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personality and story transition wholehearted stories work life

Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

July 30, 2017

heart

Frustrated in the quest to find work and a life you love? Don’t despair, the greatest truth is that our heart always knows the way. 

This is the first guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here.  

In essence, Quiet Writing celebrates wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity and I am keen for a community of voices to be telling their story of what wholehearted living means here in this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am thrilled to have my dear friend, Katherine Bell, as the first ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Katherine and I met through an online course, The Introvert Effect, created by Katherine Mackenzie-Smith. When I talked on a group phone call about my planned transition to a more wholehearted way of life, Katherine reached out to me afterwards, sensing a connection in our stories. We have been firm and amazingly synchronistically connected friends ever since, supporting each other and sharing a love of books and especially of David Whyte, who features in this story.

I hope you enjoy Katherine’s story, poem and exquisite photography. My sincere thanks to Katherine for her beautiful contribution to Quiet Writing.

Starting out on my journey towards wholehearted life and work  

This is not a romantic story. Certainly others found it inspiring to start with—a quest towards a better life is something we can all relate to … for a time. But when the initial 12 months I had planned (what was I thinking?) grew into 18, then 24 … then five years and there were no tangibles like an impressive job title, a book, or the usual manifestations we take as evidence that someone has a successful life … well, cue crickets chirping and tumbleweed rolling down the deserted street.  

Not long after my 39th birthday, with my life in a dire mess, I checked myself into a psychologist. I naively approached this as I would manage a work project, and estimated that I would be fixed before I turned 40. I was about to learn that inner work—deep inner work—is nowhere near linear. My biggest challenge was that I didn’t know what I wanted, despite recognising that I was desperately unhappy. I also felt that something was wrong with me, as the kind of prescribed life my partner of nearly 20 years had envisaged for us—and that everybody else seemed to want as well—was just not me. I felt like the Ugly Duckling, I simply didn’t belong.  

A beacon of hope 

It wasn’t until a friend passed a copy of David Whyte’s ‘Crossing the Unknown Sea—Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity to me around the same time that I recognised a voice like my own for the first time, and dared to hope that there was another way for work, relationship, life— a way that fit with me, instead of my feeble attempts to contort in ever-increasingly painful ways to fit with it. I can vividly recall the night I started to read it. I was in the bathtub (my Fortress of Solitude in those days) again feeling like the Ugly Duckling. But this time, the experience was akin to the duckling’s heart both leaping and aching when he looked up to see beautiful swans—his own kind—flying overhead. I recognised in David Whyte a kindred other who lived at depth, even though I did not quite know what living at depth was at that time.  

heart

This simple, profound recognition was enough to start me on the journey of my own unknown sea. Here, finally, was someone else who had crossed that sea, I recognised his voice, and I knew I belonged in some way to that pilgrimage. Fast forward to the present day, and with a small, knowing smile I say that the recognition was of my own voice. The best gift of David Whyte’s words have not been their beauty, nor their inspiration (as profound as both are) but the validity, the permission, they gave to my own words, my own voice. There was nothing wrong with me after all, I was not a duckling, I was a swan. I had simply been surrounded with voices that did not recognise mine.  

With that first heart-leap of recognition, and the simple permission given by the Wonderful Mr Whyte, I took the plunge into the unknown sea towards work, life and relationship that was wholehearted. I tackled the problem in the only way I knew how to at the time, which was to leave my job, home, partner and city in the same week (not recommended) and take flight to the other side of the world for six weeks. My entire known life was in storage, ready to be dealt with when I got back.  

In this way I jumped into my own metaphorical boat with not a clue (thankfully) of the squally territory that lay ahead, or that I would feel at sea for several years. I say “feel at sea” as in reality we are never truly lost, or alone, it just feels that way, and part of our quest is to be able to endure the inevitable crises of discomfort, discouragement, or despair. It’s a riding out of the storm, knowing that it will eventually pass.  

Allowing our heart direction to emerge 

I think the trip was the only part of the plan that made sense, in hindsight. It gave me the relief and spaciousness I needed—both literally, staying in remote parts of the English countryside and roaming open fields, mountains, and wild clifftops in the rain, and metaphorically, in starting to thaw out from what had been a fraught existence, both at work and home, for long years at a stretch. I felt like I was emerging from a coma and needing to learn what was real again. This was in the smallest of ways to begin with, an almost imperceptible turning of my head and simple noticing of what elicited a positive reaction in me, like surprise at hearing the unfamiliar sound of my own laugh.    

heart

It was a significant shock when I returned to Australia without a home, job, partner or any structure to my life and needed to take the first breath of my new life. I moved to a regional town near my family, embarking on a series of experiments to find work that worked for me. Work, for me, is of central importance, and my experiences with it not working have been as painful as any of my life’s challenges. David Whyte elevates work to the status of a marriage in his book “The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship” and I agree with it being given this priority. This is especially so for those who are creative types—there is no divorcing ourselves from our work, they are one and the same entity.  

In Crossing the Unknown Sea, David Whyte talks of “having a firm persuasion in our work” (p.5) and that has certainly been the crux of my quest, taking precedence over relationship for a time. I have grappled with finding work that is heartfelt and resonant, and what has looked like foolishness to others from a financial perspective has been a dogged determination to settle for nothing less. I certainly miss elements of my former lifestyle, but in resolutely setting my sail to my own course I can say I am at peace and happy.  

My golden rule is that as mine is the only head to hit my pillow each night, I’m best qualified to set that sail, as long as I am staying aligned to what is true for me. It has, however, been stressful in needing to hold out far longer than I envisaged, yet the alternative—the life I used to live and the work I used to do—is no more an option for me as running a race if I no longer had legs. As Whyte’s friend Brother David said to him “You are only half here, and half here will kill you after a while. You need something to which you can give your full powers” (p.132).  

Discovering my work  

The only idea I had about what my right kind of work looked like was that I wanted to write. Knowing that I wasn’t interested in writing fiction was at least a start. I stumbled through exploring writerly activities such as creating a blog, writing poetry, entering writing competitions, and applying for a writing scholarship. However, apart from the cathartic blog and poetry, it felt as though I was contorting myself again into a shape that wasn’t quite right. Thankfully, as Rumi says, “what you seek is seeking you”, and I soon had an opportunity presented to write for a research organisation, work which I found I truly loved. All my clumsy attempts and experiments had in fact been my apprenticeship to the kind of writing I love. In revisiting an earlier journal I discovered the prophetic words:  

“My work will be a melange of my heart – not just one thing, it will be a blend of all the things that make my heart glad: writing, thinking, researching; the alchemy of ideas”. 

