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Find my purpose

Untamed Interview 5 – Purpose with Mark Boyns

Do you have a clear purpose? Are you striving towards a particular goal or mission?

In this Untamed Interview, I discuss this topic of purpose with Founder and Co-Director of the unique and brilliant 'Opening Up Cricket', Mark Boyns.

Despite a drunk cameraman and some wet dogs Mark shares some fascinating insights into what drives his social enterprise and the positive effect this mission has has had on his life!

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Transition Mentoring

Untamed Interview 4 – Plan The Perfect Military Transition with Neil Marshall

Neil Marshall spent 30+ years in the UK Army, ultimately leaving having reached the enviable rank of Major General. With a thought out plan in place, he then performed a seamless transition from the military into entrepreneurship.

During his service, he led with passion and purpose never wavering from his mission of helping others thrive.

By applying a highly effective process, Neil has been able to leverage the lessons he learned in the military to maximum effect in his new business.  He has a clear plan and lives a highly fulfilled life doing what he loves. 

It is this process that we uncover in this video, hopefully helping you achieve the same levels of success, whatever rank or industry you're in.

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military leavers

Untamed Interview – Veteran Entrepreneur Nic Woodhams

British Army veteran, social entrepreneur and Rick Astley look-a-like Nic Woodhams talks me through the challenges and opportunities of applying military skills in civi street.

We stroll through the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh and discuss how well the military breeds and then prepares leavers for life as entrepreneurs.

How do you plan on leveraging your unique skills to reach your potential?

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Start a small business

Untamed Interview – Art Green

Join me as I chat to Arthur Green: entrepreneur, adventure-lover, athlete, celebrity and all round good bloke.  We chinwag whilst kayaking the waters of the Southern Pacific Ocean in New Zealand.

We discuss the importance of pursuing your passions; how to align your life with your goals; the best wrist watch on the market and many other riveting things...

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The Perfect Transition For Military Leavers

Where It All Started

Despite never serving, I have always had a deep affinity to people who serve in the military. 

This feeling started when my brother joined the Royal Marines when I was 17 and developed throughout my University years whilst living with two reservists -both of whom went on to join the forces proper.

Partly due to this multitude of connections and partly due to my healthy appetite for ‘socialising’ between the ages of 17 and 26, I was mixing with one group or another, seemingly on a weekly basis. 

As I have mentioned before,  if you really want to get to know someone, go to the pub with them. 

With this theory in mind, I got to know a whole host of Marine and Army personnel extremely well during my formative years.

If You're Going To Do A Job…

Aside from the robust banter and iron-clad trust that exists between military folk, their default setting of approaching EVERYTHING they do at 100%, is what I admire and relate to most.

Whether playing a game of ‘see who can spend the most time at the bar naked before being thrown out’ or deliberately skiing into each other, the games were a notch or two above what everyone else played…and I loved it!

As I have said many times, if you're going to do something, damn well do it properly.  Well, this is a sentiment wholeheartedly shared by all those who serve.

Why I Am I Writing This?

But this is not a Ramble extolling the virtues of those in uniform. 

That introduction was merely designed to provide some background as to my current business relationship with those in the armed forces and to illustrate the deep foundations that shaped it.

Let’s cut to the chase shall we?  I believe many military personnel are tailor made for a life as Untamed Entrepreneurs and the following words will explain why.

Definition

For those who haven’t read my last Ramble, it is probably wise to start off by defining the term ‘Untamed Entrepreneur’.

‘Untamed Entrepreneur’: Noun, often referred to as ‘UE’

“A person possessing an entrepreneurial mindset who engages in both life and work activities in an unconventional manner.  They are distinguishable by their gregarious nature, disregard for half measures and insatiable appetite for adventure, fun and challenge.”

Untamed Entrepreneurs prioritise the following in no particular order (excluding family):

  • Running their business
  • Outdoor activities
  • Extreme sports
  • Adventure/travel

Now we understand the fundamentals of what makes a UE unique, let’s look at why I believe military personnel are so well suited to this lifestyle.

To keep this analysis simple, I shall cover the two aspects that most clearly define the life of a UE: work and play.

Work Time - Why Do People In The Military Make Good Entrepreneurs?

