#93Mar 20, 2023
7 years and 7 lessons still not learnt… yet 😊
Last week 21 Whispers celebrated its first 7 years in business and I wrote about some of the lessons I’ve learnt along the way. This week I thought I’d provide a contrast. The other side of the coin – the soft, vulnerable, open to criticism, mocking and being misunderstood underbelly of everything I stand for. These are the lessons I still haven’t learnt... yet. None of these are complaints, but indicative of the personal development work I still do within myself.
What lessons haven’t you learnt yet?
1 - Separating what I do from who I am
I’ve been practising this sort of work for nearly 30 years. I’ve committed to knowing, doing, and being the work as much as possible. I don’t just teach and facilitate it but I fully immerse myself in it. Who I am – at least who I see myself as – is inextricably linked with what I do.
For the most part, it’s a good thing. I believe I show up authentically, genuinely, and transparently and I think my clients sense that. However, there’s a downside. When I DO the work with clients my identity is at stake. Most of us will do almost anything to protect our identity. So, what I DO becomes who I AM. Of course, I’m more than what I do professionally – I’m also a husband, father, son, colleague, mate, in-law, confidant etc. etc. But, when I believe my identity is at stake then I struggle to park what I DO in order to pick up other aspects of who I AM.
There’s a fundamental difference between what I DO and who I AM and I know intellectually I’m more than what I DO but finding a healthy integration is part of my journey.
I love what I DO and my journey is to love who I AM as much if not more than what I DO.
2 - Navigating the feast and famine of solo consulting work
Because I work mostly solo – huge acknowledgement to Keetha who is the invisible hand behind the scenes and who supports me with almost everything else so I can be nimble and flexible – I give every client a bespoke experience as best I can.
This results in me being knee-deep in certain engagements (the feast) and forgetting to continuously build my pipeline of work (the famine). Almost all my work is a referral but I could do a better job at being front of mind more consistently for my network that I’m not currently working with.
When it’s the feast I’m buoyant, creative, and accepting but when it’s the famine I’m conservative, uncertain, and doubtful. Despite this cycle happening for 7 years now I still haven’t built the appropriate muscle.
3 - Preventing alone-ness from becoming loneliness
You might not believe this if you know me personally but on most personality instruments I profile as an introvert. I grew up as an only child so I’ve had plenty of practise! I’m happy on my own and comfortable in my own company – for a while.
However, my role requires some extroversion. I need to initiate, build and maintain relationships across a broad spectrum. I’m probably better at creating, writing, designing on my own which forces isolation. The alone-ness is OK but over extended periods becomes loneliness.
I’m OK being alone (i.e. physically by myself) but when the loneliness kicks in (i.e. feeling dis-connected and unable to fully share what’s going on internally & externally) I struggle a bit. I tend to isolate myself more and rely on past alone-ness behaviours.
I’m still searching for those that I can banter with regarding the tribal nature of sport and in the next conversation discuss trusting in the universe to deliver; those that I can laugh, cry, win, lose, and draw with; those that I can be inappropriate with and in parallel be deep and meaningful at the same time.
4 - Still stuck in exchanging time for money
I'm still locked into the old paradigm of hourly and daily rates. I exchange my time (and over 20 years’ experience) for fees. It’s an easier way to transact and makes the buying decision a little easier.
However, I’ve invested decades of my time in determining some of the solutions I present but I’ve lacked confidence in ascribing value to that experience. My lack of confidence translates into uncertainty so I fall back on hourly and daily rates. I’ve made some small in roads on this but it’s still very much a work in progress.
5 - Taming the comparison monster
This is a big one for me. When I see someone – could be well known, only known to me, or even not known to me – who I think is doing a better job than me the comparison monster raises its ugly head and I eat myself alive!
I fall head first into comparing the worst of me with the best of them. I judge myself - usually harshly - on something I’ve just started or just learnt about - with others who have been in the game for far longer and may even be far more natural in the domain.
Even though I know the worst of me is probably still OK. In certain situations, I rate myself as significantly less than what I perceive to be something they are a little better at. I’ve become a little better at reminding myself of my strengths and forgiving my weaknesses but I find the comparison monster on my shoulders on a regular basis.
6 - Saying no
I say yes far too often. Usually, it’s because I can. Often, it’s because I want to. Occasionally, it results in work that drains my energy and creativity.
It’s partly because I believe what I do can help almost anyone become better and who am I to determine whether the student is ready?
If I had stronger boundaries but held them loosely then perhaps, I’d grant myself more space to say yes to other things.
7 - I’m usually more in love with the material than my clients are
I’ve immersed myself in personal development for over 30 years. I’ve devoured 1000’s of articles, books, and programs searching for the latest research, distinctions or tips, tools & hacks. I’m working on myself constantly. I’ve experienced significant benefits over the years of that work both personally and professionally with clients.
I get hugely excited when the client expresses an interest in being a ‘world class team’ or ‘becoming extraordinary leaders’. However, often my ambition for them exceeds the practical reality of their context, bandwidth, opportunity etc. I appreciate I work with minimal constraints whilst most clients have significant constraints.
I’ve become better at meeting the clients where they are at, but it’s still a challenge for me to balance my own enthusiasm for what the material can do for them, their teams, their customers, and the practical reality of their situation.
What are the lessons you haven’t learnt yet?
NEW EPISODE - Freedom Fridays Podcast Episode #69 featuring Jane Atherton
In episode #69 Pete chats with Jane Atherton, founder of OM Phoenix. Jane is an entrepreneur, business owner, leadership consultant, and single Mum. Jane is passionate about raising the level of leadership consciousness and provided the shortest answer to the podcast opening question about what people are seeking freedom from – FEAR!
Pete & Jane have varied discussions ranging from discerning whether the fear is a truth or a belief; the 100th monkey effect, conscious parenting, and how to fear less. Jane is a living example of doing the best she can with the many roles she plays and avoiding burnout on the way.
That's all for this week. I hope you enjoyed Weekly Whisper #93.
As always, reply to [email protected] to send me your feedback and let me know your thoughts.
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