how wishy-washy and muddled I was sounding. Granted it was a Sunday, but even so!

Trying to escape, I bounced the question back at him.

“I’m a family lawyer,” he said.

Oh. Four words and I ‘get’ what he does. Nicely labelled, fitting perfectly in the box called ‘law’.

I’ve tried in the past to tell people what solution I provide: “I help parents and teens get on better” or “I move people closer to their potential” or “I help teams understand how their diversity can actually be a strength.” But it’s still a bit vague, non-concrete, fuzzy.

As much as I love doing lots of different things and having skills in a wide range of areas, today I wish I could – in one breath – explain ‘what’ I do.

Or at least get closer to describing the value I provide.

<sigh>

My friend gave me a ride to the airport this morning – I’m off to Wellington for a weekend Scout meeting.

As we pulled in to the drop-off area, I asked if it felt weird coming to the airport only to have to pass through and go to work for the day?

“It would be really nice to hop on a plane and go somewhere,” was the response.

Whilst my trip is hardly ‘exotic’ and has been quite regular over the last few years, it got me thinking…

Where would you fly to if I handed you an open ticket to anywhere?

And why?

 

Last night I crewed for a function venue, hosting a high school senior formal. It was a great event – the teenagers all dressing to impress, dancing to toe-tapping music, a yummy supper and endless non-alcoholic drinks.

For the 5.5 hours I worked serving drinks and clearing tables I will receive $15 per hour.

This afternoon I caught up with some good friends, one of whom is struggling with the classic ‘what career path shall I follow?’ question.

They shouted me a hot chocolate and we chatted for nearly two hours. I’m pretty sure they enjoyed the time as much as I did, and the questions I posed (and information I shared) have the potential to be life-changing. They left fizzing.

I know I provide more value than $15 per hour. My question to myself therefore, is why do I find it so difficult to put a significantly higher dollar value on something that comes naturally to me and is fun to do?

  • Is it a belief that I can’t have fun and earn money at the same time?
  • Is it a fear that a client might choke at my invoice and think I’m an extortionist?
  • Could it be the idea that by charging I am locking myself into the field/profession/job, where in fact I want to be able to turn my hand to lots of different roles?
  • Do I not fully appreciate the value I deliver and think it’s not actually worth much?

Have you ever found yourself in this situation? Do you find yourself questioning what you do and why you do it?

What are your thoughts on the value you provide?

When I first looked at my pile of possessions stacked up in my brother’s house (after ending my trek) I thought “Jeepers, there’s tonnes of stuff here! What am I going to do with it all?”

I started digging through the boxes to find some items I wanted to use again – like my shaving brush, and other clothes besides my tramping gear, different footwear, a journal and two text books. I then realised that compared to many folk, I actually own very little. Yet, a vast amount of those items I haven’t used for a long time, don’t need at all or are just waiting until I work out what life has in store for me next.

A friend of mine has one back-pack of possessions. He likes the freedom it provides.

Part of me finds that concept very, very appealing. Especially since (as this video shows) the way the world deals with ‘stuff’ has to change some time soon.

I’ve always enjoyed following the 100 Things Challenge. I’ve pondered at times what are the key items that I a) use and b) love. But because my life is so varied, how would I narrow it down to ‘less than I have now’? After all, I have gear for:

  • Tramping and cold weekends on camp
  • ‘Professional moments’ like shirts and suit coats and ties (though I proclaim to have an allergy to ties…mwah-haha!)
  • Tennis and yoga and dancing
  • Presenting and running training courses
  • Business – admin/office items and accounting records
  • Scout uniforms and souvenirs and resources
  • Not to mention table and chairs (far bigger than I need), a small sofa, bookcase, stereo, etc

I’m keen to keep life simple. I suspect ‘less stuff’ is going to feature in that plan.