“How you do anything is how you do everything”…
Here I was on a first date getting through the initial chit chat and sipping a hot chocolate, when my date started describing what sounded like a fever… (of the medical rather than romantic kind.)
It became obvious to me that this person had a raging infection and needed urgent treatment... He’d postponed it to go on the date!
It was flattering…My pupils dilated…and my medical instincts kicked in.
A short 15 minutes later, we are at the local hospital emergency department and wound up exchanging smiles over his intravenous antibiotic drip…
I probably didn’t need to have gone that far - he was a perfectly competent adult. But the rescuer/doctor took over.
It got me thinking about the relationship between work and play, and how we balance our roles.
EVOLVING TO GIVE BETTER
Traits that are ingrained early in life will colour all your activities, so it’s important to be aware of them so that you control them not the other way around.
When honed your dominant trait is a gift. When out of control it is destructive.
As someone with strong rescuer tendencies, my default is to take responsibility and make sure everything is OK. It’s been the biggest trait in my work identity and shows up in my personal life.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to help others and care about their wellbeing…I love that part of who I am. Caring and compassion are the most important pillars for a healthy society together with trust and respect.
But if your life and relationships are chaotic and you can’t step back from your trait even if you want to, the alarm bell should ring…it’s likely that it’s taken over and become a compulsion.
The compulsive aspect is the reason you might find yourself overgiving, overworking and burning out or neglecting an aspect of your life in favour of another.
Your gift has become hijacked by your mammalian brain for survival purposes rather than creative self-expression…
What’s your dominant personal trait? What would it look like to nurture it to full expression without losing your control of it?
See video for tips on evolving the rescuer.
HOW YOU RELATE TO ANYTHING IS HOW YOU RELATE TO EVERYTHING
Working with doctors who are up to big things in life and transforming their careers to reflect more of who they are (by finding a more suitable role, setting up their own company, becoming thought leaders, etc), it struck me that the stages of growth as humans are reflected in the stages of career development:
Stage 1: Needs
This is about survival and getting your needs met - mostly about taking.
You work (using your gift/talent) to meet your basic needs which in the Tony Robbins framework are safety, challenge, significance and connection.
Growth occurs as you become aware of destructive habits e.g. overgiving at work and start to see yourself as a powerful creator rather than a needy, isolated ego.
Stage 2: Balance
This is an intermediate stage where you enjoy giving and taking.
You put in place boundaries to make sure you have time to rest and enjoy life. You start to develop good habits of communication and work.
It’s a phase where you might re-evaluate your career and make headspace to create a new vision for the next phase. Here you might experiment with your talents/gifts or revive forgotten ones.
Stage 3: Flow and focus
Here, giving and taking are not different but part of a single cycle that flows naturally. You receive to give better.
You start to tap consistently into the sophisticated cognitive faculties of intuition and focus which allow you to flow in the moment rather than act out habits or patterns.
Your gifts/talents find their full expression on a moment-to-moment basis.
You’re less interested in the externals that might meet your needs and more in the experience of growth, flow and fulfilment as your guidance mechanism.
Of course, this is just a framework and life is much less clear cut. In fact, we tend to jump between states depending on stress levels.
Perhaps you can think about the percentage of time you spend in each of the stages. Where is your dominant experience?
Have a good week,
p.s. I opened a couple of spots last month for my six month coaching programme “Create a Career and Life you Love” which were both filled. I’m planning to open a couple more soon. If you’re interested in deep personal development that will take you out of your comfort zone and into growth, flow and fulfilment, email me on email@example.com and tell me a little about your situation and what you want to create in your life. My only requirements are that you dream big, are not afraid of discomfort and want to benefit yourself and others.
Reinventing careers, transforming lives.