This year, 2017, has been a helluva journey. Coaching and being coached. Completing the Landmark Forum in April, the Advance course in June and my first seminar in July. Then cancelling the Self-Expression and Leadership project to take a trip around the UK, stopping in Brighton, Oban, Glasgow and London. I believe that we define ourselves as much as by what we don’t do as by what we choose to do and have.
I took the summer off Facebook. Deleting most of my FB groups including my own was exhilirating, a bit like tearing up old school notebooks for loathsome subjects like Physics.
I realised that I want to cut down drastically on activities that do not bring me joy and prioritise the bringers of joy.
The grind of maintaining an online presence is such a thing. While I loved and continue to love writing, I detest the habit of posting what I am up to and connecting to my friends and loved ones in a way that seems distant, superficial, and inauthentic by design. While I was ill (after the Advance course) I saw the folly of my inauthenticity and I deactivated my account. The FOMO part of my wants to still be on FB but I’m clearly not missing much! I’ve only been back once.
There are other accounts to consider, e.g. LinkedIn and Twitter. However, the former I see as being work-only (although I tend to rebel and post non-work things) and the latter is something I largely ignore anyway.
I love photography – making photos, taking photos, walking around to do so and creating art cards with these photos. I’ve been immersed in creating cards to sell at craft fairs for Christmas.
I now have the space (my own flat) and the time (I have a 2 day work week) to create all the art I could ever want.
This structure is serendipitous – I merely answered a job ad forwarded by a friend. The rest just unfolded naturally. My coach is right – all the things I create are done with ease.
After 3 and a half years of grinding, “putting myself out there,” being afraid to spend anything (I was in so much scarcity it was unbelievable) and most of all, disbelieving anything good could just come to me unbidden. And look, it has!
As a naturally lazy person, I’ve always been wary of the ‘striving’ backbone of coaching. It was central to what I learned and how I have often been coached. I doubt that sitting back and allowing, being present and intuitive, and beginner’s mind have been considered seriously as core coaching tools by many outside of meditation circles. However they are vital; they are powerful.
A bit like following your nose. It’s how I frequently navigate new places, and familiar ones too. Where do you feel pulled? And when you get lost, are you actually lost?
Maybe I’ve told you this one already? A year ago I felt pulled back towards retail. I questioned this, but went with it in the end. I was offered a job in shipping and receiving which was not advertised. I took it. I had a letter of minimum hours to support my mortgage when I found a flat I liked. I was let go before Christmas which was baffling but very good timing (no long hours away from my family). I got the mortgage, the flat and had an interview to my current job scheduled.
It was a bit ugly for a week or so, the mortgage took a few weeks to be finalised which was stressful and there were no guarantees. I was also annoyed as I’ve never been fired from anything before. However the gifts of this have been immense.
I am tempted to wrap this for you with a bow and say “this is how I logged off the grind and created my 2 day work week” but the story isn’t finished yet.
I will say that my coaching centres around getting people to create a life that FREES them (from grinding, clocking in and climbing corporate ladders, etc) and brings them back to their JOYS. Some people will not be moved by this. And some will. You know who you are.
What makes me most grateful? The incredulity in people’s voices when they ask me: “Can you really support yourself on 2 days income a week?”