Here was evidence that my heart had known all along, I had just not been in a place to hear it, let alone respond to it. 

heart

The benefit of hindsight 

Hindsight shows us that all experiences—even the most painful—prepare us for our own particular work. Some experiences are definitive (like David Whyte’s influence on me, foundational stones to the structure of the work which only we can do) and some are transitional, forming the scaffolding we need to emerge ever so slowly until ready to stand and reveal our work to the world.    

If I could rewind the clock and give myself some advice to make the journey easier, it would centre on the following. 

  • There is no timeframe in matters of the heart, especially when needing to find a way back to life after being metaphorically dead as I was. It will take as long as it will take, even if you are just a little lost. Don’t try to plan and control it; it will only cause additional pain. I think one of the most important things is that any emotional or psychic recovery needs to be given the same credence as a physical injury. I have had to constantly adjust my expectations of the timeframe of recovery, likening it to having every bone, muscle, ligament broken and undergoing extensive rehabilitation, and learning to live again being more than a little changed.    
  • Be kind and patient … with yourself. I wish I had cut myself some slack along the way; I was really doing the best I knew how to at any given point, as feeble as that was. 
  • The truth is not that everything will be OK, it’s that it already is. Time and time again I have had to remind myself “all is well”. Even in the darkest moments, the truth is that everything is working for us when we are aligned to our hearts, not against us.   
  • It’s not a journey with a destination. I’m still not there, and I don’t think I ever will be. As David Whyte says, it’s a ‘continuing conversation’. The important thing is that we keep showing up, open-hearted, looking for the Hansel and Gretel trail that leads us ever homewards, crumbs as clues left behind by an engaged and benevolent Hand (whether we understand that to be our God, our Higher Self, or whatever language we use to give meaning and shape to our spirituality). 

From the time I first recognised David Whyte’s voice (and ultimately my own) in the bath all those years ago to now, I trust my little boat, metaphor for my heart, to carry me ever onwards. I have nothing to fear while I’m aligned to it. My only request is that after several years at stormy sea, I’m soon taken to safe harbour for a little respite, perhaps where I can feel the warmth of the sun of friendship and community on my face. Then, as it is now, all will be well.  

Postscript 

This reflective journey has led me back to a poem that I first started to write as I walked the clifftops in England all those years ago, with my own unknown sea stretched before me. Whilst not originally written with the intention of sharing it, it seems to fit so beautifully into my story that I offer it here.  

 

After

It turns out (in the end) that I am far
stronger than we all thought.

Surprisingly,
I chose to be brave at morning’s first light,
however grey and dim it appeared then.

Turning towards the east
to walk ever closer to the Ocean of Who Knows What,
throwing my face and caution
to the biting wind of my vulnerability,
stripped of all pretence and belief
for better, or for worse:
Strengthened
or at last, Ruined.

In angry defiance
—or quiet acceptance?—
I signed up, took the gamble,
declaring “See here?
This, this is my Mark,
my Consent,
my Line In The Sand
of how I will live and be in this world.
And if I die at this brutal hand
well …
at least I felt the sharp slap and bite of the wind,
the driving rain that hurt my eyes and became my tears,
and the aching weight of loss
after loss
—how will I bear it?—
but knowing at last,
This was Me
I had reached Land’s End,
And I refused to go into hiding again.

Standing on the cliff buffeted, yet
Resolute, watching
the cruel sea
Relentless against captive rocks,
I thought “Poor things, they’re just like me…
—pounded and near-drowned”.

Then pounded and near-drowned some more.

In years to come I will know that in
choosing to live
at risk of the Open Sea
I breathed
walked
and dreamed
Awake
Alive
in this beautiful and vicious world
that sometimes despised,
sometimes loved me
(I never knew which it was).

crossing the unknown sea

 

About Katherine Bell 
Katherine Bell
Before turning to the quieter world of writing, editing and research, Katherine worked for 25 years in the corporate sector across multiple industries in senior administrative and strategic project roles. Making a tree-change from Sydney to regional NSW several years ago, Katherine is passionate about promoting research that translates into real-life outcomes. She is currently working on forming an alliance with other corporate escapees who share her passion for making the workplace more humane and sustainable, particularly for those who are introverted or highly sensitive. Co-founder of  The Edit Bureau she also assists academics in Australia and overseas with getting their work published.

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free ebook on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel. The links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

coaching creativity planning & productivity work life

Creative and Connected #7 – how to craft a successful life on your own terms

July 28, 2017

Once we trust that we are giving it 100%, then we can trust that every day 100% looks really different.

Jen Carrington

successful life

Inspiring resources to keep you creative and connected – this week with a focus on how to craft a successful life on your own terms.

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on various social platforms on crafting a successful life on your own terms. This includes looking at how we structure our working week and how we define our success.

Imagining a different lifestyle

I started a transition plan for a new career and working life one year ago now. I worked with a coach and identified my professional development goals including Life Coaching. Shortly after, I shifted to a part-time work program. My beautiful mum was diagnosed with a serious illness just as I started on this journey. It’s been challenging time as I negotiate a life transition and provide important care and support.

A key part of this journey has been imagining a different lifestyle. This involves balancing self-care and care for others. It also means learning how to craft a successful life on my own terms through:

  • working on what I love, centred around my passions of writing and creativity;
  • enabling a self-sustaining creative lifestyle;
  • making a difference via teaching and Life Coaching, inspiring and sharing resources and learnings from my whole life, not just my work life;
  • having writing and Life Coaching as the twin hearts of a creative, flexible working week; and
  • changing my definitions of success.

I’ve just completed my Life Coaching training this week and am now a Beautiful You Coaching Academy Life Coach. This was the key centrepiece of my year plan. I’m working with pro bono clients at present and hope to start working with paying clients later this year. I also see writing as a stream of income into the future.

My learning over the past year has been about crafting a successful creative lifestyle. In fact, I’ve been preparing for a long time on how to be a creative entrepreneur.

In this post, I dive deeper into this theme of crafting a successful, self-sustaining creative lifestyle. A key focus is how we manage our time and structure our working week and how we might define success differently.

Podcasts on crafting a successful life on your own terms 

Creating your ideal working week, with Jen Carrington on Sara Tasker’s Hashtag Authentic

This podcast is a fabulous conversation between Sara Tasker and Jen Carrington, coach for big-hearted creative business owners. I recommended this podcast in 6 Inspiring Podcasts for Creatives and Book Lovers post and I listened to it again today. It’s such inspiring listening.

It covers:

  • the intuitive work week – learning to work differently as a creative, self-employed person;
  • self-care as self-employed creatives;
  • working in ‘ebb and flow’ and in seasons, of hustle, rest and struggle, knowing we can’t always be ‘on’ all the time;
  • learning how to define success in different ways from the traditional work ethic model and managing what Jen calls ‘work week baggage’; and
  • women as self-employed, creative breadwinners.

Both Sara and Jen are successful creative entrepreneurs and their learning is based on experience. It’s so heartening for me to hear young women having conversations about living a successful, creative life on your own terms.