It is a well-worn theory that military leavers make good entrepreneurs.  Indeed, a study at Syracuse University in the USA established that a staggering “49% of WWII veterans went on to own or operate their own businesses.”¹

Amongst other things, these theories typically cite hard work, problem-solving and resilience as key factors in a successful cross-over - and they are all correct.

To make a successful Untamed Entrepreneur however, a few additional ingredients need to be in the mix - most notably, a willingness to not only embrace the unknown but actively seek it. 

For the Untamed, unchartered territory is where the juices really start flowing.  The thrill of not knowing what’s around the corner or even how to get to the corner, is the business equivalent of kayaking off an unknown waterfall.

The moment the learning curve slows and the comfort zone expands, boredom sets in.  On to the next challenge.

This eagerness to potentially bite off more than one can chew and then chew like crazy, is one shared by many military folk. 

For soldiers and officers alike, the base level of excitement required to offset boredom is far higher than in most of us.   After all,  adrenaline rushes -whether through combat or competition- are one of the main reasons most of them signed up in the first place.

So what is a leaver to do once the the uniform is handed back and civvy street beckons?  What possible work exists that could even come close to the thrill served up by the armed forces?

In reality, aside from doing the same type of work in the private sector, I imagine nothing comes close and it is this step-down in pace that causes many leavers problems as they make the transition.  But it doesn't have to be so…

Keep Up The Pace

Enter stage left Untamed Entrepreneurialness…ness.  A perilous blend of unpredictability, risk, excitement and reward.

Entrepreneurship is a tough gig.  It’s a fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world where only the fittest survive.  Harsh lessons come thick and fast and there is no hiding place for the weak.

Sound familiar?  It should do.  It bares much resemblance to military life.

As I know it, military folk thrive in a ruthlessly competitive environment where the correlation between hard work and success is direct and progress is measurable…Don’t put the work in and suffer the consequences - simple.

Whilst the consequences of failure in the business world are far less extreme than in the military, a couple of poor decisions can still make or break ones entire livelihood.

Such a high risk/reward ratio is what provides military leavers the spark that is so devoid in other careers.

What Does An Untamed Business Look Like?

There are no set criteria governing the type of businesses a UE can create and it doesn’t have to be inherently dangerous -hell, my business is one on one mentoring…hardly bomb-disposal work!

What the business does have to do though, is be adaptable enough to allow the Untamed lifestyle to flourish and align exactly with the passions and interests of the founder.  This melding of work and play into a synchronized unit is a key component and helps distinguish an Untamed lifestyle from many others.

By defining what Untamed Entrepreneurs' businesses may be by their suitability to a lifestyle, rather than a specific industry or sector, the door is open to military leavers from a wide range of skill sets, interests and talents.

Play Time

So now we understand the entrepreneurial piece of the Untamed jigsaw, let’s look at the other aspect…play time!

This is where the fun really starts.  The jumping off point for the tamed.

Let’s cut to it…spending time outdoors, adventuring, taking part in extreme sports, travelling and putting ones body on the line in the name of entertainment are all things held dear by Untamed Entrepreneurs and military personnel alike.

Whether through extra-curricular or on-the-job activities, these aspects are tightly woven into both the military and UE lifestyle.

In the same way that real soldiers differ from those who call themselves Bravo Two Zero and run around mock battlefields wearing second hand cammo uniforms; Untamed Entrepreneurs take their love of the outdoors, sports and travel one step further than the average weekend warrior.

In a nutshell, one set of people love it, the other set live it.

It stands to reason therefore that upon exiting the forces, becoming an Untamed Entrepreneur would be the best way to maintain this high intensity curriculum and keep those juices flowing.

Have Your Cake and Eat It

And that’s ultimately what it comes down to - a smooth transition; a way of living that is both very similar to the military and completely different at the same time.

Filling the void left by a career as impactful, intense and unique as the military is no mean feat.

As a minimum, the replacement must provide adequate stimulation through healthy doses of competition, risk and the unknown in order to keep the boredom at bay.  Yet it must also be different enough to represent a fresh challenge and provide the individual the opportunity to add significant value by other means.

Thankfully the world of Untamed Entrepreneurship does just that.  It offers all the high octane thrills and spills of military life with added freedom for spontaneity should one desire. 

