DOES THE WORK THAT YOU DO CONSTITUTE ‘GREAT’ WORK?
In the words of Michael Bungay Stanier,
‘Great work is something we all want more of.’
Yet if the research is to be believed, more and more of us feel disengaged with the work that we do.
So is ‘Great Work’ really available to any of us, not just a lucky few?
Of course it is.
And here’s how to recognise it:
Great work is the work that you choose to do, because it is meaningful to you, it has an impact and it makes a difference. It inspires, it stretches and it shakes you up. When you’re doing great work, you often feel in the ‘flow’ zone, where time stands still and you’re working at your best and with ease.
It’s the work that you do in this world that makes your heart and soul want to sing and dance, every time you engage with it. Yes, even when it’s difficult.
Great work creates a sweet spot in your centre. It’s the place where your core values and beliefs cross paths with your aspirations and hopes for the impact you want to have on the world.
Great work is enlivening. It’s stimulating and fulfilling. It stretches you. It develops you. It might even transform you.
And yet over time, that energy and vitality can fade.
Perhaps it gets comfortable but unexciting, like an old pair of slippers. Perhaps you’ve shied away from the hunger you once felt for challenging, unexplored horizons, in favour of an easier, more predictable life. Maybe, and for good reason, you’ve given something ‘other than work’ a greater priority and focus.
Whatever the reason, it’s very common for the great work that perhaps you once found so engaging and rewarding, to relegate itself into the league of ‘good’ or ‘just okay’.
WHAT THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR LEADERSHIP KNOW
Great work makes your heart and soul want to dance and sing.
That’s because it calls on the natural creator in you to respond to a Vision: a desired, future state of such immense possibility, and so powerful in its magnetism, that it pulls you towards it.
Relentlessly. And no matter what.
When it comes to your great work, your heart and soul also know that this is not some small, self-serving vision. It’s borne of something far greater, originating from inside of you, that’s called to meet a need or opportunity in the world waiting to be fulfilled.
Vision is about a desired state that you passionately want to have a hand in creating, that carries vital significance for you, and most possibly for others too.
And here’s what’s also true. Unlike your very clever mind, your heart and soul do not get entangled in the logical, the rational and the analytical.
Valuable as these tools are in their own right, they have no place in the unfolding stages of Vision creation. That’s because, as soon as they enter stage left, vision stops expanding. Or worse, it collapses in on itself.
Your heart and soul are the holders of your desire, your inspiration and your unhindered potentiality.
They are the source of your vitality, energy, compassion and courage.
And your truth.
They are the champions for your Vision.
Your heart and soul also recognise that Vision is not some static image of the future, waiting while you work to overcome your obstacles, fears and doubts so that finally you can start making it a reality. Good grief, we might be dead by then.
And while there will be parts of your Vision that may be apparent to you, it doesn’t always have to be startlingly clear, in a picture postcard kind of a way, before you set about realising it.
Here’s one way to think of it. Imagine you are on a long distance walk, aiming towards the dream destination that is your Vision. As you take gradual steps towards your Vision over time, you’ll find the landscape gradually changing, just as you do. Some things get clearer or take on a new shape. Certain new features can suddenly come into view. Other aspects of it lose their significance and fall away. You may even decide that the Vision you once held in your original line of sight, is no longer the one you want to aim for now.
Vision is dynamic and flexible. Vision evolves as you evolve.
So too does the nature of your great work. The great work that provides the vehicle to carry you in the direction of your evolving vision.
But what if you don’t have a Vision, or perhaps it’s been a while since it featured on your radar? There’s no law that says you need to have one.
The thing is, if you’re longing to feel inspired and experience the ‘wow’ factor in your work, and you’d rather spend half of your waking life doing activities that feel worthwhile and purposeful, then you have some work to do.
As most great leaders know, taking care to stay in right relationship with their evolving vision, and to recalibrate direction every once in a while, is an important key to continuing to do great work, in whatever evolving shape or form it might take.
Now you could sit at home or at your desk and ask your heart and soul to tell you about the Vision that is yours to create.
You might get some answers. You might also just get frustrated. And if so, remain disconnected from what your heart and soul know is the great work you are here to do next.
However, you’ll likely have much more success if you create the right context for the conversation.
And that can be made possible by taking a Medicine Walk.
HOW TO TAKE A MEDICINE WALK
Firstly, what is it? A Medicine Walk is essentially a purposeful wander (not a hike!) in nature taken with the intent to arrive at new insight, wisdom, and guidance in response to an important question or inquiry.
It’s a practice that has its roots in one of the oldest of human spiritual practices: leaving one’s familiar world to wander, opening to new insights and gifts through direct and immediate contact with the wildness of the world, and returning to share this gift for the benefit of one’s people and one’s place.
Australian aborigines go on walkabout, Thai monks conduct prayer walks through the jungle, Native Americans fast on vision quests, and the ancient Celts walked the hills, staff in hand. Around the world, pilgrimage is a profound practice. All have found guidance, healing, inspiration, and connection with spirit on their walks.
What’s really key about a Medicine Walk is that it is NOT about thinking your way through your inquiry or question with your rational mind, which will only go looking for answers within the bounds of what it already knows.