You can also listen to Jen’s podcast episode Redefining your work week, which explores the intuitive work week and scheduling an ‘impactful, joyful and productive work week’. It encourages self-employed, creative people to look at current schedules and how to get in the flow and be more productive. The concept of ‘work week baggage’ and the stories we tell ourselves about work is also discussed.

Jen’s The Intuitive Workweek course is an awesome resource and e-course for deeper personal work on this theme.

Money, Writing and Life – with Jane Friedman, on The Creative Penn, also explores creativity as a ‘proper job’, and specifically, business models for writers and being an author entrepreneur. This is a way of living a successful life on your own terms as a writer.

Books and reading notes

I’ve continued reading David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity on work and identity. I’m savouring this book in a slow, delicious read. In the flip side (or precursor!) to some of the creative business models above, David talks about ‘the haunted house of insignificant success’:

The house I had built from my work was busy, but in the way a haunted mansion is busy, full of wails and rattling chains. All the time, I refused to acknowledge my core work, I was turning into a ghost on the surface. (p126-7)

We’ll be exploring this book next week on Quiet Writing, so stay tuned!

I finished the audiobook of Joanna Penn’s Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur. It is a comprehensive overview of how to be successful as an author. It’s recommended reading for learning more about operating as an author and business person. It also shows how living life on your own terms as a writer is possible through self-publishing.

I also started reading The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon, by Scott Baker as an audiobook as part of my self-development and sustainability as a creative entrepreneur. I so love writing by hand and especially with my fountain pens and Japanese inks. But being able to write more and without pain is definitely a long-term goal I’m investing time in.

successful life

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

In Defining your own success, Sara Tasker discusses success and how women are defining new ways of working based on creativity, community and connection. She announces that her husband is leaving a secure job to become a member of Sara’s team. In reflecting on this, Sara says:

So I guess that is what success means to me: the freedom to choose, and to keep choosing, and to craft whatever kind of life we want. To be so blissfully contented in those choices that we don’t even care what anyone else is measuring us by, or give it a second thought.

In How I intentionally schedule my week as a creative business owner, Jen Carrington provides an update on learnings from her experiences. These include:

  • working outside the home more
  • making client days more fun
  • personal development as a daily habit

Successful entrepreneurs are more likely to have these two personality traits highlights the role of intuition in entrepreneurship. This is a theme I have found weaving through so many of these podcasts and reads. Intuition is a personality trait I rely on more as I work to live a successful life on my own terms.

I wish to give a huge and grateful shout-out to the awesome Beautiful You Coaching Academy as I successfully completed my Life Coaching training this week. Beautiful You is dedicated to training heart-centred life coaches who can build the unique business of their dreams. The number of highly successful businesses that the Academy has spawned is testament to the excellent quality of the program and the inspirational leadership of Julie Parker, the CEO, founder and lead trainer. Julie is a shining example of how to craft a successful life on your own terms.

successful life

I will write more soon about my experience in the course and what it has taught me. Beautiful You has fabulous resources for creative business owners interested in living a successful life on their own terms. And really, life coaching is all about encouraging and supporting people to do exactly that! For example, How to breakthrough negative core beliefs and build the business of your dreams focuses on building a Life Coaching business. The advice is transferable to anyone looking to build a self-sustaining, creative business and focuses on mindset.

On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

My post on Quiet Writing, How to make the best of introverted strengths in an extraverted world, explores ways to work and influence as an introvert to make the best of natural strengths.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have continued to be a rich source of inspiration and insight for my creative journey. Thanks for all the creative interactions. On crafting a successful life, in a recent post, Eleanor Roosevelt in ‘You Learn by Living’ reminds us:

Maturity also means that you have set your values, that you know what you really want out of life. What are the things that give you great satisfaction?…To be mature you have to realise what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them” (p72)

And here’s the beautiful orchids continuing to come out in my garden. We’ve been blessed with a bumper crop through no great effort for which I am grateful.

Have a fabulous creative weekend!

successful life

Creative and Connected is a regular post each Friday and the previous posts are below. I hope you enjoy it. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

Feature image via pexels.com

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free e-book on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

inspiration & influence introversion personality and story wholehearted stories work life

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

July 22, 2017

 

introvert

I am an introvert, an INTJ in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator world and basically off the dial on introversion. Yet I have balanced this with a job that involves a huge amount of people interaction, talking in front of groups, leading and participating in many meetings with complex interactions. As a result, it’s not easy to make time to charge my batteries through time alone, even though it’s something I desperately need.

Learning to successfully negotiate this balance is an ongoing journey and finding the time for recharge is a challenge. I’m interested in working my introvert side, understanding its strengths and weaknesses, capitalising on it, identifying what I can bring to a situation. I want to make the best of my introvert abilities and work them rather than have them working, and sometimes exhausting, me.

Here are some key inspirations and influences on understanding your introvert strengths in the work sphere for greater impact and positive outcomes.

Leveraging the advantages of being an introvert at work – Penelope Trunk

This article from Penelope Trunk discusses how the world of work rewards and is basically set up around the needs of extraverts. Her article provides a balance to this by offering some tips for leveraging the advantages of introverts. These tips include:

  • working from the world of ideas
  • giving full attentiveness for a short, concentrated time
  • improving your self-knowledge of your type
  • teaching other people how best to interact with you as an introvert, and
  • learning about the job roles that would best suit you.

There are also some excellent references for further reading embedded in this insightful article.

Caring for your introvert – Jonathan Rauch

This classic 2003 article from The Atlantic is about understanding the orientations and needs of introverts. It looks at some common myths or assumptions about introverts and provides a balanced point of view. The article takes the perspective that introverts are misunderstood and dogged by stereotypes such as being shy. Rauch corrects this one by saying that “introverts are people who find other people tiring.”

Rauch has some good pointers for balancing time with people and finding time to charge again. His answers to a scan of issues about introverts (are they misunderstood? are they oppressed? what are the implications of extraverts dominating public life?) provide useful perspectives for introverts seeking to find points of strength and balance. I especially love the distinction between introverts who typically ‘think before talking’ vs extraverts who typically ‘think by talking’.

Top ten myths about introverts – Carl King

This article lists Carl’s top ten myths about introverts, in a similar vein and drawing on the book ‘The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World’ by Marti Olsen-Laney.  It captures these myths in a pithy way I could instantly recognise. The article concludes:

‘It can be terribly destructive for an Introvert to deny themselves in order to get along in an Extrovert-Dominant World.’

Suggestions for managing this include: understanding the myths, linking in with other introverts for support and the need for extroverts to respect the ways of introverts.