I can see no other more suitable lifestyle for the adventure-loving, purpose-driven military leaver to get their kicks!


GET YOUR FREE E-BOOK

If a life of extreme sports and entrepreneurship is right up your street and you want to learn the best places in the world to live such a lifestyle, then check out my latest e-book.  Download it here and take the first step to living like an Untamed Entrepreneur!

References   

¹: https://www.forbes.com/sites/marklrockefeller/2016/08/03/why-the-military-is-the-best-entrepreneurship-training-program-in-america/#76d188bb3d60

 

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Leverage Strengths

8 Mis-Perceived Weaknesses of an Untamed Entrepreneur and How They Should be Leveraged

Untamed Entrepreneurs - A Not Quite Oxford Dictionary Definition

‘Untamed Entrepreneur’ - Noun
a person possessing an entrepreneurial mindset who engages in both life and work activities in an unconventional manner. They are distinguishable by their gregarious nature, disregard for half measures (in any form) and insatiable appetite for adventure, fun and self-development.
“It’s easy to spot an Untamed Entrepreneur. They will first to the top of the mountain and first in the bar"
synonyms: N/A

Why I Am Writing This Ramble

Finding ones purpose, pursuing ones dreams, and living a life on ones own terms, are three of the narratives I champion with the most vigour.

Ever since my own self-analysis led me to major life-changing realisations -and the opportunity to achieve all three- I have been on a mission to help others do the same.

My default setting is to help anyone who asks for it -and many who don’t. My business mentor on the other hand, fights a constant battle to keep me focused on my niche.

In homage to him and his discipline I shall therefore focus this Ramble on said niche. My favourite audience. The people to whom I can most relate and thus provide the most effective help.

I am speaking of course about the Untamed Entrepreneurs of this world.

During the last 10 years of my life, I have lived two extremes. Five years ruining my body, liver and wallet in Whistler, followed by five years of career focus, fiscal responsibility and a diligent approach to health when living in Australia (I told you we don't do half measures).

Whilst ultimately, neither lifestyle was sustainable, one was true to my natural personality and one was not.

Whilst living in Whistler, whether I was ski instructing, plumbing or partying, I was surrounded by like-minded people and encouraged to be myself. Retreating within my shell would have served no purpose.

At the time I took it for granted but after five years in Perth working in a proper job and taking life more seriously, I soon realized I had been on a pretty good wicket back in BC.

Upon reflecting on my time in Perth, I have learned some pretty valuable lessons. It is these lessons I wish to share with you fellow Untamed Entrepreneurs.

In doing so I hope to shorten your route to finding your purpose, passions and a life on your own terms.

Re-Framing Weaknesses and The Importance of Self-Awareness

Perhaps the single biggest turning point in my path to self-discovery was when I realized I had spent years perceiving some of my biggest strengths, as weaknesses.

Whilst a lack of self awareness ultimately allows these types of misunderstandings to prevail: society, and the manner in which it consistently misconceives strengths and weaknesses must cop a lot of the blame.

In Australia -whilst I value every minute of my time spent with the company- I was ultimately working in the wrong industry, in the wrong role, serving the wrong people.

To make it more relatable and hopefully more useful I will quickly breakdown all three aspects and explain their misalignment.

Firstly, lets look at my role. I was managing a small business. This meant paying attention to small details and getting bogged down by day to day operations. Neither of which I enjoy.

Secondly, the industry -mining. A large, antiquated industry reluctant to embrace change and more concerned with risk mitigation than innovation. Not ideal stomping ground for the young and hungry looking to try new things.

Lastly, the people I served. When one works in an industry with the characteristics described above, two things can happen. You either stay true to your beliefs and spend everyday frustrated, or you give up, fit in and become part of the fabric.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of the old timers I dealt with were in the latter camp. They were tired, unmotivated and spent most of their time in meetings, finding ways to avoid risk and complicate the system in an attempt to justify their own existence.

It is not hard to see how my personality was at odds with my situation. I would spend meetings ‘playing the game’, pretending I cared about the latest iron ore price, rather than taking the piss out the hair of the old git I was talking to.

Occasionally I would misread the situation and go all in with a joke or two. They rarely went down well. It got even worse when beers were involved!

The Best Time Is Now

I tell you all this because I want to help those who find themselves in similar situations.

