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In the past day, I’ve seen two very inventive videos of people who are doing the things they love and sharing them. The first is a video by Emerson College students where they are doing a lip psyching video to a compilation of Lady Gaga songs. It involves over 400 students and was basically a campus tour as the showed all the facilities but also demonstrated the skill sets that they were developing in their studies (namely performance, video production, editing, event coordination, etc.). I’ve worked with a number of students that I see in this video and it’s amazing to see what they’ve accomplished. It’s also starting to go viral around the world too.


The second one was a music video of musician performing jazzed-up Christmas carols, but only using different iPhone and iPod apps. They replicate hand bells, guitars, conga drums, and numerous other instruments.  The performance is great, and really shows off their technical skills.

This reminds me a lot of the video of the band Atomic Tom that performed and recorded a music video on the subway using just iPhones for both the performing and recording.

What do these all have in common?  These people are demonstrating to the works what they have to offer others professionally. You don’t have to wonder what they can do, as they are showing it off. You don’t have to go and ask these people of their value; it’s right in front of you.

What does this have you do with your career? Everything!

Most people I work with hide what they have to offer the world, or at least make it so difficult to find out this information that people never see it. It’s either so cryptically written in a resume or an interviewer needs to ask so many questions to find the answer that the news of your value never gets out to be seen.

If you’re going to be happy in what you do in your career, it needs to cone from the capabilities that you have that you love to do (and are skilled at!). Are you a good writer? Write things that people can actually see (instead of keeping it all locked away on your computer or journal. Really good at organizing? Organize something that people in the world will experience. And mist importantly, after you’ve done it, let other people know about it! Your reputation is built on your works, and other people will be able to say good things about you to others (like hiring managers) in the future.

So, what beautiful, creative things about yourself are you keeping from the world?

I’ve just returned from an intensive weekend program at Easton Mountain called Authentic Eros, facilitated by Kai Ehrhardt and Don Shewey. I had heard great things about this program and knew that it would force me to look at myself more closely to see how I was being in my interactions with other men.

I came onto this workshop with the intention of being present all the time. Like many others on this high speed world of ours, I tend to always be thinking about many more things than what I’m doing at the moment. While my meditation practice has helped me be more centered, it’s much harder for me when I’m out in the “real world” and have more inputs.

We also did a lot of exercises on saying what you want and negotiating when that doesn’t align with others wants. This is a big one for me. As someone in the helping profession, I want to help others, many times to the detriment of my own needs. It’s and ongoing learning process, and this took me one more step.

Some of my key learnings were:

  • I have a difficult time doing more than one thing at a time – I know this is why I like playing the hammered dulcimer (two hands doing similar movements) better than playing the guitar (two hands doing different movements).. My mind just doesn’t function well in that situation. This also got me to recognize my coping pattern of trying to build systems where things are automatically bunched together. That way, my mind thinks it’s all one action.
  • When I’m present in my body and all the voices in my head have been quieted, I can feel the rhythm of my body – We did a lot of meditative type activities (thanks Kai!) and one that really worked for me was when I was invited to take an inhalation and have the back of my pelvis go down. In all the breathing and yoga work I’ve done, I’ve always had the front of my pelvis go down. It probably just came at the right time, because it felt like my whole trunk relaxed. I then was feeling a pulse of my body like when I’m laying on the acupuncturist’s table.  This revelation felt like finally finding your balance when learning to ride a bicycle. Now at least I know what it feels like and I can shoot for getting that feeling again.
  • I tend to go out in the world with armor on – I’m finally accepting something that I’ve denied for a long time: people find me attractive. This may seem a silly thing to many of you, but it’s been something that gas been difficult for me. I’m realizing that I’m in such need of control, that I get scared if men approach me and I’m not interested. I sort of freeze up and armor myself against everyone, or at least the shields cone up when I sense “danger”. More practice needed in claiming my own power to get what I want in the world, and to gracefully decline what I doesn’t serve me.

Any similar experiences?  If you were at the retreat, please feel free to leave your own comments.

 

Update as of November 2011: This has been my most popular blog post as far as people finding it on Google.  If you wish to see more of my thoughts on the subject, check out https://resonare.wordpress.com/tag/mindfulness/ and you can keep updated by joining the Spirit-Work Connection Facebook Page.

East Coast Trail, Renews, Newfoundland, Canada

Like many others, I tend to be pretty task driven. I know what I want to accomplish, and I make my priorities and plan what I’m going to get done. The has served me to an extent as I have achieved quite a bit in my life, but I’ve also found that it’s been accompanied by an anxiety that my list is longer than my capacity to complete things.

In this time of too many inputs, I think that many of us are running around s little crazed as we see the possibilities of what can be done, and unlike our forbears, it’s a lot more than any one human can realistically do.

I’ve been struggling with this for a while. My meditation practice has helped, and my implementing if the Getting Things Done practice has also helped to take things off my mind. I have learned through his that it’s not the amount of undone things that really bothers me as much as the worrying about it.