Extroverts, introverts, aspies and codies – Venkatesh (Venkat) Rao

This article is a fascinating summary of introvert and extravert issues but takes a step further into the realm of microeconomicss, transactions and social psychology. The article explores energy in the exchange from the introvert and extravert point of view. It also reviews:

  • how introverts and extraverts manage isolation vs physical contact
  • 1:1 encounters and their depth
  • weak-link social fields such as coffee shops
  • strong-link social fields such as family gatherings
  • relationships over time and relationships with strangers.

Venkat also looks at how the tension between extraverts and introverts plays out in the slang terms they use or might use for each other. For example, ‘aspies’ (a term used by extraverts for introverts and linked to Asberger’s Syndrome) and ‘codie’s ( a possible term as none exists and linked to co-dependency). Venkat concludes by saying that introversion is becoming far more visible, resulting in shifts in the landscape of social psychology.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain

The publication of  Quiet in 2012 was a significant milestone in the landscape of literature about introvert strengths and how to work them. This book changed my life as I read page after page of narrative that explained so clearly the way I operated in the world. Backed by extensive evidence, cutting edge research, neuroscience and stories of real people, ‘Quiet’ helped me make sense of so much. As a result, I better understood myself and especially my unique powers of negotiation and leadership. The practical strategies exemplified assisted me to work my specific strengths and also manage my energy far more effectively.

These strengths include:

  • thorough and detailed preparation
  • asking the right questions at the right time
  • active listening
  • ability to focus intensely and be in flow
  • working more slowly, carefully and deliberately
  • the ability to take strong positions and come across calmly and with reason

introverts

Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler

Jennifer Kahnweiler’s Quiet Influence was another game changer for me in understanding how you can have influence in quiet ways. It provides a response to the problem often experienced by introverts: “In every performance review, I’m told I need to speak up more.” I’ve experienced this and I knew it wasn’t the problem or the solution! This book helped me realise that I had strengths – quieter strengths – that I needed to recognise as such and deploy more effectively.

These influence strategies for making a quiet difference include:

  • taking quiet time
  • preparation
  • engaged listening
  • focused conversations
  • writing
  • thoughtful use of social media

Learning how to use these strategies more effectively made an enormous difference to my impact and influence. I felt better about myself as I was more in flow with my natural energies rather than trying to be more extraverted. Quiet influence is a far more empowering and instinctive place from which to work.

Unpack your introvert strengths

I was fascinated to read in Penelope Trunk’s article above that my type, INTJ, has the longest Wikipedia page:

‘Because the combination of being an introvert and being ideas-driven makes one very interested in learning about oneself. INTJ’s are an extreme case, but all introverts have this combination to some extent, and the self-knowledge will help you put yourself in situations where you’ll have the most positive impact.’

It’s true, I am an extreme case and this summary is a piece of evidence testifying to that, an addition to the INTJ genre. True to type,  I can’t tell you how energising I found the experience of researching and writing it.

But for everyone, self-knowledge helps you make the most of your natural strengths. I hope this article is useful in identifying and unpacking your strengths and working your introvert. Or that it helps in the all important perspective of better understanding the ways of those around you.

How do you work your introvert? I’d love to hear!

Note: This post was originally published on my blog Transcending in 2011 as ‘Working your Introvert’. It’s updated in July 2017 to reflect key additional influences since that time.

Feature image via pexels.com and used with permission and thanks.

introverts

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free e-book on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

Being a vessel – or working with Introverted Intuition

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

love, loss & longing transition work life

Finishing on a high note – closure, letting go and moving on

May 25, 2017

 Some of us think holding on make us strong;

but sometimes it is letting go.

Hermann Hesse

 

moving on

Finishing on a high note is important. As one thing ends and we cycle into new beginnings, it’s vital to pause and reflect on closure and tie up any loose ends. And depending on the situation, it’s also a moment to restore, forgive, show gratitude, bed down our learning and celebrate what we have achieved.

Here are some thoughts on unfinished symphonies and opportunities for ending on a high note and shifting into a positive journey in moving on.

Unfinished Symphonies

The beautiful ‘Unfinished Symphony’ card from Colette Baron-Reid’s Wisdom of the Oracle deck has popped up for me a few times in the past weeks. Each time, it’s reminded me of the power of appropriate closure and reflection on what has passed before moving on.

closure

The first time it appeared, it prompted me to focus on some administrative loose-ends – paperwork, small things I’d been putting off that were hanging over my head and stopping my forward movement.

The next time, it was about finishing off an e-course that was very valuable to me that I was close to completing and hadn’t quite finalised. It was a reminder to thank the creator personally for what they had given me through the process and to take the lessons forward and integrate them fully into my life.

Most recently, it was about honouring my skills, my body of work, as I reflect on my next steps in my career and vocational life. Skills are transferable and we develop many in our lifetime. It’s so easy to close the door on skills that are valuable as we shift into different roles or environments. It’s important to take stock of all the varied knowledge, experience and values we bring forward as we recreate ourselves again and again in career and vocational roles and through our own businesses.

Closure, completion and finishing off

As we shift to the end of something and into a cycle of completion and restarting, it’s so easy to rush forward and forget the reflection phase, the opportunity to pause and integrate what’s just happened.

As the Guidebook for the Wisdom of the Oracle says for the Unfinished Symphony card:

Take inventory so that emotional and psychological closure can occur and the answers you seek will be found. You can’t move forward if you are leaving things unfinished. Reflect on what has passed so that the symphony can finally end on a high note.
Page 37

We might be leaving something or somewhere because we choose to. It might be retirement or the end of a relationship or a move of location. Other times, it may not be through our choice. It might be a case of  redundancy, betrayal, just not fitting in any more or circumstances beyond our control.

Whatever the situation of finishing up or leaving something behind, it’s valuable to reflect on how we can leave gracefully with wisdom and a sense of completion. We can move forward with a spirit of reflection and learning, and with a practical attitude of taking what will serve us well on the onward journey. It’s important not leave loose ends, unfinished business or pieces of ourselves behind.

Ways to finish on a high note

Here are some practical ways to finish on a high note:

Tie up the loose ends

As Colette Baron-Reid says: “Tie up loose ends so you can move forward with surety, knowing you’re on a prosperous path.” It might be paperwork, it might be some difficult task still to be done you keep putting off, it might be picking up some special belongings from somewhere where they no longer belong. But this symbolic tying up and finishing can be a powerful way of stepping through into a new purpose.

See things through to completion and celebrate that

If you’ve created something valuable and special, see it through. Finish it, see how it can be developed further, update your CV to reflect your achievement and apply your learning in practice for positive outcomes. See where whatever you have created can shine brighter. Publish it, write about it, adapt it, finish off its potential and bed it down into the fabric of the world. Celebrate your part in it and let people know what you’ve achieved.

Say thank you

If you’ve finished a course, a book or time in a job role, say thank you to those who created the circumstances or the work. Finish the work, then round it off with appreciation and gratitude, sharing the joy of what you learned, what will take you forward and why it was important. The end of your cycle will help fuel your own and another’s journey.