It took me five years to realise the problem was not with me, but my environment. I was convinced that this was all part of growing up and working in a proper job.

Gone were the carefree days of Whistler and turning up for work still shit faced to unblock someones drain. This is what working life looked like for adults.

My conscience was convinced this was the reality and my environment supported it.

Thank fully, I realized my situation and got myself out. The longer I had stayed in, the harder this change would have been - there is every chance I could have ended up like my embittered peers in the industry.

And now, I want to do the same for you.

The Most Commonly Misperceived Strengths

So, as someone with a larger-than-life personality and adventurous nature; what perceived weaknesses do you possess and how can they be turned into a strength?

Here is a list of what I believe to be the 8 biggest misunderstandings of an Untamed Entrepreneur.

The Most Commonly Misperceived Strengths of the Untamed

Perceived Weakness Actual Strength
Can’t focus on one task or project until completion Best at getting new projects up and running
Moves too quickly, others can’t keep up Has energy others can’t match
Speaks mind too much. Quick with opinions Always trusted to give honest answer. People know where they stand
Not serious enough at work, always attempting to entertain Best motivators. Great at engaging people and creating an enjoyable atmosphere
Talks too much Best communicators/salesmen/advocates
Lacks attention to detail. Often misses small things Great at seeing the bigger picture whilst not getting bogged down in details
Divides opinion. Either liked or loathed Doesn’t waste time and energy appealing to everyone. Friendships created are long lasting
Requires specific environment to thrive Can outperform all others in correct environment

Do any of those resonate with you?

How have you -and others around you- labelled these characteristics?

Have you ever re-framed them in this way before?

Don’t Change Yourself, Change Your Environment

The phrase ‘one mans trash is another mans treasure’ springs to mind. The notion that if your energetic personality is viewed as a weakness by those around you, it simply means you’re in the wrong crowd.

Rather than change who you are in order to fit in, change your surroundings. There’s a business or marketplace out there craving someone with your positive outlook, dynamism and ceaseless enthusiasm.

As I mentioned in my last Ramble, when you find this place, magic happens. This where you truly begin to add value and start having fun.

If my story, or the aspects listed in the table above bare a resemblance to your situation, I implore to re-frame what you may view as weaknesses.

I encourage you to view your role in society, and the business world, differently: to realise that every trait you possess can be reframed and used as leverage to add more value.

Look around, find the people and the markets that want what you have and continue to be yourself.

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Find a job that matches your passions

Work Life Alignment – The Reasons Why Your Work Should Be an Extension of You

Is This Ramble For You?

Let me get one thing straight before I even start.  This Ramble is for those who are looking for happiness and fulfilment in all aspects of their lives and who value the role that work plays in achieving this.

If you view work as merely a vehicle via which to makes ends meet and disregard it as a primary source of enjoyment and pleasure, then this is not for you.

What Is Work Life Alignment?  The Simple Version

If I was to boil it down to one sentence, the Work Life Alignment can be described as ‘the proximity between ‘the work you’ and ‘the real you’.

You in your most natural state vs you at work (whoops, that’s two sentences).

What Is Work Life Alignment?  A Little More Detail

The real you is made up of your: passions, purpose, interests, character, strengths, weaknesses, wants and needs.

It is you in your most natural, unfiltered state.

The work you on the other hand, is you in your work state.  The decisions you make; the way you act and the tasks you perform, whilst at work.

I am not breaking any ground when I suggest that being in ones natural state and being happy are inextricably linked.

Factor in that many of us spend over 50% of our waking hours working and it stands to reason that the closer to the real you, you can get whilst at work, the happier you will be?!

Admission Is The First Step

How to become an entrepreneur

The first step is doing something many people never want to do, or even think to do.   Self-analysis.

Grinder profile aside, have you ever actually written down the components of your character?  Have you ever stopped to think what your purpose is, what you’re good at and what you’re truly passionate about?

I’m sure you’ve spent time mentally analysing each in isolation but never produced an exhaustive list, tying them all together?

Similarly, have you ever critically assessed the extent to which these are reflected in your cur

rent work situation and the effect this has on your happiness?

Without honest self-reflection, the path to alignment is a tough one.

How Is My Alignment Measured?

