TGW Home | Podcast | Photos | Travel Tales | Videos | About the Tame | Contact | Japanese |

 


The Daily Mumble has moved!

This is an archive copy only and will no longer be updated.

The new edition can be found at www.tamegoeswild.com/words. Please update your bookmarks.

The feed address has not changed - subscribe here if you're not subscribed already!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Purpose



My sister Jessie (left) and I, age: quite young

Personally, I'm yet to feel the effects of the global economic slowdown. I've not been made redundant, my salary has not been cut, overtime is still allowed.

But I can feel it's just around the corner. Local redundancies are being announced on a daily basis, and the thinking is that it's just going to get worse. One of my private students was telling me how her company, once reluctant to fire anyone (something that is admittedly pretty difficult to do in Japan - the common method seems to be to bully and pressure people into quitting) has just announced 2000 cuts, with more to come in due course. Whilst the nature of the client base that the English & Chinese education company I work for means that we are not suffering so much from this initial phase of the slowdown, this past week there have been some hints that next year is going to be a tough one.

I'm very much a subscriber to Robert Kiyosaki's idea of there being four main types of people when it comes to income, who together make up the 'Cashflow Quadrant'. They are: E - employees, S - self-employed, B - business owners and I - investors.

(For more on the Cashflow Quadrant get hold of a copy of Kiyosaki's incredibly easy to read bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad)

I've long had a gut feeling that I don't belong in the 'employee' quadrant, and in such economic conditions as these I find this gut feeling being exceptionally noisy. Seeing people in 'secure' jobs being left high and dry makes me question the sense of placing my future in the hands of an organisation that could let go of its staff at any time, for any number of reasons.

If I was working for the satisfaction that the day-to-day work brings, then it would be no big deal. Whilst I do feel real satisfaction in my day job (and before I go any further, I'd just like to state that as well as enjoying my day job a great deal, I see it as performing a very important and necessary role in my development, and I have no intention of leaving), I have a strong feeling that I'm heading towards a very different role in this world, of which I have only a vague picture at present) (this is aside from any purpose I have to become a better person in a spiritual sense, a journey that continues no matter what I do).

Whilst I am happy that I am able to make a positive impact upon the lives of my students and (to a certain extent) my colleagues, I can't get away from the idea that ultimately, the main purpose of most companies is to provide a good return to the shareholders. These are shareholders of which I know nothing. Who knows what they might choose to invest the profits of my labour in.

Some people might think this is taking things a bit too far, but I don't feel it is. I have a limited time on Earth this time around, and I want to make the most of it. I am happy to invest a few years in doing such things as working for my present company as I'm learning a lot, and teaching is a worthy cause, but I believe that I would feel that I had somehow wasted the precious gift of life were I to remain working for someone else for the rest of my life.

So then there's the S quadrant - self-employed. One thing I've been fortunate to learn second-hand over the past few years is that being self-employed isn't necessarily all it's cracked up to be. For one thing, there's the fact that (for most one-man-show enterprises) if you stop working, your income stops. Then there's the hours. I forget what the stats are, but self-employed people usually work a lot more hours than those in the E quadrant. Having said that, the chances are that the self-employed business owner will get a great deal more satisfaction out of their work than an E. Every hour of work they put in is an hour invested in their own enterprise - an idea which appeals to me a great deal. They are also more likely to be doing what they love (or they probably wouldn't have started that business in the first place!). However, ultimately, the lack of time freedom in the S quadrant does not appeal to me.

Then we move across to the B quadrant - the business owners. These are people whose businesses continue to operate even when they are physically absent. This is where I want to be. This is where I feel I should be putting my energy ...but find the ease with which I can invest in the E quadrant too seductive. Striking out is tough. It's easier to just be told what to do.

The final quadrant - our ultimate financial goal, is the Investment quadrant, whereby the wealth we have created will continue to generate an income in perpetuity, for the causes that we choose. Being socially conditioned, I used to think that people in this quadrant had only got where they were by trampling on others. However, the more wealthy people I meet (here in Japan), the more this stereotype is revealed as being a load of crap. They are by far the most generous, caring and 'normal' people you could hope to meet, and don't give a poop about keeping up appearances. They are generous with both their time and money, and in my book are worthy role models.