If it’s a challenging thing like a relationship ending, the thank you might be in the form of an unsent letter or journalling, but still take the time to realise the benefits of what was given to you. Don’t lose the good in the shadow of the bad. Even if you feel bitter, it’s better to brainstorm the positives about what the disappointment or betrayal taught you than to drown in the juices of your anger. Find the pieces to take forward and let go of what’s not helpful.

Forgive

Danielle LaPorte’s White Hot Truth has wise advice on forgiveness. When you’re ready, it’s a powerful thing and it’s often as much about forgiving ourselves and our perceived complicit involvement as it is about others. That’s where a lot of energy is being drained away as we carry it unnecessarily:

As Lady Ninja of the Light put it to me: “I see forgiveness as releasing congested energy that’s not needed by the energy body. No stories, no players, simply time to release and move on to brighter ways.”
You stop letting past hurt affect you in the present. You rinse down the story, you take what you want, and let the rest go up to the Light so it can be put to better use. You give yourself forward.
Page 119

The ways we forgive can be many and varied and don’t always need to involve the other party; sometimes it’s just not possible anyway. But diluting the negative impact of that story and releasing the energy is so important in moving on.

Take what’s valuable with you

Don’t leave what’s valuable behind and take what you can with you into new circumstances. Reflect on the transferable and portable knowledge and experience you can carry forward.

You might have been in an organisation for a while and suddenly there are changes which mean that they no longer value your skills and experience. But you can. Identify the ingredients, skills and experiences that make up ‘you’, your brand, that you can market to a new employer or use to build up your own business.

As Pamela Slim says in Body of Work:

No one is looking out for your career any more. You must find meaning, locate opportunities, sell yourself, and plan for failure, calamity, and unexpected disasters. You must develop a set of skills that makes you able to earn an income in as many ways as possible.
Page 4

Cycles, abandoned success and the Eight of Cups

The Eight of Cups tarot card has reappeared many times in the past year as I negotiate a time of transition and reflect on endings and beginnings. It’s a deep card that speaks of abandoned success and choosing to walk away but it’s also a reminder not to leave pieces of ourselves behind.

closure

The Rider Waite image of the card shows a figure choosing to walk away from the cups. As Benebell Wen describes in it in Holistic Tarot:

There has been an abandonment of past fruits, the Eight of Cups is about a soul-searching journey; ascending to emotional higher ground. The Seeker is leaving behind something he or she spent much effort and care to nurture and develop. There was disappointment in a past undertaking and this the Seeker has abandoned his or her previous work.
Page 167

There’s a suggestion of leaving on our own terms, but there’s that future we imagined, our identity we shaped there that we feel we are leaving behind. So there’s sadness and a kind of grief. As Jessica Crispin explains it in The Creative Tarot:

And it’s not just our work but our actual selves that we pour into what we do. Leaving it, admitting that the end result is no longer worth it, is difficult.”
Page 195

So there is often a sense of loss even if we are choosing to do the leaving or the finishing. Everything is so inevitably bound up together.

The stunning and wise Art of Life Tarot Eight of Cups reminds us that in each ending there is a new beginning. So let’s start as fresh, unencumbered and as energetic as we can, taking the positive and valuable learnings and leaving any baggage or drag on our energy behind.

closure

Resilience is as much about letting go as it is about moving through. Whatever the circumstances, let’s finish our personal symphonies as positively as we can, on a high note, with gratitude and reflection, bringing it home with the brightness of a new song.

And your unfinished symphony?

Would love to hear about any unfinished symphonies you can work on or are working on as you move forward into new times. Share in the comments below or via the Quiet Writing Facebook page or on Instagram so we can support each other as a community to move ahead positively.

Keep in touch

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Liketo keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on coaching, books, tarot, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes tarot, MBTI developments, life coaching and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Movement, stillness and navigating challenging times

Shining a quiet light: working the gifts of introversion

Intuition, writing and work: eight ways intuition can guide your creativity

Healing with words of gold: The Empress, Kintsugi and alchemy

Featured image by Roman Samborskyi via Shutterstock and used with permission and thanks.

inspiration & influence introversion work life

Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

May 15, 2017

quiet light quote

As a proud introvert, I am keen to promote quiet voices speaking in the world.

I’m sharing a piece here that was originally published in Issue 1 of The Introvert Effect Magazine in February this year.

Just because you are quiet by nature, it doesn’t meant you can’t speak out and influence. You might do this a little differently to what feels like mainstream approaches. And it can take a little while to learn how your skills can best be played out.

My piece is an account of how I learned to understand and work the gifts of introversion. I hope you enjoy it and I welcome your thoughts especially if you have had similar experiences.

The second issue of The Introvert Effect Magazine – the Energy Issue – is out and is available here. The magazine is by introverts for introverts and this issue has some great tips for managing energy as an introvert.

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Shining a quiet light 

I’ve always been aware of a sense of feeling a little different, a bit quieter, slightly outside the mainstream. Not necessarily in a bad way, but enough to feel at a distance from what was happening at times and to not say as much as I wanted.

As a young adult, I was drawn to the work of Carl Jung, to his visions, dreams and insights and to his writing on symbols, synchronicity and personality.

I found some of his Collected Works volumes with images of mandalas that I would gaze into as if they held something secret.

I became a teacher of adult literacy and then over time, a leader in adult education, heading up large work groups, honing the vision for my teams and business area, delivering educational programs that made a difference and developing the people that worked with me.

I’ve always been interested in personal development and creativity, mine and other people’s. Learning to me is paramount and even if the terrain is tough, there’s knowledge, experience and strength from that. I incorporated and shared these lessons in my work as a leader and in more personal writing on my blog.

With all of this, it wasn’t until I worked through my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type with a coach that I began to truly understand myself and the key to how I work.

I identified as an INTJ personality type – Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging – with a very strong preference for the I – Introverted.

I remember a single moment in the debriefing conversation when my coach said to me:

“Do you ever close the door?”

I can remember my stunned silence.

It seemed so obvious and still does. But the words were like a permission slip that I clearly needed to be authentic in my work in the world.

Leadership in our 24/7 world, filled with social media and electronic devices, implies always being available and accessible. These simple words about closing the door as my source of power and learning to respect this, ironically, opened the door to so much.

After that, I did start to close the door briefly and found it so valuable in getting peace and focus. I still do whatever I can to breathe, to collect my thoughts, to envision, to put the pieces together in a mind-map, to research, to craft words and to prepare for the next interaction.

A few years later, I read Susan Cain’s ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’. It was another watershed time and I understood myself more deeply as the words unfolded.

These words from Susan Cain spoke to me:

Everyone shines, given the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight, for others, a lamplit desk.