Establishing your alignment in detail is one of the aspects of my mentoring programme.  Done right, it can take time and a fair bit of thought.

Amongst other things it involves taking my ‘Work Like Alignment Review’ test.  Only when you’ve finished reading of course.

For the sake of this Ramble however I have extracted a couple of the key questions and listed them below to provide a quick dry run for you to do now.

Simply answer the following and mark out of 10 how true each statement is (10 being completely true):

  • My work role and the tasks I perform make the most of my strengths and mitigate my weaknesses
  • I am passionate about the work I perform and proud to tell people about my role
  • I am able -and encouraged- to be myself when working and don't have to act like someone I’m not
  • My company/business and I share a similar mission and purpose

Common Misalignments

What was your score for the those 4 questions?  Where did you drop points? 

Here are some common misalignments which may help stimulate some realisations:

  • You are at odds with your company’s purpose 
  • The industry you serve expects a certain type of behaviour which is contrary to how you naturally behave
  • You are amazing with people but spend most of your days working with a laptop behind the scenes 
  • You crave variety but your work life is rigid and monotonous
  • You are someone who comes up with 10 new ideas a day but gets criticized for not focusing on one thing at a time 

These are just a few examples.

My Story

As an example, my own work misalignment stemmed from the disconnect between the way I was expected to act around clients and suppliers of the engineering company I managed, and my default behaviour setting. 

My immature sense of humour, direct approach and a strong desire to not take myself very seriously were in stark contrast to the stuffed shirts I interacted with on a daily basis.    

I was constantly acting within myself and dampening my natural personality.  For me, this was not a sustainable way to live.  I needed to change my environment to one which emphasized these tendencies, rather than suppressed them.

Common Myths

For years however I was unaware this was even a possibility…

‘Surely you’re meant to be serious at work?’…’Isn’t dealing with boring people at work just part of the job?’

These were assumptions I lived by and they held me back from uncovering the true happiness one can derive from work.

The sad truth is that these myths -and the misalignments they produce- are commonplace amongst employees throughout the world.

Do you see similarities in my story? 

If you’re a bit of a dickhead like me, I am here to tell you it’s OK.  There is a place for you to not only survive, but thrive…it’s just a matter of finding the right fit.

Business Mentoring

Removing The Shackles

The problem is that many people generally agree that work can provide joy and satisfaction but are yet to be fully convinced that finding a job exactly matching their skills and personality is actually possible.

Many people who are moderately happy in their work -and aware of this-  are held back by the belief that this is a good as it gets.

I am here to shake this myth; to issue a rallying cry to the doubters and the nay sayers. 

Your work can -and SHOULD- be an extension of you!

When it is…magic happens!

The Dangers of Pursuing Passions

I should make it clear, I am not one of these dreamland residents who believes that simply finding ones passions and blindly pursuing them, is the correct path to follow.

To promote something so simplified is ill-conceived and reckless.   A market needs to exist first.

What I do believe is that for the Untamed out there, creating your own concept and tailoring it around the real you is the most effective way of narrowing your work life alignment and achieving happiness. 

For more on the idea of creating your own concept, check out another Ramble The Modern Way of Working Pt 1 and Part II.

Pursue passions

What Is The Cost of Misalignment?

Unbeknownst to many, living a misaligned life has numerous negative implications, beyond that of ones happiness levels. 

The following symptoms often prevail when a gulf between the work you and the real you exists.  The greater the gulf, the greater the effects.

  • Exhaustion
  • Feeling drained at the end of a work day
  • Lack of clear identity
  • Lack of confidence at work
  • Lack of engagement
  • Lack of productivity
  • Lack of fulfilment
  • Lack of satisfaction
  • Reduced happiness

Any of these sound familiar? 

At the risk of sounding dramatic, a large misalignment is like leading two separate lives.  Barring the odd superhero example, this rarely goes well. 

Come to think of it, even they suffer from the strain.  If Batman struggles to find the energy to maintain two identities, what makes you think you can?

The End Result?

Only by establishing our identity and thoroughly analysing our present situation, can we begin to understand the basic components our dream business needs to possess.

Upon conducting my own review, I soon realized that no job existed that was aligned closely enough with my strengths, passions and interests to bother pursuing…I decided to create my own.