These past few weeks I've been making my way through The New Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, an updated version of the classic self-development book. It's very good. Informative, and inspirational. Whilst there's not much in it that you haven't heard somewhere else, the scientific angle is refreshing and convincing.

...and it really gets you thinking - "If I could be the person I really wanted to be, would I be the person I am today?" If the answer is no (as it is with me), then there's clearly a need for action.

It's compelling. Real change doesn't take months of years, it takes a split second - the split second it takes to make the decision to be that person. That person who is fit (or on the road to fitness), that person who owns their own successful business (or is in the process of setting it up), that person who has rich, loving and trusting relationships with all those around them (or is making a concerted effort to build such bonds).

I'm in an incredibly fertile environment that is brimming with opportunity. It's called life, and it's time I took the next step (even if it's only a small step). I'll write about it in due course.

night.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Brandon Steep hit the shelves at HMV Japan



It's so good to see your friends doing well.

The Kirk family have been good friends of mine for about 20 years. My trip to Islay (Scotland) to visit them 17 years ago was probably my first ever 'big' trip somewhere by myself. Later, they were kind enough to let me live with them for a few months. Jo remains one of my bestest friends - it's been great to grow up 'together' (by letter / phone / email / visits to Hereford & Bristol).

It's also been great to see the boys (Jo's brothers) grow up. They're not much younger than me, although when you're a child a few years seems like decades.

Anyhow, a few years back Pedro, the eldest, started a band with his friend Luke. Joined by another three friends, they converted the garage into a studio, and then worked damn hard at getting good at what they did.

Things are really taking off now for Brandon Steep. Just last week I got a mail to let me know that they have a CD out in Japan, available from (Amazon, HMV and iTunes.

I was so excited buying this CD at HMV today. I've never bought a friend's CD from a 'proper' shop before. It felt real good to be able to support them from such a distance (and get something good to listen to too).

(The chap behind the counter was full of praise for them, saying they were getting quite a following over here).

Congrats to Brandon Steep for your continuing rise, long may it continue!

Their website seems to be being re-worked at the moment, so for now www.myspace.com/brandonsteep is the place to go to check them out.

Oh, and check out the Herefordian field in this video :-)

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's only getting better

As of this week, I'm pretty much working seven days a week. It's part of the self-imposed six month debt-repayment and moving-house program, which is due for completion on the 5th of March 2009. It's step one of many steps in our Grand Masterplan, some goals of which include the paying off of all family debt and the establishment a perpetual charitable foundation that long outlives us.

Lofty goals perhaps, but it helps us to have them, as it does to have more concrete short-term goals too, like this six-month deal. Knowing that this routine is a temporary deal, a limited-time challenge, enables me to be excited about putting a lot into my full-time job and the various regular private English lessons I give.

Slowly managing to sort out things like insurance and savings plans. Tonight, a friend of ours who works for a large life insurance company came round to explain to me more about their policies, whilst at work I'm being enrolled in various pension / insurance schemes (which I am yet to fully understand). Yesterday, *Twinkle* and I decided which charities we'll be supporting on a monthly basis (FoE Japan and Unicef). We've also started our 500 yen collection scheme - inspired by my boss Mr. D who saved 247,000 yen in one year without even trying (everytime you're given a 500 yen (£2.87) coin put it in a special tin). Proper savings and investments as such will have to wait until the debts are repaid.

It's a fun game to play, especially as we know that this is just phase one, and as the beautiful Stephanie Dosen sings, It's Only Getting Better (not sure about the video!). I have this song as my alarm clock :-)

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Our first professional engagement as a couple



The lack of broadband at home has finally driven me out to an Internet cafe. I would just use our iPhone, but it's a bit tedious when it comes to long texts, and also I needed to use Skype ...although now I'm here I find that you're not allowed to talk in this place. Oh well. I could talk via Skype on my iPhone, but need a wifi network for that.