Last weekend, I had a little bit of a revelation. I had the afternoon free and had just come back from a massage appointment where he did the equivalent of re-braking a broken bone that hadn’t healed correctly (damn that scar tissue!). I was really sore but had the afternoon to get something accomplished. The big difference was that instead of asking myself what I wanted to get done, I instead asked:

“Who do I want to be at the end of this afternoon?”

As you can imagine, that’s a very different question. I said I wanted to be calm and relaxed, and feel good about myself. Well, I had a very different afternoon that day, because I didn’t do anything that would make me crazy or frantic (which given how high energy I can be, is common with me). I did have things to cross off my To Do list at the end of the afternoon too.

I’ve been trying to incorporate this practice into my daily life, but it’s not easy for me. I’m trying to break my “rushing to get a massage” mentality, but it’s yet another practice.

What changes for you when you Be more than Do?

 

As I progress in my never ending quest of self improvement, I am realizing how important it is to practice skills. It’s not only the development in getting better at a particular task but it’s also the discipline of keeping at doing something long enough to get better at it.

From my time as an athlete (in my past I was a decently competitive race walker and coach) I know that you have to work at things and keep a focus on something in order to get more proficient at it. That’s served me from playing the hammered dulcimer, competing in national level competitions in race walking, and also in my career development work.

One of the great values of this practice is screwing up. It’s usually from a time when I’ve done something I didn’t mean to (i.e. wrong) that I’ve learned from it and it’s dug itself into my mind that I should never do that again. Those horrors usually come back to me when I’m about to do the same dumb thing again and screams at me not to. I’ve been saved many times by that scream!  I’ve heard this referred to as an AFGE (Another F***ing Growth Experience).

I like to tell people that you have to make about 100 mistakes before you can do it right. Go put and talk to people about your dreams, hopes and desires. You’ll get it wrong the first few times, but you’ll get better at it.

Also, the more we practice, the more focused and centered we become. Rev. Kim Crawford Harvie at Arlington Street Church in Boston said that flossing is one of her spiritual practices. Washing dishes is the same for Thich Nhat Hahn. A spiritual practice is just another phrase for a habit. Some are good for you, and some are not. I’m trying to choose which habits will add spirit to my life and trying to cultivate them.

Through the GTD Virtual Study Group, I learned about Habitforge, a great website to support you in developing good habits. Here are mine:

  • Flossing daily
  • Going to bed before midnight
  • Getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night
  • Writing down all the food I eat each day nu4you
  • Exercising each day
  • Working on this blog

Studies show that it takes between 3 to 6 weeks for an action to become a habit.

What life giving habits are you practicing?

At this time of year, most of us are inundated with information from all sources, whether TV, radio, email, web pages, radio, and even blog posts. It can be overwhelming to try to process it all. I think that a major source of stress in all of our lives is having to deal with everything, and then figure out what to do with it all. We’re in the 21st century! We should be able to process volumes and volumes of data and know everything that’s going on, and be empowered by it to make decisions about our lives to lead us where we want to go. Problem is, more often that not we are left metaphorically hiding behind a rock trying not to get knocked over by all this, leaving us dazed and confused. How can you manage all this stuff?

Answer is: You can’t.

As much as we’re told we can multitask, what we’re really doing is just flipping our minds faster and faster from one item to the next, and not really giving anything enough attention. As Dave Crenshaw writes in his book Myth of Multitasking: How Doing It All Gets Nothing Done, most people are “switch tasking” (switching back and forth between two or more tasks). This constant back and forth just wastes energy (i.e. the “running around for nothing” feel). Haven’t you felt that while trying to get everything done? I certainly have.

So, what are our options? As I’ve found with people making career choices, it usually works better if you start with you, instead of trying to deal with everything outside.

What do you really want? In David Allen’s Getting Things Done philosophy, he talks about “Horizons of Focus”, which is everything from “The Runway” (what’s on your plate now) to “50,000 feet” (what’s your purpose in life.) While you might not be ready to answer that last question, you can start thinking about what’s important in your life, and from there start thinking about what actions will support that.

What would happen if you said to yourself that you are making a list of all the areas that are important to you and that you were going to not worry about all the stuff that comes at you that’s not related to those issues? You might actually be able to handle them. And when you were done with them, you’d know you’re done.

Everything else is a distraction. My spiritual practice recently is trying to keep my distractions at bay. I want to know where those things are (in case I need them later) but I don’t want to look at them right now.
There are many techniques to clear your mind and put your distractions aside. I’ve been doing meditation recently, but whatever works for you is best.

What are the things that are distracting you, forcing you to “multitask” and wearing you out?

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

I am a career consultant who specializes in the connection between what your spirit wants to do in the world, and how to marry that to the work that you do in order to support yourself. While I work with people in all fields, I specialize in working with "creative entrepreneurs" and the LGBT community.

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