My work is now almost exactly aligned with who I am, and what I am best at.  I work harder now than ever but it neither feels like work, nor drains me of energy. 

I love my daily interactions and rather than hiding from my natural tendencies, my business is shaped by them!

It all started with an honest self assessment about where I stood and what I really wanted. 

I urge you to do the same.

Work Life Alignment Review Test

To take the full test and establish your work life alignment, click here.


Sources

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Escape the rat race

The Modern Way Of Working – Part II

6 Ways To Reduce Work/Life Misalignment

The way I see it, the reason any of us feel dissatisfied, bored, demotivated or unfulfilled in our work is down to a misalignment.  A misalignment between what you’re good at, what you consider enjoyable, worthwhile and purposeful; and what you're actually engaged in/paid to do. 

The bigger the gap between the two, the more dissatisfied you’ll be.

Thank fully, there are many different ways one can make changes in their life to align their work more closely with their strengths and passions.

In fact I have identified 6, listed here in order of risk and reward:

  1. Adjust current role - ‘Job Crafting’
  2. Change roles within current company
  3. Change companies
  4. Become freelance
  5. Start your own company using existing concept
  6. Create a concept

As you can see, of these 6, some are simple requiring only minor tweaks to your existing situation.  As we move down the list however, more and more commitment and effort is required for successful execution.

It is number 6 I will be discussing here.  The riskiest but most rewarding of all: ‘create a concept’.

Wipe the Slate Clean

This idea centres on effectively wiping the slate clean and designing your work-life from based around you.    

Ask any sculptor whether they would rather create a masterpiece out of someone else’s half-finished creation, or a fresh lump of clay and we all know the answer.

Working a role who's job description was written by someone else, alongside colleagues recruited by someone else and for clients amassed by someone else, is the vocational equivalent of being handed a half finished statue and told to ‘work with what you’ve got’.

When working within a system designed by someone else, long before they even met you, what are the chances that it will closely align with your personality and abilities?  Slim.

Even the most flexible of working systems will ignore some of your greatest abilities and demand focus on your weaknesses.

Now imagine being given a fresh lump of clay, a nice clean slate, a blank canvas, or any other artistic metaphors you can think of.  Now imagine crafting a role based entirely around you, your gifts, your passions and your interests.

Imagine never having to pretend to be someone you're not.  Imagine realizing that what you thought were your biggest weaknesses, were actually your biggest strengths and that you could become the author of your own narrative? 

Find Your Flow

Think back to times when you were in your element -or ‘the zone’ if you're American -and remember how good that felt.  How quickly the time passed and how energized you felt afterwards.  Now imagine being in this state most of the time.

All this is possible if you take the leap and design your work life around you!  I know because I did it.

From dispassionately managing an engineering company, I wiped the slate clean and started afresh.  I critically analyzed my strengths, interests and passions and, over time, designed a whole new business around them.  A business that would make full use of my unique make-up and allow me to fulfil my potential.

To give you a quick idea of what I’m talking about I have listed these below and described how I am now engaging with them on a daily basis.

Passions and Interests

Current Engagement

Desire to help people

Coaching/mentoring on a daily basis

Love of all things entrepreneurial

Mentoring those who wish to become entrepreneurs

Craving for freedom and variety

Every client, every session and every day is different.

Travelling and working on our own agenda

Love of travel and adventure

Living a nomadic lifetsyle with my partner Kim, moving between the most spectacular places in the world

Love of talking

I now get paid for it

Strengths

Current Engagement

Communicating/interacting with people

My role is based on this

Helping people

My role is based on this

Self awareness

Understanding who I am enables me to know who I am able to help

Seeing the big picture

Analyzing my own journey that led to this point

I could go on but won't for fear of sounding sanctimonious.  I do hope you get my point though.

The point is, my previous role, however much autonomy I thought I had, wasn’t very aligned with the left-hand column above.  The longer this situation continued, the more disengaged, unhappy and unfulfilled I would become.

The same could be happening to you but without taking a long hard look at the situation, it is often hard to see. 

There’s Room For Everyone

The biggest obstacle preventing most of you from turning your current situation on it’s head and designing your own work life is in fact, your limiting beliefs. 

In my experience, these limiting beliefs stem from the idea that there is no value in your story or the skills you bring to the table.  That you are simply one of the herd and no more special than the next person.