Anyway anyway, with time ticking by I need to be brief. Not only am I paying by the hour for this connection, but also I'm starting two new jobs tomorrow, one of which requires some prep.

The Hanpane Rally 2008 ("Volume 1") was an unforgettable experience for *Twinkle* and I. It had been organised by a group of about twenty people in their twenties looking to promote the idea of young people going into business for themselves - *Twinkle* was the main co-ordinator, reporting back to a couple of people in their 40s who took overall responsibility.

*Twinkle* first mentioned it to me a couple of months back, something about a rally at which we'd be MCing. She sounded pretty relaxed about it so I didn't think much of it.

Fast forward to last night, 6.30pm. We're backstage at Nakano Zero Hall, an audience of over 550 filing into their seats out front. I'm crapping myself as I try and learn my lines (in Japanese) for our introduction, lines that we'd only written a few hours beforehand but not had a chance to even glance at due to frantic last minute prep. Hair cuts, clothes shopping etc. I hadn't quite realised just quite what an undertaking this was until the last minute when reports came in of the number of tickets sold. (I was pretty shocked when we arrived at the hall an hour beforehand -the audience were already queuing outside the front door).

Things got even more stressful when the DVD player that was being used to project our videos onto the big screen crapped out at the last minute, and calls went out for a laptop. Macbook came to the rescue - there followed an intense five-minute crash course in (English) Mac basics for my friend, whilst I simultaneously tried to think what alerts might pop-up on screen during the show (calendar reminders, backup programs etc), and rehearse my lines.

It was all pretty surreal. I made a half-conscious decision that none of it was really happening, as if I really thought about what I was going to be doing I probably wouldn't have been able to talk at all.

But there was that part of me that also knew that everything was going to be absolutely fine.

And it was.

*Twinkle* had written a bloomin' good script. It was very natural, very her, very me. She was the serious MC who knew everything, and I was the comedic husband who feigned ignorance. Despite the fact that we hadn't been able to learn our lines (and thus were overly script-dependent), it (apparently) came across as being pretty natural. The audience seemed to warm to us right from the start, with*Twinkle*s professional delivery of the long narratives, and my insertions of odd bits of English and overly casual Japanese (and multiple mistakes). We got quite a lot of laughs, and a lot of people later remarked on just how well we engaged with the audience.

It's a shame we didn't have a chance to listen to the main speakers - we were too busy backstage learning our lines for the next section.



The two hour set flew by, and before we knew it I was telling everyone to get home safely. ...The relief was immense. We'd done it.

The after party took place just down the line in Koenji, in a mad little Japanese restaurant populated by sailors. Our guest speakers served to further dismantle my old prejudices against millionaires, all being the nicest, most interesting and engaging people you could wish to meet. They were inspirational too, with stories of Scottish adventures, business challenges overcome - and books published from personal blogs.

The thing that struck me most about them was the fact that they were really no different from anyone else I know. I find this very exciting as my family are all waiting for us to become very wealthy. That's one of our goals, not for the sake of being rich and owning 'stuff' or having a high status, but because we want to help as many people as possible, and another way we can do that (apart from giving our time and energy and love to friends, family and others) is to become wealthy, and then distribute that wealth.



It doesn't really matter to us that our MCing was at times pretty unprofessional.It doesn't matter that I stuffed up my lines and pronounced words incorrectly. We learnt so much through the experience - not just about MCing, but about each other. I respected *Twinkle* enormously beforehand, but last night found myself in awe at her ability to deal with it all in such a cool manner, and to be so confident in what she was doing.

But actually, in reality, last night's event wasn't really all that much of a big deal. OK, so it's the largest group of people we've addressed live, ...but they only numbered about 550.

It's what the event taught me about *Twinkle* - by seeing her pull together an event like that - and us about Us as a couple that I find so exciting.

She was bloomin amazing. Co-ordinating so many people, not only on the day but over the past couple of months, and then making sure everyone knew what was going on in the hours leading up to it whilst simultaneously learning her lines. I couldn't have done it. 

And it wasn't just that she did it, but that she did it without getting stressed.

