“There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.”
– Salvador Dali
Many people have acted as mentors, coaches or trusted advisor throughout my career.
- I wouldn’t have been inspired to learn – if it wasn’t for Colin Clegg
- I wouldn’t have been inspired to follow my dream – if it wasn’t for Peter Keen
- I couldn’t have taken the risks that I have – without Ken van Someren
- I couldn’t have managed at critical moments – if it weren’t for Rosie Mayes
- And I wouldn’t be where I am today – if it wasn’t for my wife – Rachel
I recall the moment that I witnessed the first Olympic gold medal of anyone I had supported on 23rd Sept 2000. After the high of the finish line, the medal ceremony, the pats on backs, I remember just as vividly getting on the bus to the train station and feeling an intense pull towards sport – “I want more of this”. I also remember feeling a strange sense of – “What was that all about? What was the point? Are some of the world’s problems going to be better as a consequence of athletes doing their thing?” I even had a deep reflection of “What have I learnt? What can I now do that I couldn’t before?”
I have used mentors to help me process some of these questions as they have played out for me in my search for more understanding, meaning and challenge, as well as other deep existential questions;
“Why does shopping drain me of all will to live?!”
“Why does all-out exercise warp the space-time continuum?”
When faced at a cross-roads, a time for thinking or rejuvenation, I have found asking the following questions really useful in giving me priority and urging me to seek new opportunities;
Have to: To what extent are my current tasks being demanded of me?
Able to: To what extent do my current tasks match my abilities?
Want to: To what extent does my current tasks align with what I really want to do?
Scoring these on a chart, has at various points helped me solidify how I am feeling and has served to capture my judgements on where I am at.
I have then asked the question – “Am I ok with that?”
– If the answer is “Yes” then I ask a further question – “So, what are you going to put your attention on now to increase your effectiveness”. This question has helped me clarify what area should get my attention.
– If the answer is “No”, then I ask a different question or two – “So, what are you going to do about it?”. “When is the best time to act, how and who is most important in creating change?”
It’s even helped to sketch out what I’d like it to feel like – with a lens of practicality, in that I might want to go cycling on my bike in warm weather, mountainous terrain for 2-3 hours everyday, but in reality I need to put time to getting stuff done and I live in the UK, so drizzle it is!
When we’re faced with reviewing how satisfied, useful and enriched we are, Ernest Hemingway tells us, “We have to get used to the idea that at the most important crossroads in our life there are no signs.” With this in mind we can use these questions to check what and how we feel, why we are doing what we are doing, and if we are making full use of what we can do.
“When I’m drivin’ in my car, and the man come on the radio He’s tellin’ me more and more about some useless information Supposed to fire my imagination”
(Can’t get no) satisfaction, Rolling Stones
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