(Written 26 December 2014)
This is basically an extension of No Gurus Please. I’m publishing these separately because I wrote that article over a month ago, yet it’s interesting that it was next in line to be posted from my older articles because it speaks to what’s been on my mind: building and reaching out to a community.
I am steadily moving toward what I suspect will be a jump
into further experimentation with business. You know, the part where I do more
than write blog articles.
I’ve mentioned that I’m in the process of writing a book and I am interested in public speaking. But those aren’t my only interests.
I originally planned on offering personal one-on-one coaching through my website. For the most part I figured I would keep it basic and free for a little while, and develop it further as I go along.
As I got into writing more I thought I would base my coaching primarily on self-disclosure. I wanted to be the person that people could discuss anything with freely, personal matters in particular. I would, of course, do more listening than talking, as one goal would be for the other person to feel heard out and sane (I just want someone that I can talk to… Billy Joel sang it before I typed it!).
This person- I’ll call him the client- would practice honesty, and my practice of openness would better enable him to do so. The client would practice openness by exploring his thoughts and desires as well as different solutions to the situation at hand. My practice of honesty in this aspect (i.e. in regard to what I think) would better enable him to be open.
Exploration, of course, entails adventure. I suspect that discussion about topics you generally keep off-limits would be at least mildly adventurous, no? :) We would use foresight to show you that while your matters may bring about adventure of some sort they probably don’t mean that you’re crazy nutso (at least, not too much). Foresight would also be of use in problem-resolution.
Lastly, Love would take the form of you connecting with yourself more strongly and acknowledging yourself as you are. Of course, I too would practice love by seeing you as a wonderful person who is an extension of myself and a valuable piece of humanity. This would better enable you to see yourself this way.
I want you to have a stronger sense of being connected to other people. You don’t always have to go it alone and keep your problems to yourself. Yes, you ultimately are responsible for your problems, and as such you must be the one to take the most action to resolve them. But would it tarnish your manliness to reach out about them? Might your thinking be clarified by talking with another person?
Even if you don’t think you have a problem, could reflecting on and exploring your life with an open mind shed some light on your overall situation? Could you discover some things about yourself you didn’t know, and come to understand yourself better? Instead of spinning your wheels without forward motion day after day, could you make a stop at honesty and introspection- with someone helping you out- to see what might really be going on here?
My love would also be manifest in my simply desiring and attempting to help you. No worries- I wouldn’t love you too much, if that’s a rough term for you. :P
Roadblocks to Coaching
This sounds at least somewhat lovely now that I write this out in completeness. However, I’ve had some qualms about it lately. It seems too easy on my part. I feel like my role would be way too passive. Would anyone see this as worthwhile? I’m not sure how much I’d really be helping people. How easily could I be replaced by a journal or a good friend?
Of course, the point of this would be that you talk about things you feel you can’t with your friends. Perhaps most of your relationships, like mine, are more superficial than you’d like them to be, yet you struggle to deepen them. Maybe your friends will listen to you, but they’re just too invested in you continuing to be as they’re used to you. That, or they just aren’t really interested in helping you. But how many people does this really apply to?
In addition, do I sound too similar to a therapist? That’s what I really would like to avoid, but in actuality I may be walking right into it. Yet there would be key differences, particularly in regard to session length (it ends when you’re ready for it to—there’s no pre-set time) and my compared lack of having an agenda for you. Of course, I don’t have a collection of labels waiting to be stuck on to you, either. Yet I suppose my approach would work better for some, whereas conventional psychotherapy would pan out better for others. At this point it’s hard to say how.
Getting to the Heart of My Work (AKA the Meat of the Matter)
Lately I’ve been wondering if there might be a better way for me to help others move toward Realness. Sometimes I ask myself, “How can I better construct a Real person?” but that of course sounds highly mechanical and might, consequently, make people throw up. But I wrote it anyway.
Maybe the real question is, “How can I help people to construct themselves as they’d like to be?” Now that sounds much juicier, and it respects self-determination. I don’t want to build a line of robots anyway. If I did I might have studied Computer Engineering like my bro is currently doing. Sorry, Jared, but I have no plans to join you at this time.
“Real” will look different for everyone. Victor Frankl wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning that an individual’s uniqueness is what endows his life with meaning. I don’t have a pre-packaged idea of what I want you to become, and I definitely don’t want you to be like me. I want you to be like you, because that’s who you are best at being. Being yourself isn’t some fluffy silliness—it’s how you get the most leverage out of your life. It’s how you can best contribute to this world and enjoy it, too.
Being yourself also entails becoming a better version of yourself, because “yourself” isn’t static. If it was, well, then I’m not sure why we’d be here.
There is no concrete image of what alignment with the Realness principles look like; this is particularly true for Adventure and Love. There are basic tenets of what you need to do to align with these, but the product is ultimately individualized.
Honesty, for instance, requires that you live as you truly would like to, but this will of course will be different for everyone.
Openness asks you to accept what’s arising in your reality right now, but “what is” will obviously be different for everyone.
