Saturday, December 08, 2012

Step 1 - Recognise Your Success Drivers...

When my father died, it was like pin-popping the balloon of my desire. With Dad gone, I was shocked to discover I had no urge to teach. I was listless and dark, wondering what I was doing with my life… It had been Dad who introduced me - as an embarrassed youngster of 8 years - to Alexander's discoveries. I had no idea what was happening, just that it was really important to my Dad so I wanted to show him I cared.

As I investigated this in later life, I discovered what had been driving me to do all the amazing things I had achieved up to then, was an aching desire for Dad to love and approve of his only son, me. There are sons, millions of us all the world over, who live out our entire lives hopelessly waiting for this patriarchal approval. These wild, wounded Selves certainly impact the world, but often leave it bereft of peace and serenity…

Do you want to harness neurotic energy to drive your success? Of course not, but for many of us, this core of unrequited desire is what drives us along, or crushes us before we can even get started. How do you figure out the raw, core beliefs that operate at the deepest functional level, apparently hidden to your daily conscientiousness?

I am not sure - but that’s your job. I’ve found my way - have you found yours? An Alexander Technique teacher strives to be awake - not from bed in the morning, but during the day. To know your Self, to know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Before you start your career, you need to connect your passion and desire to your why.

Your “why” is your life mission. For people who achieve greatness, you see this clarity of life mission: Gandhi - the English will peacefully leave India; Nelson Mandala - South Africa will transition to democratic majority rule by negotiation; Steve Jobs: computers that people can use; Mother Teresa - unconditionally caring for the sick and dying.

However, mission statements are not motivations. They are plans that harness motivations. Motivations are of a different stuff: raw desires or passions that are a guttural part of our psychic structure. They are not based on cognitive decisions, but are primitive, pervasive and wordlessly existent. The “mid-life” crisis or the “seven year itch” in long-term love relationships are well documented examples of a life mission clashing with deep desire. 

In my case, desperation for love and recognition translated itself into a life mission of pleasing Dad. I could never do enough. My epiphany on Dad’s death opened a whole new area of self-knowledge that still drives me today. I discovered that neurotically driven behaviour inevitable crashes: I started an enquiry to discover how a holistically healthy core passion could operate to drive a sustainable, long term life mission.

It is not a question you “solve” then go to step two - it is not linear like that. It is at the beginning, the middle and the end. It is an every-day question., it is truly at the heart of our work.

I was impressed when I read that Mark Zuckerburg, the young genius behind the FaceBook phenomenon, told an author he wakes up every morning with the question: what is the most important and critical thing I can do today for my mission? He is obviously not driven by desire for money - although now a multi-billionaire, he is still living in a modest home, wearing hood jackets and behaving more like an office worker than a magnate. What drives him? I don’t know, but I know he has somehow coupled a life mission with his psychic core.

To start a financially successful career as an Alexander Technique teacher, can you find an authentic, true desire that arises - not from who you imagine you should be for others - but from who you truly are?

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