Without turning this into a motivational rant, I am here to tell you that this is simply not true and that everyone has the potential to add their unique value to the marketplace.  It’s merely a matter of finding the right place in the market and the best vehicle to deliver it.

This statement has never more been more true than right now.  The world is changing rapidly and it’s dragging the workplace with it.

No Time Like The Present

An aging population, new technologies and environmental crises are all having impacts on the job market.

Industries that didn’t even exist 10 years ago now employ millions of people worldwide. 

App devlepers, driverless car engineers, drone pilots and professional e-sports players are just a few examples of entirely new ways to make money.

This rapid rise in new forms of income is only just beginning.  According to The World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school now, will ultimately end up working in jobs that are yet to be created!


The trick is to look past the stagnant mainstream labour markets listed on sites like Monster, Indeed and LinkedIn.  If you limit yourself to the mainstream, you’ll end up being mainstream.  Think new and think niche.

For every product that’s invented, macro trend that’s established or industry that’s disrupted, there is a myriad of opportunities created off their back. 

Traditional work sector dividing lines are becoming blurred meaning unique hybrid businesses and skill sets are not just accepted, but welcomed. 

Allied to this, the barriers to entry into this dynamic new market are lower than ever.  New technologies, crowd funding, access to information and availability of valuable resources mean it has never been easier to create, test, market and deliver a new concept.

Last night I chatted to a gentleman who had grown tired of the rigid structure imposed by the ad agency he worked for back in his native Poland.

His previous company had pigeon holed him into repetitive graphic design projects affording him minimal creative license.  He realized that his craving for variety coupled with his strong personal interest in marketing provided a foundation on which a unique concept could be crafted.

He carved his own niche and now spends his life travelling the world designing bespoke branding and complete marketing strategies for businesses.  He engages in both the hands on graphic design work, the strategic thinking and the implementation of his clients marketing concepts. 

A unique work-life design that built entirely around him and his story.

An Open Invite

The fundamental concept behind creating your own concept is to take two  our morepreviously separated sectors and create your own new one, most aligned with your skills and interests.  It’s as simple as that. 

The common mistake most people make is to hear stories about what people like Richard Branson or Elon Musk have done and assume you need to be some sort of modern day superhero to play the game.

Whilst admiring what these amazing people have done and seeking inspiration and guidance from their achievements is a recommended strategy, it often leads to a sense of worthlessness by comparison.

Making these comparisons is dangerous.  It can single handedly quash any dreams you may be cultivating, and is to avoided at all costs.

The fact of the matter is, with a small amount of money; some creative thinking; a dose of confidence in your own abilities and good old fashioned work ethic, the dream of fulfilling your potential and living your passions and purpose is available to many.

Life is too short to pass the time, unfulfilled in a role that doesn’t make full use of our talents.

Look around and realize the opportunities that are out there.  Analyse your situation. 

If your talents are being restricted by a pre-determined structure, designed by someone else and misaligned with your strengths and passions, now is the time to take the first steps to designing your own life and write your own story.

Sources

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Escape 9-5

The Modern Way Of Working – Part I

Part I

Preface:

Before I get into this Ramble I’d like to clarify something. The below theories are generic and applied in wide brush strokes to inherently complex subjects.
Discussions around macro topics such as generational differences will always disregard countless exceptions and no doubt as you read this, you will know of many. I certainly do.
For brevities sake however, I had to take a big picture view and keep the details light on! I hope you enjoy.

Maslow Was Onto Something

The idea of pursuing a life of purpose and meaning is one which has grown some serious legs in recent years. As millennials -us lot born between 1980-2000- begin to dominate the workplace, the old notions of what a ‘J-O-B’ represents, are being ushered out and replaced by a fresh new set of beliefs.

“Works work” and “work is not meant to be fun”, were both central pillars of the Baby boomers and, to a lesser extent Gen X’s thinking for over 50 years.

However, as any psychologist -or parent for that matter- will tell you, the more one gets, the more one wants. 50 years ago, kids were delighted to be given a jam sandwich for Christmas, nowadays an Xbox with only one controller is taken as some kind of punishment.

Spoilt gits aside, the concept of never being satisfied can be applied to anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time.
Let’s look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs to help illustrate my point.