Adventure wants you to take action on your goals, ideas, and desires—particularly the big, hairy, crazy ones. Yet one man’s adventure may be another’s dead-end.
Foresight wants you see life more accurately, but Truth ultimately varies from person to person. No two people can interpret and construct Truth in the same way.
Lastly, Love wants you to be engaged and enjoy life, but what you engage with is up to you. I can’t tell you what makes you come alive, nor can anyone else. That is on you to find out.
Maybe my biggest qualm (I like that word) is that I want to put my time and energy into something that I really, really think is awesome. I know it’s better to help people somehow than not at all, and I know there are countless ways which I could make money, but to simply resort to something fairly-typical is too easy. I don’t need to be different, but I care most about doing work that truly aligns with my values and abilities. I want to do something that I can more or less be number 1 at, and maybe which only I can do.
The only person who can carry out all the activities of your life and do them exactly as you do them is you. This particular activity in myself that I’m trying to uncover won’t be, of course, the only thing I can do or even the only way I contribute. It is the total collection of your life activities that make you special- not just one or two particular activities.
Thus, the activity I am trying to construct must complement the other activities of my life well. Based on those it would only make logical sense for me to engage in this, too. It would be fueled by and also fuel my other activities.
I would like my mode of helping to be travel-friendly. I have been considering more or less living on the road, starting hopefully by the middle of 2015, though the exact measures of this are so far unclear. I suspect the amount of time I spend in each location would vary. I’d like to be able to land somewhere, help people, and in time move on to the next place.
I know “help people” is used very vaguely here. It’s meant to be, because I don’t know exactly what that helping would look like (which is why I’m writing this piece). I would ideally do most of my helping in-person, yet it might be tough to, for instance, find coaching clients within days of arriving at a place. Speaking engagements and events I put on would probably have to be relatively pre-planned, but just how far in advance would that have to happen?
A number of ideas that I’ve had some difficulty articulating concretely have come my way. This is true, for instance, of live events. I know that I could get up on a stage and share my thoughts with people with relative ease (I’m not perfect but I’m not terrible). But there’s some other thing which has been poking me yet running away before I can turn around to see it. Really there are other things doing this to me. Those sneaky foxes.
I suppose what I ultimately am looking to do is reach out to people more- particularly the visitors to my website. Thus far you, the readers, and I have had a fairly passive relationship with one another. I write the articles and put them up, you (supposedly) read them and go about your merry way.
I’ve reminded myself that you can help to change people’s lives without your awareness of doing so. A number of books and blogs have done massive wonders for me, but I’ve never spoken a word to any of the authors. Perhaps this makes me a part of the “silent majority” which enjoys and benefits from a piece of work yet says nothing about it. I must keep in mind that I may too have such a majority.
This relationship can be productive, but certainly it can go farther. For most of the people who visit my website it won’t, and I don’t expect it to. But for a percentage of these potentially-lost travelers a more active relationship with me of some sort would be a delight. It may not have to be incredibly involved; for instance, Tim Ferriss often attempts to engage his readers by encouraging them to donate to charities and non-profits. It’s a simple gesture, yet I’m sure his readers appreciate the opportunity to take a more active role in the world, and in turn I’m sure he enjoys being a facilitator of this.
I’ve considered adding a forum, but I’m reluctant to encourage people to spend more time on the Internet in addition to reading my articles. I know those things can get addictive. In addition, at this point I don’t think it’d get a whole lot of action.
What It’s All About
For now I’ll continue going about my life and my work, refining my values and interests and seeing what ideas arise from there. Perhaps I will even offer coaching to generate more ideas and get further clarity on what I would like to do. If it’s something you’d like to see, let me know.
I see my business as an extension of myself- not some separate creation of mine. A major goal is to remain in line with integrity, meaning that I don’t compromise myself nor my work in the name of some metric (e.g. money, web traffic). I aim to do what can best help me grow and what I’d most like to experience, because I know this is also how I best can serve you, so that you too can grow and experience awesomeness. Besides- what would be the good of preaching Realness if I could not myself be Real? The message would be dead, and I’d be but another shallow brand.
Ideally, money will always come second. I know that if I remain true to myself each dollar I earn will be all the more valuable.
I want to be a voice of honesty in a world where that is not always easy to find. I want to serve up honesty to those who are hungry for it. I want to encourage adventure in people who have for too long held themselves back. I want to help people love their lives, themselves, and other people unabashedly, and I want to love just the same. I want to open people’s hearts and minds to these possibilities, and I want them to (fore)see the truth of the falsehood they have prescribed to.
I don’t know about you, but I have long been hungry to get on more Real terms with life. Aligning myself with these principles in all aspects of my life is an immensely gratifying, enjoyable, and of course growth-oriented process.
If these ideas give you goosebumps, I want you, in some way, to be a part of my life and to help spread my message (in a way that feels right to you, of course). If you too would like to be a champion of honesty, adventure, and love (well and the other two) then you definitely have permission and the capacity to do so.
I think coming together would better enable us both to be such people, and this is true even if you have not consciously started on this journey yet. All who wish to live a Real life are welcome to it. It takes time and it certainly takes effort, but it by all means is possible.