The other day, I found myself explaining to an acquaintance just what it is that I do. I thought it was a legitimate question. After all, I’m not a doctor or a lawyer or a fire chief. Most people would not have heard of what I do, and even if they had, they still might not be sure what it is.
I’ve heard the question quite a few times lately and so I imagine that trotting out my stock answer isn’t what the Universe has in mind for me. I find that we’re not usually asked to repeat something if we don’t need to go over it again and catch something we’ve missed. Therefore, I answered this woman’s question very carefully.
Many of you have worked with me in the past and so you may know one or several aspects of what I do. I have explained each aspect before and I think I have the descriptions pretty tight by now. I am, variously and in combination, a therapist, coach, management and communication skills trainer, psychic, healer, medium and writer. And while I am all of these, they don’t really define the essence of what I do.
I suspect that it isn’t so much what I do that needs capturing so much as it is who I am. When I graduated from school with a management degree under my belt, I looked for a vocation that would allow me to use who I was, with only limited matches. At twenty-two years old, I was still trying to think conventionally and I didn’t fully understand who I was.
Now, at closer to fifty than forty-five, I am much clearer about who I am, and therefore what I do. Firstly, I think I’m a diagnostician. Here’s what I said to that acquaintance I was telling you about… No matter where you put me, I soak up the environment and try to make sense of it.
I use every tool at my disposal. I call it my kit-bag. Think of me as an intelligent sponge. I soak up the environment and process it. In the best-case-scenario I can discern a pattern that means something to someone around me. In a family setting, an office, an organization, a relationship, a classroom or across the world, that could mean that what I pick up provides a different perspective, an insight, a challenge, some recognition or in some cases, just a starting place for figuring things out.
In my kit bag is who I am; all the skills I’ve acquired and practiced, all the experiences I’ve had, all the experiences I’ve listened to, all the books I’ve read and all my talents. We all have them – talents, I mean. I believe we are meant to use them. They are our ‘unfair advantage’ and we’re meant to share them in whatever way we can.
The really minimalist thing about what I do is that I don’t need any supplies or infrastructure. All I need is me and my senses. And the person or group with whom I’m working. That’s why I can work in a coffee shop, a park, a plane or an office. Information is information. It doesn’t matter if it comes in the form of words/sounds, body language, energy, prayers or pictures. Ultimately, everything has a feeling to it.
That brings me to the second part of what I do … I talk, or write, and watch for feedback. Sometimes it feels a bit like translation because not all of what I ‘pick up’ when I’m in ‘sponge mode’ translates easily into language, but I do my best. I’m clear that I don’t have all the answers. My job is to assist. Synergy and synchronicity are key ingredients. I never know what I’m going to be assisting with, from day to day. That’s what makes my life so exciting, and interesting.
Back in the days when I didn’t really understand what I was doing, when I thought I was a management trainer in the hospitality industry, I was asked by my then out-going boss to give her some feedback on what she was like as a boss, and what I thought she could improve upon. I took this request very seriously and went away overnight to consider carefully just what I should say to her that would be useful in her new job.
We had lunch the next day and I gave her my feedback. Now, given what I have been doing for the last twenty-five years, I realize that what I did for her was a psychic reading combined with observation. The poor woman probably didn’t know what hit her. Don’t get me wrong; it was professional, respectful constructive and thoughtful. But it was also very accurate and somewhat disconcerting. I honestly didn’t know what I was giving her.
Nowadays I work with more awareness stemming from having lived for another twenty-five years. I’ve learned to expand the parameters of what I call ‘work’. The woman who asked the question of me the other day was explaining about a team-building intervention in which she had participated at work a short while ago. I’ve conducted those in my time but I’m clear that while I’m a good trainer, it’s not the best use of my skills.
This is what I do where I have an advantage:
1. soak up ‘vibes’ and make observations
2. find a way to communicate them
3. listen to the feedback and refine the observations
4. help the person or group to make a plan, if needed, and assess their progress
Once a person or group has figured out what they’re working on and why, the REAL issues, that’s half the battle won. The rest can be accomplished with skill and logistics. I’m not afraid to work ‘outside the box’ and my ego doesn’t require that anyone even need to know I’ve been there. I read a web site the other day where the author referred to this as a secret adviser. I call it Private Counsel but that doesn’t really do it justice. It’s just a tag.
Do you think this answers the question?