It’s true: I shine most brightly from the light of my desk or from the shade of trees at the beach where I sit writing, feet in the sand, staring out into the water and sunlight. All the incandescent ideas and visions flow from that inward space.

It’s not better than a Broadway stage, it’s just different. But it has taken me years to realise it’s just as significant a power as the brighter magic of a more extraverted and colourful performance. And it’s also taken me time to have confidence in this quiet strength as a source of expression and wisdom.

I’ve been told in my professional life, as I’m sure many introverts have, to “speak up more” and also to consider “voice coaching”.

There are times when this might be helpful and to some extent there’s truth in there. However, I gained the ability to speak up and influence more effectively through learning to work my introvert by sharpening up my practices of how I prepare, strategise, listen and write.

From this base, I can speak to large groups without undue stress and have impact in challenging negotiation contexts.

I can follow the flow of discussion in a meeting that meanders and then sum up the main ideas into a distilled message for future action.

I can listen in a very focused way and ask the right questions to help others move ahead. I can use my strategic writing ability to bring diverse ideas together to influence an outcome or argue for a position.

I have always had these skills to some degree. Over time, I have had to learn to recognise them as assets and to deploy them more appropriately and with confidence.

The linchpin has been the awareness of knowing the symbolic and practical power of the closed door and the lamplit desk, working from the wellspring of private moments however I can find them.

And it’s not that other people are not involved or important.

Connecting with critical others, listening to others’ ideas, engaging with creative communities and working with coaches and mentors are all part of the rich mix of input.

But it’s the quiet moment of distilling all of this knowledge and experience to its essence that is the vital catalyst for action.

We are all on a hero’s (or heroine’s) journey.

As Steven Pressfield says in ‘Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work’:

In the hero’s journey, the wanderer returns home after years of exile, struggling, and suffering. He brings a gift for the people. That gift arises from what the hero has seen, what he has endured, what he has learned. But the gift is not that raw material alone. It is the ore refined into gold by the hero/ wanderer/ artist’s skilled and loving hands.

You are that artist.

For the introvert, this important work of refining, distilling and reworking is more likely to happen if we can find space in our days.

And if there are silent walks along the beach, or elsewhere, collecting thoughts like shells.

And if we remember that the gentle light of ideas can be just as radiant as any stage performance, illuminating dark corners with presence.

The next step in my personal journey is to take this learning forward. As an INTJ, my dominant function is Introverted Intuition and I’m activating this power now with more awareness.

I’m combining my passions for learning, teaching, writing, Carl Jung’s ideas and MBTI tools to support people to harness their particular brand of brilliance to express their voice in the world.

Learning to work our introvert strengths to deploy our gifts ensures that the unique voice of what we love, who we are and what we have learned is not drowned out.

We can never know the difference our influence can make or the impact we can have on another’s life journey.

Recognising our abilities, crafting the raw material of our lives and then communicating the gold we find can be the greatest offering, enabling others to likewise shine.

shine a quiet light

Keep in touch

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Liketo keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on introversion, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and tarot.

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. New probono coaching opportunities and special offers coming soon. Be the first to know!

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Being a vessel or working with introverted intuition

Working your introvert

Background photo for featured image from pexels.com and used with permission and thanks.

creativity inspiration & influence intuition work life

Intuition, writing and work: eight ways intuition can guide your creativity

May 5, 2017

“And you can keep flexing your intuition (because it’s like a muscle) to feel into the next right step.”

Danielle LaPorte, White Hot Truth

intuition

“Standing all this while
Makes me realise I am alive
And I won’t settle.”

Vera Blue, Settle

Intuitive night thoughts lead the way

I wake in the night with the words of the song, Settle, running through my head. It’s true, it’s hard to settle into a rhythm now with so much creativity and opportunity running around my head. And now these thoughts… I hop up to note them down as I know I won’t remember them in the morning.

The night thoughts connect up and there’s a triangle with three threads spinning a story about:

  1. the lyrics of the song, Settle, linking to my swimming in the ocean, feeling alive amongst fish
  2. the novel I’m reading ‘To the Sea’, by Christine Dibley about women and daughters, ancestry and relationships to the sea, featuring swimming as a central metaphor; and
  3. movement, yoga and that sense of keeping moving right now amidst a touch of fog and uncertainty but with so many quiet lights of myself shining.

It’s interesting how things come together, in your life and in your mind. The synchronicity of choice, the noticing of this, the connections that you make, the influences that you choose and attract. If you’re paying attention, attuning to the energy and the signs, things come together, messages and a way of working with them emerge in your life.

The guiding hand of intuition

Intuition is a guiding force for me. It’s a dominant MBTI function and gift I’m learning to work with more. It’s one of my five Core Desired Feelings, defined as a result of working through The Desire Map.

It used to be just a vague sort of gut feeling, especially coming in a work context when something just didn’t feel right. But I know now it’s so much deeper. It’s how I want to feel as I work and write. I want it to be the engine of my writing, the heartbeat of my days’ rhythm, the light that guides me one step at a time, knowing the overall destination but with the journey itself as the real discovery.

It’s about feeling it as I go instead of thinking it all the time. Softening into it, being receptive and independent, organised but flexible, influenced by others but allowing my authentic voice and loves to combine and come through, clear and shining.

It’s knowing that my unique collation of experiences and expression may be exactly the ones to strike a light in another and trusting that. The learning I uncover can be shared to help others strike up their own special connections and spark of genius.

Knowing what to do next

I’m finding that I’m writing and working this way more now. For example, I’m finding that I’m reaching out to read what is right for me when I need it.  The novel I’m currently reading, ‘To the Sea’, speaks of women, daughters, ancestry, movement and swimming as all these areas align to assume pivotal places in my life.

‘The Butterfly Hours’ on transforming memories into memoirs is a library book picked at random and opened recently at random. I find the perfect words about fiction and memoir writing there that have helped me delineate more clearly what I want to write and how.

Sure I chose these books because they are my interests but it’s about tuning into what I need to know or experience right now, sometimes let it work unknowingly.

It’s also about what I’m choosing to listen to and when to listen, to songs for example, and which ones, which random playlists and what they ignite, the words that run like a stream in the night fuelling creative thoughts.

It’s the podcasts or audiobooks I choose to listen to. Just yesterday, two podcasts acted as perfect counterpoints around the two themes of intuitive writing and intuitive working.

The first from Caroline Donahue’s The Secret Library Podcast was a conversation with Madelyn Kent about sense writing and building connection with body and movement as a way of opening up possibilities in writing. It was about being in movement in the body as a way of connecting with flow in writing and relaxing into new awareness. Deep and rich, I let its insightful messages wash over me as I listened.

