What kind of working partner am I?
I try to be the kind of developmental partner I want for myself. I don’t like to be told what I should or shouldn’t do: I want to find out for myself, but safely. Whether I’m going to explore a black hole in my psyche or try some new social strategy I want to do it myself and mess it up myself if need be. But I do want someone standing by so I can tell them about my experience, gain their perspective, and increase my understanding of it. That way I have truly learnt from it.
In terms of my life coaching, this means I typically don’t give clients advice. If they want to research something I don’t tell them to buy a particular book: I urge them to go along to the bookshop that appeals to them most and scan the relevant shelves until they feel compelled to buy something.
I am thorough in my explorations. In my youth, my friends would tire of my need to check out every country lane when out walking, every pub for the best social life, every newspaper for the most information. “There’s nothing down there!” they’d cry, and more often than not they were right. But when I returned to them I was the only one who actually knew there was nothing there. I was the only one who had actually learnt something.
Time and again my need to cover every inch of ground has reaped rich dividends for my clients and myself. Whether you call it self-awareness or personal insight, the certainty that comes from deep self-knowledge, however quirky we find ourselves to be, is a major contributor to confidence and empowerment.
What is my attitude toward men and women?
I see men and women as very alike, both needing to counteract the self- or societally-imposed limitations that restrict them.
I find the idea that men are from Mars and women from Venus rather unhelpful. We’re both from Earth and have precisely the same needs for health, security, companionship and so on. We may approach things differently but this is partly because of training and partly because of biology. Today’s lifestyles and technology do much to level out the biological differences.
It distresses me terribly that women are forced or are ready to do the same work as a man for sixty percent of the salary. It makes them look feeble and feeds into the male perception of female inadequacy.
This distorted male view is something I’m very familiar with. Having been brought up in the nineteen-fifties and sent to a single-gender school, it took me a long time to discover that women are people too. For years they existed in my perception simply to stimulate my hormones. This attitude now seems to me bizarre if not actually reprehensible. I believe it was a major contributor to my failure in serious relationships. My only defence is that I was totally unaware of it.
It was only after I reached the USA in 1978 that I discovered that I preferred women who took themselves seriously. I then learned to enjoy them for themselves. Since then I have gained much from my association with them and wonder at my own lack of insight in those earlier years.
My relationships with men have been more consistent. I believe men are predominantly competitive with each other, vying to be king of the hill. I have no problem with this provided the competition is healthy: i.e. it takes the form of striving for truth or excellence rather than trying to put someone else down.
The major male problem is our tendency to use brawn rather than brain to solve problems. This manifests itself not just in bar-room brawls, but in domestic disputes, corporate fighting, and the use of the military in foreign policy. I know of no conflict that has been resolved in the long term by one side simply crushing the other.
At their best, however, I like certain male characteristics. I like the male work ethic. I like the way some men work hard to be honorable and accountable for their actions. I like the wholehearted commitment they bring to teamwork.
Typically, as I write this I realize I like the same qualities in women. We really aren’t that different.
A miscellany of thoughts, beliefs and facts.
One of my guiding principles is that life is a process of trial and discovery – never of error – and we enjoy life most when we apply what we have discovered and go on discovering. I’m glad to say I do learn from my experiences.
I feel a kinship with those scouts who first explored the American west and then accompanied others on their optimistic journeys through it. I have made ‘life’ my territory for exploration and, for me, life is not something you can gain from a book. Firsthand experience is the only worthwhile teacher.
I’ve written TV plays that didn’t get produced and a 120,000-word novel that didn’t get published. I’m still learning, however, and might yet see my name up as scriptwriter at my local multiscreen and/or on the spines of books at the library.
I have a passion for excellence and my working life is characterized by my association with the leaders in their fields. I see no point in aiming to be other than world-class, and regard this as an attitude rather than a measure of achievement. For example, there are at least five hundred world-class tennis players, but only one champion at each tournament.
I believe that a full life is only possible if we are ready to take it on, and that readiness is an amalgam of physical, intellectual and emotional fitness. These are all things we can do something about.
I do a great deal of exploring on my own but it is really only in preparation for the greatest pleasure in my life – exploring with others. Each working partnership is different. Each shared voyage of discovery is a distinct and separate volume in a library of adventures, each with its own theme, plot, subplots and characterization. Each also has its own resolution.
I love my work.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you would like to find out more about Dynamic Life Coaching or myself, please use the form below to schedule a free 50-minute ‘phone or Skype discussion.