When it comes to inquiring into the vision for your great work, the ego, by its nature, will tend to create more of what it deems to be reasonably safe and familiar, instead of calling forth something truly breathtakingly new. This way, it is easy to miss the most potent insights and possibilities available because the Mystery that’s available to us beyond the conscious mind, was never invited into the process.
Instead, you can take your question out on your Medicine Walk, holding it clearly in your heart, and allowing your encounter with wild Nature to reveal fresh, new insight that can open up possibilities you might never have imagined on your own.
This is a time to surrender yourself to a whole new process of accessing insight, wisdom and guidance which just wouldn’t be possible were you to rely solely on the workings of your rational mind.
This is a time to engage with your heart and your soul.
Once the answers you are seeking have emerged as fully as they can for the moment, that’s when it’s time to give them form. And that’s when the intellect is at its best. We’ll get to that later – I promise!
READY TO WALK ?
Staying connected with the vision you hold for your great work is a key aspect of any leader’s developmental journey. This is especially true mid-way through the year when your potential for productivity and energy is high, and you want to be sure that you’re steering a good course.
So this summer, I am offering a small number of people the chance to explore, clarify, refresh … whatever is needed to get connected with their evolving vision.
This is not a group process. It’s private and it’s personal.
This is you and me working together with nature, and on behalf of your leadership, helping it to grow to new levels of consciousness around the great work that is yours to do.
It centres around you taking a Medicine Walk in nature with the heart and soul of your leadership (somewhere near where you live) in order to realise your vision for your great work.
This is a time for you to withdraw from the noise and pace of your everyday, busy world, and take yourself off to a beautiful spot in the natural outdoors, be it a park or wilderness – it’s up to you – to do, what is essentially, very sacred work. It is a time for you to slow down, tune in, and reconnect to your inner wisdom, allowing Nature to reflect back what the heart and soul of your leadership most wants and needs to see.
What to expect
This Medicine Walk represents a chance for you to take a powerful, nature-based coaching journey that runs over 4 weeks, and as many people discover, continues to unfold further in the days and weeks that follow.
No previous experience of taking Medicine Walks is necessary, as I will be at your side, guiding and supporting you through the entire process.
Step 1: Preparation & Set Up
We will ‘meet’ online over Skype (or equivalent) for one hour to explore and understand the personal purpose of your walk and very importantly, to clarify the question or inquiry that will accompany you.
will be briefed on where to go, what to do, and in particular, how to take care of yourself while participating in the medicine walk.
Step 2: Choosing a Threshold
The threshold is where you cross over from being in an ordinary, everyday state of mind into the Medicine Walk – where you can receive insights and messages from the natural world.
Once the threshold is created you will step over or through it very intentionally, holding your question in mind, thereby letting some deeper part of you know that you’re now entering sacred time and space. When your walk is complete you will return to this place.
Step 3: The Walk
A Medicine Walk is done alone. During this time, you will enter something akin to a sensory meditation. You move slowly and mindfully, paying attention to each of your senses and to the natural world as it speaks to you.
Step 4: The Return
When you return and pass the threshold once more, you will gently make the transition from your meditative state to a more ordinary state.
This signifies the end of your medicine walk.
Step 5: Interpreting the Meaning of Your Walk
If we were out in nature together, we would then create a fire to honour the telling of your Medicine Walk story, while we sat and reflected together on your experience.
In this process, we will hold our second meeting over Skype, so that you can give me a full account of your story. I then help you gather the full harvest of insight it has to offer you regarding the vision that will guide you consciously in your choices and actions in the time ahead.
Step 6: Integration
A personal reflective process follows for about two weeks. This is designed to help you further unfold meaning and deepen the insight you’ve been offered as your subconscious quietly gets to work.
We then hold a third and final ‘meeting’. Here we create a map or plan, to guide you in how you will start to walk towards your Vision, as you bring your great work to fruition from this point onwards.
In order to take this Medicine Walk experience with the heart and soul of your leadership, to unfold your vision for your great work, your investment would normally be £499.00 +vat (£599.00 inc vat).
However, because this is the first time I have made this particular package available online, I am offering it at a special rate during the summer months until 31st August 2017:
£395.00 +vat (£474.00 inc vat)
For this you’ll receive,
A context setting questionnaire, to help you begin to create clarity and focus for your walk
A set of handy written guidelines for taking your Medicine Walk
Three, generous 1-hour plus sessions with me: ie (1) preparation & set-up, (2) story-telling & interpretation; and (3) further reflection and planning
MP3 recordings of all our sessions for you to refer back to whenever you choose
A written up summary of recommendations from me for taking forward your Vision for your great work, and walking it out into the world with flow and ease.
What to do next...
If you want to find out more about this exciting opportunity, you are so welcome to email me directly.
Alternatively, to go ahead and register your Medicine Walk package, and in order to be taken through the booking process, just follow this link >>>
I'll be back in touch with you within 48 hours.
It’s a great passion of mine to help heart-centred, visionary leaders and entrepreneurs call forth and unfold the vision for their great work and business.
And, as a trained Medicine Walk Guide, I also love guiding Medicine Walks in nature and opening up for people the powerful and astonishing guidance they offer.
So this particular combination of using the Medicine Walk to imagine and craft the great work that awaits you is a true privilege and an honour!
It’s also a fabulous gift to yourself and your business, in this approaching summer time, the most vital and energetic point in the year.
Very best to you,
Sandra Cunningham PCC, CPCC