Work with purpose
Image: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Whilst his theory was designed to be applied to human motivations as a whole, employment plays such a significant role in our overall motivations, that it can be taken in isolation and still be a relevant analysis.

The Evolution of Employment

As recently as the 1960’s, a job was generally excepted only to provide the basic human needs of food, water and shelter. If it put bread on the table, it was good enough, regardless of the hours, duties, monotony or health implications.

Fast forward a couple of decades. With those demands met, psychological needs came into the equation. People began turning to the workplace to provide relationships and a sense of belonging. The job title, or description were yet to come into play but people wanted more than just any old job.

Then came the 1980’s and the Yuppies. As the world transitioned from an industrial economy to a information economy, it changed the employment landscape and gave rise to a new breed of worker, hungry for more.

Suddenly it was all about the pursuit of prestige and personal achievement. Flash suits, a company car and a posh title represented success and a job well done. Often, the credibility of the job was as important as the work itself.

Of course this was not the first time humans had expressed a desire to be recognized or feel a sense of accomplishment but it was the first time that it was an achievable goal for the masses.

Our Own Office Is No Longer Enough

And now we find ourselves on the cusp of the next level of Maslow’s human needs, self-actualisation.

A pay cheque, healthy relationships, company laptop and the word ‘manager’ in our title, are no longer enough to satisfy us. We’re now on the hunt for something deeper and more meaningful.

A Little Aside
A desire to seek purpose and fulfilment through work is limited not just to millennials. As Bill Burnett from Stanford University points out, baby boomers all over the world are now searching for what he calls an “encore career” to provide them with the sense of purpose that eluded them throughout their working lives.

Where was I? Ah yes, millennials have been raised on the idea that we can make of ourselves what we want. That the world is our lobster and we need only tap into our talents, to achieve amazing things.

As is hopefully quite apparent from previous Ramblings, I am firmly in this camp. In fact I live by it…literally.

The Search Is Getting Harder

I do however realize the implications this self-confidence and expectation has on our job satisfaction. It has essentially raised the bar of what we consider a ‘good job’ and made our quest for happiness in the workplace that much harder.

Think about it. Back when i-phone was still a verb, any old job was enough. How else can the clamouring for work down the carbon-monoxide-rich mines in 1960’s Britain be explained?

Nowadays, it’s a different story of course. For a company to truly appeal to many in the modern workforce it must serve a greater purpose, provide opportunities for personal growth, allow freedom of expression and imbue it’s employees with a sense of self-worth.

And rightly so in my view. We work for around 80,000 hours in our lifetime -a figure that is increasing rapidly as we live longer and save less. That’s way too much time to spend feeling unfulfilled or pretending to be someone you’re not.

Whether you agree with me or not, millions of people do and are finding it increasingly hard to achieve true happiness in their jobs.

You’re Looking In the Wrong Place

The main reason for this? You’re looking in the wrong place!

The way the modern workforce view their working life may be changing fast, but the marketplace as a whole is not.

Pioneering companies like Google, Facebook and Airbnb aside, the majority of organizations simply cannot keep pace with the rapidly evolving expectations of it’s workers.

Institutions, governments and large non-tech corporations are the biggest culprits but they're by no means alone. For now, employers who pay genuine attention to the emotional needs of their staff and put measures in place to ensure they’re addressed, are the exception, not the rule.

With this in mind, if you're conducting your search in such places, you will likely be left bitterly disappointed.

The Solution

Fear not young cohorts, I am here yet again to offer a suggestion.

But first, a caveat if I may.

This suggestion will only provide value to those who:

  • Feel unfulfilled in their current situation
  • Firmly believe they have more to give
  • Want to tailor their work around their passions and strengths
  • Can tolerate a bit if risk
  • Are ready to commit to making drastic changes in order to make it happen

If the above criteria apply to you and you REALLY ARE ready to make the necessary changes in order to pursue your purpose and fulfil your potential, then please read Part II of this Ramble.

Sources

https://www.google.co.th/search?q=maslow%27s+hierarchy+of+needs&espv=2&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiCmfeC8bnTAhXFp48KHZUBCx8Q_AUIBigB&biw=1440&bih=775#imgrc=YekJpXlxRIRUuM:

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