The second from Sara Tasker’s Hashtag Authentic was a fabulous chat with Jen Carrington about creating the ideal work week. They talk honestly about being entrepreneurial breadwinners and how to create a work week that honours both self-care and productivity. They get work done in their own ways, following their body’s messages and their spirit and not buying into traditional work structures like measuring effort in hours spent. I felt so refreshed from listening to these women with their distinctive northern English accents talking so comfortably about breaking new ground and not settling for others’ definitions of how to work. They both create outstanding content and entrepreneurial work that supports others to shine from working intuitively with sense and feeling.

Intuition as a guide: Eight ways to work it

So it seems intuition can be a quiet guide in so many ways if we listen to its magic. Here are eight ways to work with intuition that I have discovered are working for me and some questions to prompt you into how to put it into practice. Granted there might be some thinking and sensing work in there too. But it’s not a brick wall, it’s a continuum, so shift to letting your intuition do the talking for a while and see what happens:

  1. What to read next – What do you need to read now – is it fiction, non-fiction or a combination of both? What does your heart need – to rest with a book, to learn or to be inspired? What do you need to know? What do you want to feel? Are you limiting to yourself to just one book when you could be more spontaneous and read more randomly, picking up pieces of wisdom that way?
  2. What to listen to and when – Do you need music right now or to hear the spoken work like a podcast? What are you tuning into? What do you need to be learning? What random playlist, podcast or subject is calling you or popping up consistently for your attention?
  3. Which project to work on next – Of all the projects waving at you for your attention, which one can you work on now with ease and which will be harder? Which one feels right? Even though one might be harder, does that need to be done first even though you are not sure why?
  4. When to move and how – Which form of physical exercise will get you moving in the right way to free you up? What environment will ignite your feelings and inspire you? Is it walking to the local cafe, being by the beach, wandering through the bush or walking around the city? Is it yoga, walking, running or cycling? What type of exercise might free up your writing eg free-writing, making a list or colouring in first?
  5. How to structure your week to best reach your goals – Whether you have a day job or are self-employed, how can you manage your work week best to manage self-care and reach your goals? How can it be both enjoyable and productive? Is there anything you can do to find the creative space you need? Which days are best for which projects? How can you reach your goals in ways that work for you?
  6. What rhythms can you bring into your life to support flow – When do you work best and how can you take advantage of that? How can exercise and movement help establish a rhythm you can take into other areas of your life? What time of day do you work best and how can you make the most of that? What about working with the moon and other cycles to facilitate a balance between receptivity and action?
  7. What intuitive tools do you choose to help guide you Which tarot or oracle decks or cards are speaking to you? What about lunar cycles, astrology, spirit guides or quotations that inspire you? How are you working with them and how can you harness their power more effectively?
  8. Which rich combination of influences will come together to make you shine your most radiant light to help others along the way? Take the time to dream, journal, mind-map, brainstorm, draw, draft, blog, write a poem, to bring together connections for new insights and share them with others to inspire them.

Intuition, discovery and seeing anew

So taking these learnings and reflections, I weave a new narrative through an intuitive and creative work week.

Rebecca Campbell, in Rise, Sister, Rise, talks of needing to learn what her subtle mental, emotional and spiritual bodies needed:

…I have discovered that my subtle bodies most yearn for meaningful, flowing, physical movement where I can move and express myself freely. I find that my creations actually depend on it. As I allow my body to release and fluidly move it’s as if I am both strengthening my ability to be moved by my soul and unlocking wisdom within my spiritual body.

 

intuition

That is the case for me also and I feel the flow of: my arms stroking the water steadily and stronger; my breath acting as an anchor as I stretch into yin yoga moves; and words arriving at night and then shaping them into a rough draft in the daytime.

I feel the rhythm of what a new work week could look and feel like – how to balance my creative desires and serve others in the best way I can whilst also managing self-care and the all important care of special others.

I feel, I feel, I feel the rhythm of the sea, of movement, of words on a page calling me to a new sense of home and being settled.

It’s also about learning to balance this intuitive flow and be practical and of service:

  • writing in a way that reflects and expresses me but is helping and encouraging for others, not just self-focused;
  • managing my self-care so I can support the care of others and not fall over in the process; and
  • honouring the influence of others in informing and finding my own unique, creative path.

It’s not about abandoning goals. We need a roadmap, we need to set goals so we know our overall direction and the three most important things to do this quarter, this week to help us get there. But knowing we can be flexible in our creativity, not working so slavishly, can be immensely freeing.

As Danielle LaPorte says in ‘Wisdom is Paradoxical‘:

Have a vision and…Go with the flow.

The Knight of Wands card arrived this morning as my daily weather report and he captures the feeling perfectly. Via the Art of Life Tarot, this Knight reminds us:

“The real voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

intuitive writing

 

Thought Pieces and key references:

Books:
To the Sea – Christine Dibley
The Butterfly Hours: transforming memories into memoir – Patty Dann
An Abundant Life: Flourishing with the cycles of the moon, Dr Ezzie Spencer

Songs influencing post:
Settle – Vera Blue
Awake Me – Rosie Carney
Mercy – Duffy (this was for the movement part!)

Podcasts:
The Secret Library Podcast with Caroline Donahue (@thebookdr): #48 Madelyn Kent Unlocks Writers block within the Body, 27 April 2017
Hashtag Authentic with Sara Tasker (@meandorla): Podcast 14 Creating your ideal working week, with Jen Carrington, 3 May 2017

Blog posts:
The problem with consistency (aka the beautiful wabi sabiness of it all) – The Mojo Lab with Victoria Smith
The 3X3 Project – Week 10 – Crone Confidence with Diana Frajman

Feature image from Shutterstock.com and used with permission and thanks.

Keep in touch

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Liketo keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on tarot, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. New opportunities and special offers coming soon including probono coaching opportunities.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Overwhelm, intuition and thinking

Music, intuition and the messages of songs

Healing with words of gold: The Empress, Kintsugi and alchemy

The Empress: creativity, vision and patience

creativity inspiration & influence work life

Passion – 17 inspiring quotes on doing what you love

January 12, 2017

 passion beach

PASSION is my word for the year for 2017. Here are 17 quotes about passion and doing what you love sparking me into action as I step into this year. I hope they inspire you too.

“Chase down your passion like it’s the last bus of the night.” – Terri Guillemets 

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.” – Simon Sinek 

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs

“Absorbed in this world, you’ve made it your burden. Rise above this world. There is another vision.” – Rumi

“When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.” – Zig Ziglar

“I began to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” – Roald Dahl

“If you take responsibility for yourself, you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.” – Les Brown

“There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

“What makes you different and weird, that’s your strength.” – Meryl Streep

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Create the life you can’t wait to wake up to.” – Josie Spinardi

“One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.” – E M Forster

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

“I have no special talents. I am just passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

“Respond to every call that excites your spirit.” – Rumi 

“Take your broken heart and make it into art.” – Carrie Fisher

“By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others.” – Satsuki Shibuya 

Share your thoughts

Which is your favourite quote from these ones? Or do you have another quote or thought on passion that inspires you? Would love to hear – share your thoughts in the comments!