This was our first professional engagement together, and it's shown us that whilst as individuals we are pretty good at what we do, as a couple working together towards a shared goal we have enormous strength. It's also taught me what fun it can be to work with *Twinkle*.

Today we've talked about our marriage quite a bit, about just how much of a blessing it has been.

We've been told that following last night's performance we'll be called upon again for future events like the Hanpane Rally. I find this very exciting as public speaking is something I enjoy a great deal, and any opportunity to further develop the necessary skills is welcome.

Anyway, I must get out of here. I'm over my hourly limit and now paying by the 15-minutes!

Start my full time job in 10 hours - Ganbarimasu!

xxx

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My coaching course

I'm now in week 5 of my 12-week coaching course with TSI. Initially, I'll admit I was pretty sceptical, but my friends and I had talked about coaching a little, and I figured it was at least worth a try. Nothing to lose, right?

So, I signed up for a free coaching session with the founder, Cliff - he'd been highly recommended by a friend of the family.

That first 60 minute call was great. Really taught me a thing or two, and made me realise what excuses I was hiding behind in some areas of life. I was impressed, and so decided to sign up for the basic 101 coaching course that they offer.

There's six of us taking the 101 course, 5 of whom are in the USA. Every week we log in to our group lesson, and work through a series of thought-provoking exercises centred on a particular theme. For example, one week we may focus upon listening. I mean, really listening. That's been an interesting one, and our groups' results have been pretty staggering, seeing developments in relationships that have long been in need of change.

Every week we come together on a group call, discuss the lesson, and discuss our results. It's great to hear what's been achieved, and I must say each week I'm pretty staggered by how far people are pushing themselves - and consequently what great results they are getting. It may be financial, it may be familial, it may be connected with a career. Whatever, there's big changes for the better occurring left, right and centre.

Each week we're teamed up with a different member of the group, to whom we make a couple of calls during the week to help support one another through the change. That's been a real joy, getting to know these people, and being able to share experiences that may help others deal with their particular challenges.

One of the biggest motivators for me is being accountable. By making a commitment to "do X by such and such a date", I'm prompted to do things that I would normally put off, or not do at all. This accountability basically acts to put change in 5th gear. I'm not spending a week thinking about doing something and then doing it the following month - knowing that my friends are behind me in my action I'm able to do it now. Having this supportive environment of people that you have made a commitment to makes a world of difference.

So, all in all, a third of the way through the course I'm very happy with what I've got out of working with TSI. There's tonnes of coaching companies out there, and the thing is with no proper regulatory system you can never be sure what you're getting unless you try it - anyone can call themselves a 'life coach'. But this is a good one, so if you ever consider coaching, I'd add them to the list of people you'd try (I'd also recommend a call with this guy for comparison's sake).

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sophie Mei in the semi-final of Britain's Got Talent

Shout out to all those TV owners resident in the UK:

On Monday night at 9pm on ITV1, Sophie Mei, daughter of a good friend of mine here in Sheffield, will be one of 8 performers in the first live semi-final of Britain's Got Talent.

She's made it through to the final 40 - out of 100,000 hopefuls.

Selection for the final is based on audience votes ...so you know what to do!

Labels: , , ,

Friday, May 23, 2008

We Did It! Graduation Ceremony (No.1)

Our teachers will not be able to come to our graduation ceremony at the end of July as they will be in Japan. Not wanting to miss out on such an important occasion, they decided that in our last ever lesson with them, they put on a special Japanese graduation ceremony for us.

This act of kindness really sums up just how caring these teachers are.

Highslide JS
We are the Champions! Out of over 45 people who started this course 4 years ago, we are the 16 that made it to the end. WE ROCK! (Check out my teeth-grin. I'm not sure what I was thinking...)


It was lovely. We sang, we gave mini-speeches, we received graduation certificates. We received words of advice for our future lives. There was laughter, and tears.

Highslide JS
Receiving my graduation certificate


What made it even more memorable was a special guest ...live via streaming webcam from Japan- TANAKA SENSEI! Tanaka sensei was much loved by all of us in our first two years, but had to return to Japan a couple of years ago. He'd not used Skype before, but we managed to get through just at the start of class. It was so exciting, such a great surprise!

