First, I changed the title and added two words: “ To Do”. I have been wondering why I felt very self-indulgent with the previous title, and it is because the meaning of my search wasn’t clear to me, so I may not be to you, either. It’s amazing how two little words can change the direction and focus of a task. This challenge I’ve given myself, is all about clarity. I hope today’s blog adds some for you, too.
In previous posts I’ve been saying that I want to live a life of purpose and / or a life in the service of others. My struggle has been in finding an authentic way to express this desire and still put bread on the table. The question that I often ask myself in the process of considering what I want to do in my life is: “What would I do, if money, time, or resources weren’t a concern?” I come up with lots of different answers, and many come back over and over again. I have allowed myself to get overwhelmed by the options and then start looking at the limits of time, money or resources. I think I’m missing the point of the question. What do you think?
I decided to play with the question and keep my eyes open for different ways of focusing the meaning of it… I tried writing a bucket list and found that focused me on what I didn’t yet have, and that depressed me a little more, but the question of what I most want to do before I die persists! Ted Talker, Candy Chang was searching for meaning in her life when a close friend died and she needed a way back to dreams and possibilities. She evaluated what she loved about her life and put together a project that allowed millions of people around the world to share their dreams with each other. In her inspiring Ted talk, called “Before I Die… “, she gave the world a voice and we hope that we are never alone in our amazing dreams of what we want to do before we die. I want to help others get their voices heard.
Will my desire to do more consulting & coaching work fulfill this want? Maybe, but I’ve had my doubts… mainly because I haven’t adequately defined this role for myself, yet. I come out of the gate, after only listening a little, and eagerly shower the people I hope to help with suggestions and recommendations. Deep down, I question how much of this is really more of an expression of “Look how smart I am”, than a genuine helping. Regardless of what I’ve read about the imposter syndrome, this doubt persists. I’ve started learning how to think about it less judgementally and more objectively… As one of my meditation guides says, “everyday and in every way, I’m getting better and better.” I’m just not there, yet. So, I did what seems to have been working for me lately and sent the question out to the universe, asking for guidance from others who have gone through similar challenges. And, voila! An answer appeared in the form of another Ted talk. (And yes, I am a little obsessed with Ted Talks!)
Watch Dr. Ernesto Sirolli’s “Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!”. If the title doesn’t give you part of the revelation it gave me, you have to hear this man’s passion and wisdom. He explains his decision to change his consulting from giving to receiving. Wait a minute! You might think this makes no sense. Let me illustrate with a well know saying: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” How sure are you that you know what’s best, before you make suggestions? Well, you listen. or in salesperson lingo, you find their pain. Yuck, who wants pain?!? Dr. Sirolli explains that his company made the decision to no longer look for the pain, but to create a system where they are open minded, and exude a desire to be helpful. Amazingly, people came asking for help, he listened to what they asked for, and then found a way to help them with that one thing they asked for. It’s more elaborate than that, of course, so watch the video, or get his book: “How to Start a Business & Ignite Your Life” Ps: I want this book, and it’s on my To Read list after 4 others. I have’t ordered it yet, so if anyone wants to send me a copy, I would be very grateful of the gift, and I will put it first on my list. Hint, hint!
Ok, back to me… again. I want to find a way to help others without being salesy about it. I believe I came close when I decided to start a series called “The People In My Neighbourhood”. I’ll be writing articles about local business people and sharing their stories on my blog. I had decided to do this as a gift in exchange for allowing me to practice my interviewing and writing, for adding content to my blog, and for the possibility of sharing my other services with them. So, why did this feel like a fishing for business exercise to me? Because, I was hoping it would lead to getting advertisers for my magazine or clients for my consulting & writing business. What I really want is to take the commerce part out altogether and just tell people’s stories. How did Ernesto do it? He says he walked down the street, said hello and answered hello back. He received by listening and being receptive. He gave only when asked to, and it grew. What he doesn’t say and I am coming to terms with is that most people accept a fair exchange for services, so no one ran from the paying for his services. I can do this too!
I want to accept my worth and help others when they ask for it. I want this to be the path to my purpose and success. My very wise friend, Paul Laflamme said his every success came from the practice of always asking everyone he meets: How Can I help you today? And then just finding a way to help. I want to live that ‘CAN DO’ mindset! So, How can I help you, Today?