I’ve also included a few quotes below you can tweet to share the inspiration and love:

Chase down your passion like it's the last bus of the night. Click To Tweet

When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that's when passion is born. Click To Tweet

Respond to every call that excites your spirit. Click To Tweet

By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others. Click To Tweet

Keep in touch

Quiet Writing is now on Facebook so please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on creativity, productivity, writing, voice, intuition, introversion, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), tarot and yes, passion!

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017 – including MBTI developments and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

passion flower

Images from Pixabay with thanks.

blogging work life

Blogging and work

October 21, 2012

There’s a bit of a brick wall between this blog and my work role and working life; maybe not so hard as brick, but a deliberate separation. Because I’m in a leadership role in a public sector organisation with a social media policy, it’s important that I keep a clear space around this blog about my creative self and my life other than work.

I don’t talk about work or my work role, except obliquely and generally in terms of how creative strategies for life may apply to work contexts and vice versa. Some work colleagues know about my blog and keep an eye on it; I blog under my full name so it’s not secret; it’s just not so connected, sort of like two parallel lives.

But of course, in practice it’s not quite that straightforward. It was interesting when things started overlapping more than usual recently when I started a new temporary work role in a different location. Once this new work role was announced, I noticed a sudden surge in my blog stats and people coming to the blog via searching for my name. People were trying to find out about me: just who was this person who was coming to lead them?

As I moved around to meet people in my temporary job role, a number of them said to me, “I love your blog!”. They were tentative and respectful, aware of some of the silent boundaries between the work role and the rest of life, but knowing that I was blogging publicly and out there for all to see. They mentioned my creativity, and how pleased they were to see that I had another life other than work. We discussed the links between creativity and leadership and the value of thinking in this way outside the work role. They loved the links in my blog posts and were interested to see what I was engaging with.

They didn’t:

  • express horror that I had a creative life other than work
  • focus on any negative aspects or details of my writing
  • pick holes, find fault, wish for more or otherwise find me wanting

They just engaged with my blog as intended as a space where I am out in the world, alongside my work role, complementary, mutually inspiring and whole.

This made me reflect on many aspects of where work and my creative self coincide, overlap and mutually benefit each other, and where there is further potential for this. It made me think also about whether these aspects are too separate and need to come together more. Some other bloggers have been thinking about this also.

In ‘Personal Blogging at Work Increases Productivity’, a recent article in Forbes.com, Susan Adams discusses the link between personal blogging and the workplace. She reports on a new academic study that shows that:

Along with sharing information about work tasks, blogging at work pulls employees closer to one another, builds relationships, and over time, increases productivity.

The study looked at people blogging in work contexts and found that blogging also about leisure interests and other more personal aspects of life increased engagement and then translated into real life connection. Adams notes that:

We’re seeing more data that shows what we already know in our hearts: when we connect with people beyond work, we work together more productively.

For me, it’s also about bringing your whole self to work rather than leaving key parts of yourself, especially the ones that are your own personal drivers, at the door when you arrive.

On a related theme of the work and personal coming together in the physical workspace, Victoria Smith in a recent post on ‘Beautility: Making the Useful Beautiful for a Magical Work Space‘, highlights the concept of how we can ‘beautilify’ our workspaces and work tools, to make them both practical and a reflection of ourselves:

Most of us spend about half of our waking hours at work and our surroundings have a huge impact on our happiness, creativity, ability to focus, and even our interactions with others…..There’s simply too much evidence about the increase in productivity when our work environments are more pleasing to the eye and reflect us as individuals for companies to ignore the benefits.

Victoria has many practical suggestions for bringing the two together that have certainly made me reflect about my own workspace and how I reflect my creativity and personality there (or not!).

On the broader issue of creativity and work, in a recent Huffington Post piece, ‘100 Reasons Why You Don’t Get Your Best Ideas at Work’, Mitch Ditkoff suggests that the barriers we create with our thinking about the two polarities may well be the answer to where the real issues lie.

So perhaps there is less of a need for a wall between this blog, my creativity and the job role, apart from the caveats of social media policy, and that the interplay between them may result in more productivity and creative ideas in both spaces.

Interested in your thoughts on blogging and work and the interplay between!

Excellent photo taken in Singapore by my daughter, Caitlin

creativity transcending work life

The one clear thing Part 3: the essential work

December 17, 2010

There has been a bit of a gap between parts 2 and 3 of this little series on clarity so let’s recap. These thoughts stem from a year of struggling with some complex challenges especially culminating at the end of the year. I have learnt much from this experience and am distilling this here as a form of clarity for myself and others.

My experiences this year taught me that it is very easy to over-complicate things. Keeping things simple is a very powerful cut-through tool to keep a focus on solving issues. So my suggestions for moving forward are to find the one clear thing that is the essence of what you are trying to do or solve. The one clear thing emerges for me as:

  1. Finding the single question to ask that will answer much in its wake
  2. Identifying the essential work that needs to be done to answer it
  3. Putting in place the daily steps to get there and keep moving

Let’s think here about the essential work. Once you have identified the single question to ask, then you need to identify the essential work to be done to answer it. The key word here is ‘essential‘. It’s so easy to get side-tracked and over-complicate at this stage. So, at this point, identify the essential work that needs to be done to reach your goal or answer your question.

Examples of questions to ask at this point to identify or begin the essential work include:

  • How do we isolate the critical work to be done?
  • What data would provide clarity?
  • What tools would really help move through this block?
  • What’s the one change that would make the biggest difference?
  • What are the essential priority tasks to be completed now?
  • What is the immediate step forward to achieve this?
  • What’s the one real block to moving on?
  • Which critical people could help solve this issue?

Focused thought on these or similar questions can help you move through issues that are often quite simple and apparent but have become complex and muddy. If we can step away for some higher level thinking and rise above the detail, we can get a clearer view.

Talking to critical others can also be of great assistance: trusted friends, coaches, mentors, external customers and other stakeholders. Sometimes we are simply too close. A quick, sharply focused survey might assist for feedback to get improved clarity.

Mind-mapping, brain-storming and other problem-solving tools can also be of great value at this point. I have had a lot of success with Appreciative Inquiry as an overall framework for moving forward through complex situations as it focuses on the positive and what the future might look like. The four steps of Appreciative Inquiry are in themselves tools for identifying the essential work and getting a roadmap for moving forward.

Looking for the essential work, the key question and how to answer it, can also help overcome resistance, as complexity and murkiness are in themselves engaging and can stop resolution of issues. You can find yourself easily stuck and doing a lot of busywork and conceptualising and achieve very little.

What’s the essential work for you at present? How can you progress it?

Image, The sky is clear now by vincepal from flickr and used under a Creative Commons license with thanks

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