Highslide JS
Skyping with Tanaka Sensei


Seeing him, and his wife (who also taught us for a time) was a real treat. I think our teachers were just as excited to have the opportunity to see and speak with him, having not seen him since last year.

Highslide JS
Our teachers having enormous fun talking with their ex-colleague Tanaka sensei, much missed by both students and staff


There's more photos of our ceremony on Facebook.

We have one more class left on this course, tomorrow afternoon. Then that's it. Just the exam.

I can't quite get my head round the idea that we've finished, and that we're all going our separate ways. I've not really thought about it. Until now. I'm not so sad about leaving the teachers, because I know that I'll continue to keep in touch with them, and see them when they come to Japan or I visit Sheffield. I'll probably spend much of my summer in Sheffield in any case, so it really is a while until that goodbye.

But with my classmates, it's different. The chances are that I won't see some of them again, and that really upsets me; I can't help but shed a few tears thinking about that. They've been such a huge support over the past few years. Whilst I don't often socialise with them, they mean an awful lot to me. It's been so difficult at times, but together we got there.

In our little graduation speeches, quite a few of us mentioned the importance of our friendships. Another recurring theme was that of persevering, of battling on through the tough times. By doing so, you can conquer the most difficult of challenges.

The photo above of all (but one) of us carries with it enormous meaning, and is one that I shall really treasure.

We've really done something incredible here. Well done us.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Life Purpose


One benefit of committing the story of one’s life to a blog powered by Google, hosted by some other company and then sent to you by email (and then burnt to DVD) is that when one turns 90, the chances are there will still be a copy of it somewhere. Why should that be important? I’d like to be able to look back on my life at the age of 90 and see if I can draw lines between developments in my thoughts, feelings and decisions early on in life (now) and later occurrences.

For many years, I kept *real* diaries. I have about 49 of them in a big box that will soon be sailing to Japan. They span some 15 years of my life from the age of about 12. There’s only one copy of them, and should the boat go down, they will go down too.

I pretty much stopped writing my *real* diary when I met *Twinkle*, who became the one I talked to about things that mattered. As time has passed, so I’ve grown more confident about writing about my feelings here on the Internet, which has been especially useful this past year with those friends who are happy to talk about such things being some distance away. It took me a while to develop the confidence to open up, and I know that without the inner work, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. It’s only though learning to trust my heart / spirit that I can feel confident in what I write. Confident in that I am being honest with myself (as opposed to confident in my being ‘right’, a view I don’t subscribe to. How can I be ‘right’ when things have no intrinsic ‘rightness’? Don’t they only have the rightness or wrongness we as individuals choose to assign to them?).
So there’s my long-winded preamble about why I’m writing this.

Things have been happening in my life this week. Well, actually, it’s more a case of things have always been happening all my life, but I feel that now is a critical period, like some kind of climax. There’s all these things that are happening. I feel like there’s some role being shaped for me, but I have no idea what it is. I’m getting this message that I have some kind of responsibility to do something. But not just an everyday something, but a something that is going to make a big difference. I don’t know what it is.

You know there’s that quote of Gandhi’s, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. I can’t say I can recall ever hearing it before this week, and suddenly, it’s everywhere. It was on a website I stumbled across the other day in bold letters. Then, it popped up on an audiobook I was listening too (quite the highlight actually - if you’re after self-development books give Brian Tracy a miss!), then the other night I was suddenly moved to pick a book off my shelf that had been there since January, untouched. It’s called “Be the change”, and is a product of the organisation of the same name, based in my second home town of Bristol. There on the front page is the quote by Gandhi.

Then there was the person I met in the pub the other night. Well, I say ‘met’. All I actually did was shake his hand and then talk to someone else on the other side of the table for 20 minutes, but the following day I received an email from his partner (my good friend) passing on a message for me, talking about my future. It was a reflection of the feelings I am writing about here.

