STOP and reVALUE
Yesterday I was chatting on FaceBook with a friend in Malta who is struggling to create his workshops. He has a fabulous array of talents – and ideas – but finds it a huge challenge to work out the details. Clearly, he’s primarily a right-brained processor, living in a society or culture that is primarily left-brained: that is, one that demands a linear, detailed, step-by-step approach to any practicable, commercial project. My friend had been talking to a business associate who kept demanding that he work from the details to the big picture, which is classic left-brained stuff, and this left my friend frustrated and depressed because that’s not who he is.
This morning I woke up remembering that we each have core values and gifts, and when we attempt to work outside them, it’s very challenging. What are my friend’s core values and gifts? Let’s look at how he spends his time for choice: he teaches yoga classes and retreats, he was in a glam rock band, he writes songs and musicals, he loves to dress up and perform. Oh, and he travels all over the place to perform and connect with like-minded people. So it would seem that FUN, FLOW, CREATIVITY, and ENGAGEMENT are his strong suits, and what he values most highly, all in a right-brained way. No wonder forcing this guy to be logical and linear only led to frustration!
As a result of this insight, my friend and I had a two-hour video conversation where we focused on his vision (big picture, right hemisphere) instead of the details (left hemisphere). I listened, and kept asking what would be more fun or imaginative or unique about the experience he wanted to create. That is, I kept him focused on the vision, which he has in abundance. I wrote down bullet points to answer the question, “why would I come to your event rather than anyone else’s?” You see, in the past he was being pushed to go with what was practical or commercially viable, rather than his strong points, or what was unique about him, in his authentic self. The ironic part is that authenticity is exactly what he is trying to teach his participants! Plus he was coming from a place of lack instead of aligning with people who already have the abundance to pay for the value they receive from his events.
A second aspect of this conversation is that (in Human Design) both of us are ‘generators’, which means we need to wait to respond. When a generator tries to start something up out of the blue, that feels like pushing the water upstream. When a generator is functioning correctly, s/he feels satisfaction, while the default ‘not-self’ (not operating in accordance with your own design) is frustration. Both were being shown in our several conversations about his work. Working with your core values and gifts creates satisfaction; ignoring them, doing things the way business people typically set things up, leads to frustration – not so much for me, because I do have strong activation in the left hemisphere, but very much so for my right-brained friend. That kind of detailed, linear organization cuts across his grain and only leads to frustration. A much better strategy for him is to HIRE a naturally organized person who can handle everything he can’t because they have a core gift or value for working with details. That way both people are happy as they work with their individual gifts, and together they create a great synergy.
Now, I’m a lot more left-brained, and have spent the last 21 years learning how to integrate both hemispheres, so I can have a great idea and work out how to use it in the world. However, if the concept doesn’t involve MY core values and gifts, then it’s not going anywhere. What are my core gifts/values? INTELLIGENCE (which is truth+light), ELOQUENCE and a certain designerly sense of ORDER. (This makes sense of my history as an architect, knitter, and writer; also, nothing goes out of my office unless it’s well-designed and looks right.) I’ve learned to let go of doing anything that doesn’t draw on my gifts and values. Even if X is a great concept, if it doesn’t align with my values and gifts, then it is not my job. In that situation, I’m better off finding the person whose job it is, and then paying them (one way or another) to do that job so much better than I ever could.
So… what are your core gifts and values? And what expectations and demands can you say goodbye to because they aren’t your job? There is a tremendous freedom to be gained when you focus on YOUR authentic self and what you value, letting go of the rest (or leaving it to others): that is the best, most magnificent way to exercise your gifts in the world!