G’day lovely one,
This week I want to share with you a story about something that surprised me, in terms of work. It’s a story about one of the reasons why, despite helping other people find and use their core messages and directions, I’ve found it challenging it help other people understand what exactly it is that my company does for others. You know, beyond the technicalities of ‘role’.
The story begins with meditation.
Early in the week, I’d arranged to go and meditate with a Buddhist friend of mine.
This woman is scarily insightful. As far as Buddhists go, she’s on her last human life. In other words, very Buddhist, such enlighten.
It was the first time we’d decided to do this, after years of talking about it. Excitedly, I picked up my zafu and mat, shoved them into my car, and drove across town. About 40 minutes later, I arrived laden with my gear, and was invited into her treatment room.
The room is a haven of absolute peace. Being inside it is like sitting next to a waterfall.
So we got settled, her in front of me, and then she says:
‘I’d like you to mentor me.’
I laughed in surprise, but this is what my Inner Voice was really doing:
The reason was that, despite her practise she is a relative newbie to meditation, and I’ve been meditating since I was about 7 years old. So I said sure thing, and guided her in a meditation that I’ve been doing for probably 30 years. Unlike most meditations, it’s not for relaxation or mindfulness, but for play.
Imagine my surprise when it unlocked some deep stuff for her! Emotion flowed out of her; and the one thing that she’d been attached to and not able to see was at the heart of that emotion.
Talking through it with her afterwards, I had a dawning realisation:
Most of my working life - over the past seven years anyway - has been spent drawing splinters out of people.
By that I mean: I help them navigate to the most important part of what they’re trying to achieve, and draw it out of them, show it to them, and allow them to use it.
It turns out that she’d showed me my own splinter.
The very next day, I breakfasted with a young bloke who has never been able to articulate how he sees the world, or the value that he offers. He has a giant hole in his brain (yes, really), which means that he’s always in the Present and in Flow where the rest of us are dealing with Monkey Mind and can’t see what’s right in front of us.
He explained to me his own model of consciousness, and it seemed obvious and simple to me.
His jaw dropped. ‘You’re the only person who understands it,’ he replied.
Thus it was that I went away, wrote it out in the simple way in which I understood his concepts, sales value, and so on, and sent it back to him to review.
To which he replied:
‘YOU’RE A GENIUS'!’
Ha! Well, I’m not - really, he is. It’s his concept! His way of seeing the world! All I did was put language and shape on it. The result is that he not only has his own (badass, I might add) baseline model for consciousness, but a pathway of services, how the services interact with others, and a way of approaching his sales to four different markets.
Between these two remarkable people, I began to see my own skills in a unique way.
It’s not that I’m a copywriter, or journalist, or strategist, or ghostwriter, or publisher, or < insert other role or technical task here >.
It’s not even that I’m that one person whose ideation process is something to teach other people.
It’s that I identify and draw out of people that one thing that is their own ‘right livelihood’, you might say.
Here’s how Thich Nhat Hanh defined ‘right livelihood’:
To practice Right Livelihood (samyag ajiva), you have to find a way to earn your living without transgressing your ideals of love and compassion. The way you support yourself can be an expression of your deepest self, or it can be a source of suffering for you and others ... Our vocation can nourish our understanding and compassion, or erode them. We should be awake to the consequences, far and near, of the way we earn our living.
So, you might be thinking: This is all well and good Leticia but how on earth is this related to the pathway of your business?
It’s a good question, and I’ll try to answer it for you.
In the past two years (so from company age 5 to company age 7), I’ve emerged into a pathway of Mastery. That has meant re-adapting, for the billionth time, my attitude on what it means to be a company owner. Instead of employing loads of people and making all the money, it’s more important to me to do my very best work and to gain recognition for that work—in whatever way that recognition comes through to me.
One of the key barriers I’ve had in doing so is getting ANY kind of referral.
Yes, there is something problematic in ghostwriting for small business owners, because they will simply not tell others that they don’t write their own material.
Yes, there is something problematic in not playing to the Party Line of bullshit marketing agencies just to get work.
And Yes, there is my own unwillingness to work with idiots who want to pay the least amount of money for something that takes 20 years+ of experience to do. (There are a lot of them, by the way; look at any auction marketplace like Upwork.)
But the primary barrier has been simply articulating what I do. And that has come about largely because I hadn’t had enough awareness to be able to see it clearly.
Of course, the question is:
Now that I can see it, what do I do with it?
It’s a question I can’t answer yet. But I suspect that it may become a flavour rather than feature.
In any case, I’m on maternity leave in just under four weeks’ time, and the extended time away from work is going to be insightful and instructive for learning the outcome.