Then there was that person who warned me, “Don’t hide behind *Twinkle’s* success”. Now that was a well-placed kick up the backside, and a very timely one at that. Likewise, I can’t hide behind the name of any company or government I might work for in the short term. I might want to, and no doubt I will do so at times due to my ego demanding a stroke, but it will be fatal if I subscribe to such a practice long term.

It’s not these superficial happenings that are overwhelming me though, it’s this feeling that growing inside me that I have a responsibility to use the immense fortune that I have to make a difference. I’m not talking any financial fortune, I’m talking being born in the UK in the late 20th century to loving parents who sent me to a Steiner School, and have always supported me emotionally in all that I have ever chosen to do. In having loving siblings and friends who share my positive outlook upon life and also believe that we can do great things.

Sometimes, the feeling is positively palpable. Like tonight. I had to lie down on my bed and hide under my duvet, hugging my teddy as I felt all these things happening, all this energy surrounding me (if only I could channel it into pressing the appropriate keys on my Macbook to write a dissertation on NGOs in Japan!). I’ve been reading these incredibly inspiring stories in the Be The Change book about individuals who have done the most amazing things and are changing lives. In some cases, just a few lives, and in other cases, many. There’s no fundamental difference between these people and anyone else, except that they have made a decision to make things happen, and then acted. They didn’t know how they were going to do it, but that is not important when one first embarks upon a project.

So, I’m not quite sure what to do. I don’t think the time is right to act yet as I need more clarity, and it may be a case of waiting some years before I do know. That’s not to say that I have to “wait until everything is in place” - the biggest excuse in the book that, things will never be ‘just right’! But I do know that it’s vital that I continue to study, study my passions, study others, study those things in life that present themselves to me with a label on saying “study me” (sometimes need an ultraviolet light to see the writing though).

I also know that living in accordance with what my heart tells me is right, is working. It must be almost a year now since I started that ‘experiment’, and the results in terms of being at ease with decisions made, not attaching importance to the subjective opinions of others who are acting out of a perceived necessity for defensiveness, and my ability to love others for who they, are wonderful to experience.

It’s pretty difficult for me to tell even a white lie now. Although I did the other day, first time in a very long time. I can’t remember exactly where I was. It was somewhere on campus, I remember that, and it was someone who I didn’t know too well, and they asked me an awkward question. I told them the answer they wanted to hear, and boy oh boy did I feel bad. I almost burst out laughing I was so amused by my inability to lie. If the person had known me they’d have spotted it right away, but they didn’t.

In a way I can comfort myself with the knowledge that the publishing company we are establishing is essentially a social enterprise, helping others to help themselves without heavy emphasis on profit. If my energy is directed into that, I can feel happy knowing that I am doing a good thing. Perhaps I’ll get the Jet job. If I do I know I’m going to have to use every opportunity within that to make myself a better person, in order that I can make things happen in an area where my true passions lie in the future.

If I don't get it, that’s great too as it means that there’s some other exciting path waiting for me.


So, 90-year-old Joseph, do the lines join up?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Total Success Institute


Great day today. Got that video submitted to the competition - I've had that lingering on my to do list for several months now. Then, it was wedding planning. Phone calls made, meetings arranged, all very exciting!

Following that it was congrats to my *Twinkle*, who in the month of March saw sales in excess of 1.8 million yen (about £9,200) - a new record for her (our) relatively young direct marketing business (organic food, organic supplements, eco-consumables etc). Says a lot about her character, and what she expects out of life. Good to have a successful partner, keeps you on your toes. If you get too lazy they bring a millionaire home to replace you.

A bit of Japanese homework, and then finally, the call I'd been waiting for.

A few days back I blogged about a call I'd had with a life coach. It was interesting, inspiring, but not especially life-changing. A bit like the latest audiobook on personal development I'm listening to. You find after you've read the ten or fifteen core texts there's not much but rehashing, people just jumping on the bandwagon to make money, lacking any real creativity or insight themselves. I've been pretty fortunate in that I've only found myself stuck with two such duds. And last week's coaching call.


