Issue 05.1.2011

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Your Company

May 11, 2011

In This Issue:

* Steve’s Field Note
* Advisory Board – Spread the word!
* Trailblazing TV
* Tapa Palapa Radio Show Menu
* Feature – “Natural Way Of Being”

Steve’s Field Note

Hello, Trailblazer!

We have a puppy!

On Saturday afternoon before Easter Sunday, my wife told me that one of her friends at the riding stable was giving away puppies. They were a mix of whippet and Italian greyhound. The mother and father hooked up while their family was overseas for a few weeks.

I think I knew as soon as my wife said this that we would have a puppy. But my first thought was, Right now? We’re not ready! I didn’t get an advance notice that some puppies would be placed in homes in a month or so. It was home-placing time.

My son and I drove up to the stable the next day to meet my wife at her riding lesson and see the puppies. Turns out they had placed two of the four and were keeping one, so only one was available. Here’s a picture of her playing in our yard the next day. Who could have said “no” to her?

Here she is chewing on our whippet’s favorite toy. Charlie didn’t know what to think of a playful, pushy little puppy. He still isn’t sure if he likes her or wants to avoid her. I think that means she’s becoming his little sister.

Shortly after we brought her home I was getting a sore neck from shaking my heading and asking, “What were we thinking?” But then I remembered… we were thinking about getting a puppy! Or, more accurately, we were thinking about getting a young dog.

This was several months back, when our oldest dog had died. Charlie is – or was – our youngest. He is active and loves to run, and our crotchety old little Italian greyhounds weren’t interested in playing with him. We were looking at adopting a female whippet from a rescue society.

We saw a few online but all were far away and the transportation and adoption fees were pretty high, so we decided to wait. But our intention was to have a younger whippet who could run as fast as Charlie and be his playmate. When we weren’t even looking, an ideal puppy was offered to us. She is fast enough to keep up with Charlie, and will be big enough that he won’t hurt her. But she’ll be smaller than he is, so the little dogs won’t be threatened.

Sometimes you don’t realize you’re ready because you don’t realize you’ve been getting ready for a while. Turns out we were ready.

We named her Bella. Isn’t she beautiful?

Thank you for letting me be part of your journey. My intention is to help you design a worklife that fits just right. My feature article explains your “natural way of being” and how to include these qualities in your design.

Enjoy the scenery on the Twisting Road!


Advisory Board

That’s you, my subscribers. You are my best advisors. If you like what you read, please tell your family and friends. If you don’t like something, please tell me!

Trailblazing TV

This weekly (so far) show is my latest play project. An episode lasts 3-5 minutes and focuses on one tip for navigating life as a free agent or small business owner.

The latest episode is “You Are Not The Lone Ranger.” Click the picture to watch it, and let me know if this shirt is a better color. Really. My wife will appreciate your input.

Another episode should be posted this evening, but I have an unusually packed schedule and it’s been raining (I like to film outdoors) so I don’t know if it will be up by then! But if I know you’ll be stopping by I’ll have it ready as soon as I can.

Tapa Palapa Radio Show

Tapa Palapa is a short weekly radio show, around 12 minutes per episode, available through the internet.

This month our menu theme is “Circle of Champions.” We’re talking about the friends and family members who support and encourage and comfort you. They stand by your side and they have your back.

Our weekly topics:
* Who’s in your tribe? (May 3)
* Finding your champions (May 10)
* Being a champion (May 17)
* Champions 2.0 (May 24)
* Wildcard Wednesday! (June 1)

For April our menu theme was “Play Is Serious Work.” We discussed the importance of fun and recreation in a healthy, balanced life. All four episodes from April are available so you can listen to them in order at our website.

Click here to stream or download the show through iTunes.

“Natural Way Of Being”

In the world of teaching and coaching around custom-designed careers and small businesses, it’s very common to hear people talk about finding your calling, working at what you love, and following your passions. You’ll hear gifts and talents mentioned pretty frequently, too. But there’s another component that I always add, because it rounds out the picture for me. I call it your “natural way of being.”

It’s pretty ironic that I added this category to the mix. In graduate school my absolutely least favorite course was career counseling. It was all about using different kinds of assessments to label people and aim them to their appropriate boxes. You like to work alone and think logically? You should be a legal researcher! You like seeing how things work but you’re not in tune with feelings? You’re an auto mechanic!

The whole label-and-box thing goes against my values, and against my own natural way of being, so I dismissed the concept. I didn’t see the value in assessing someone’s “type” until I arrived at it inductively in my own thought process. Now that I have worked with clients on custom-designing different aspects of their lives, I realize there are rhythms and patterns and preferences that must be considered.

If someone loves SCUBA diving and tropical living, for example, it’s not reasonable to suggest that person run a dive shop in the Caribbean without knowing some other things. We have to discuss natural way of being. How do you interact with other people? Do you like large groups, small teams, working in isolation, or a mixture? Do you like a set schedule or a lot of variety? Do you like work that has a beginning, middle, and end, or do you prefer ongoing things? Do you like organizing and arranging or just doing your part?

The answers to those questions help fine-tune the suggestions. Maybe the SCUBA diver is organized and outgoing and would do well with a dive shop or tour business. Maybe the SCUBA diver prefers flexibility and solitude but has an artistic eye, so would do better with underwater photography. Maybe the diver is an observer with an orderly mind so would enjoy participating in scientific research. Maybe maintaining and repairing the SCUBA equipment is a better choice.

I only realized recently, as in about a week ago, that assessment information helps define what I call natural way of being. We started reviewing assessments in my strategic career coaching class last week. I was on a call with my homework partner and I was fussing and grousing about using assessments in the career search process. I explained that they’re used to point to specific jobs, not to creative self-employment. So she asked me what sorts of information I use with people designing businesses.

I told her about a few categories, including “natural way of being.” I said it defines the rhythms and patterns a person prefers, how they like to interact with people, if they prefer service or making things or working on things, and what kind of work environment they prefer. As I spoke, I realized I was talking, in part, about psychological type. I was shocked. I had crossed over to the dark side!

But not fully. I wasn’t embracing using assessments to point people at boxes. I was seeing the value in using assessments to increase self-awareness to help people design careers that align with their deep nature, with who they really are. I was using this power for good. I found the way to take assessments out of the hands of the label-and-box crowd and use them with my tribe of unique individuals who are designing their own paths.

I now understand how to liberate assessments. If you have taken the Meyers-Briggs (MBTI), DISC, Strong Interest Inventory, or the Holland personality types test, you can use that information as you custom-design your business. Just tear out the part in the report that points you to job boxes. Forget what categories or examples of careers it recommends. Look at what it tells you about yourself, not about boxes.

Sadly, less creative thinkers come up with less creative answers. They see, “quiet, logical thinker, orderly and organized,” and look at a list of boxes and figure accountant is a good fit. It would never cross their minds that this person, who also loves the creative energy of studio artists, might be jazzed about helping artists manage their business operations. They would have to set aside the boxes and consider more individualized information about the person.

But fear not. This tale has a happy ending. Helping people integrate their uniqueness into their worklife design, free of boxes, is exactly what I do.

Let’s Connect:

The Twisting Road Traveler is a publication of Stephen Coxsey and Twisting Road Media

Copyright (C) 2011 Stephen Coxsey and Twisting Road Media
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