But today was a bit different. I'd mentioned that previous phone call to my sister, who then recalled a one-day seminar she'd been to a year ago run by the Total Success Institute (new website on the way). She'd been really impressed, and personally knew of two people who had taken their courses - I should contact them. I did, and got prompt replies from both of them.
"Everyone should take this course, it makes for an all-round better life".

"It will definitely be a worthwhile investment".

So, the next step was to get a taste of what they offered. I listened to an interview with the founder, it sounded good. I read some of the information on their website, and signed up for a free coaching call.



Why do I feel I need coaching?

In the next few months, several things are going to happen:

1) I'm going to graduate
2) I'm going to marry my *Twinkle* and thus have my own family (includes baby mac)
3) I'm going to be faced with the choice of where I direct the bulk of my energy for the first time in 5 years

These are pretty mega changes, and I want to make sure I make the most of this huge opportunity to steer my life in the direction I want it to go in.

I don't have much experience of marketing myself in the professional field. Sure, I have a popular website (thank the horse cocks for that; they remain at No.1 in the Search Query Report for the 6th year running), I have language skills, computer skills, people/communication skills ...but when it comes to the marketplace I'm lost, and don't know how to position myself to utilise my full potential. I lack the necessary confidence. I lack these skills.

Books can only give you so much. At some point, you have to put them down and act, otherwise they only have as much of an impact as one hand clapping loudly against the air. A book doesn't know my specific skills set, and a book can't set me specific targets to help me motivate myself and move forward. Coaching can do that.

I've invested over £20,000 in my BA Japanese Studies degree. It's been money very well spent. Thinking of that, it seems only prudent to invest a little in learning how to take these skills and turn them into something that generates an income.

If I was the type destined to enter a big company and then leave my development/future in the hands of their HR department, well, perhaps I'd be alright as I am. But I'm not. I love being creative, making things happen, making a difference. I want to generate my own income stream doing the things I love to do, whether that be consulting, speaking, writing, teaching or whatever.

(Incidentally, this is one reason why I am keen to work as a CIR on the JET scheme - annual contract with not a sniff of a pre-determined career in sight. It's like an internship. Opens doors.)

So, this is why I would like to have some coaching. It feels like natural progression (especially considering the way I was introduced to it). Like a logical next step in this 18-month journey.

Some may scoff and say "you don't need coaching! what a waste of money!" I wonder, would these people say the same to a wannabe singer who has a fabulous voice but is yet to learn how to control it?




I called Cliff at the agreed time (although it took a bit of thinking to figure out what the 'agreed time' was, as the clocks have just changed here and he's in the USA!) and was soon struck by the homework he'd done. He'd been reading some website called Tame Goes Wild, and knew all about me. He even knew I'd spent some time this afternoon preparing for my wedding. How does this information get out there?

I was pretty staggered to learn that he knew what a Steiner education was; this of course meant he had a better idea of what kind of person I was, what with the (good?!) reputation us Steiner / Waldorf kids have! I also found he was open to my ideas on spirituality, which served to help build my trust in him.

As we talked so I found myself wondering at his intuition. He was incredibly observant and picked up on a lot of stuff that I hadn't mentioned during the call and wasn't posted online. "Have you got a brother called Wayne Dyer?!" I asked at one point, laughing.

In the end we were talking for an hour and a quarter. Having got a pretty good idea of where I was in life, he made some concrete suggestions regarding how I approach the opportunity on the horizon, one of which had never even occurred to me, yet fits my skill set perfectly. I was impressed, and realised that were I to agree to work with this coach, 'things would happen'.

There was no high-pressure sell, and there has been no high-pressure sell in the follow up. Just demonstrations of professionalism and integrity.

I can't say I recommend the coaching that TSI offer yet, because apart from today's phone call, I've had none. Still, I'll be signing up for an introductory course when my student loan comes through, and keep you posted so you can laugh with me, or at me (whichever suits your personal opinion the best). I hope in the long term to take it further with 1 on 1 coaching. I have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

I would say though, that if anyone is already seriously considering coaching, DON'T consider TSI. It was in a totally different league from my last coaching experience, real big-picture yet pragmatic life changing stuff.


Oh, and if you do contact them, do mention TameGoesWild!

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Father's efforts finally pay off, netting £1.6 million



Hurrah for my father!

In 1990 my dad took up a headship at Staunton-on-Wye Primary school. The school was in long-term decline - there were only 28 pupils, and the local education authority was about to close it down. 

When Peter came riding along on his trusty steed (old green Volvo) he declared that the school was far from beat. Over the next seven years he battled to get it back on its feet - and succeeded. 

Thanks to those efforts the government has just announced that instead of closing Staunton-on-Wye primary, they will now be investing £1.6m in building a new school next door to replace the 1862 building.




Three Cheers for the (ex)headmaster Peter Tame!

Labels: ,

Friday, March 07, 2008

Time for a new book

This morning, whilst attempting to do more than 15 press-ups next in the park, I finally finished listening to the 13-hour audiobook version of Steven Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. It's been a great listen, and I can understand why it has been received so well since its publication in 1989.

Naturally, much of what he writes about is covered in other success / personal development literature, and of course he makes no claims to have dreamed up these habits himself. It's just another way of putting them.

There was one tool that I picked up from this book that I have not seen elsewhere, and that is the Time Management Matrix (worth taking a look at). Whilst initially somewhat sceptical about its relevance for my life (and somewhat put off by what I perceived to be an attention-seeking title), looking back I can see I have actually referred to it and found it positively useful several times in the last couple of weeks. Specifically, I have felt myself motivated by the idea that those activities that are not urgent but important (they go into the top-right corner, that being quadrant 2), such as regular exercise, studying kanji etc, actually have a huge impact upon the quality of one's life.

So, for example, this morning I woke up at 6.30am and looked out of the window. It was raining. "Hmm, maybe I'll give exercise a miss today" was my natural reaction, but then recalling that this was a quadrant 2 activity (important but not urgent), I realised that I could say that same thing every single day - without penalty - and nothing would change.

OR, I could appreciate that as a quadrant 2 activity, all efforts put into it would in the long term reap enormous benefits , and it was worth the short-term 'pain'.

As it happened, despite getting a bit wet and despite being left outside for 15 minutes when I got home having forgotten to take my key, I really enjoyed it, and I feel energised for the day. And I got to stretch my self-discipline muscles too!

It was actually the Time Management Matrix that helped me reach the decision to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test too. There is something which will never be urgent, but boy-oh-boy is it important for me.

So what's next? I'm out of Audiobooks for now. I do re-listen to some of them every few months, but I want something fresh. Ah, yes, I know...

I've signed up to Audible.co.uk again, and for £7.99 have got Nelson Mandela's Long Walk To Freedom, and for a complete change, Michael Palin's Diaries, 1969 - 1979, as recommended by Andy Ihnatko. I'm really excited about listening to these! I can also feel good about my shopping-for-pleasure not having a big impact upon the environment, as all it is is data, data that makes me very happy!

A few weeks back I was talking to a friend of mine about spending time on self-development. They mentioned that although they would love to look into this realm, they just couldn't make the time for it.

I couldn't help but smile. "Didn't you just spend three years at university studying something which you now admit you have little interest in, and are unlikely to work in any industry where you can use the knowledge that you acquired through your course?"

My friend was silent for a while, and then smiled at their own logic.

I would argue, that when it comes to things that are Important but not Urgent, you can't afford to not have time at the moment, because unless you make time for them, today, they will never happen.

Just think, all those life-changing things you could do, whether it be studying your chosen language, exploring thought patterns, or learning how to communicate effectively with your spouse and children, these things could remain as ideas associated with some conceptual ideal life - unless you choose to make them your reality by acknowledging their importance today and acting upon them. Now.

By investing even a tiny fraction of the time that my friend had put into their university course in learning about themselves and their own potential, they could improve their levels of satisfaction, happiness and general well-being for the duration of their entire lives. And, as a bonus, they wouldn't be lumbered with another £24,000 debt either!

Of course, I'm not denying that the university experience is all about degrees. Far from it. It is also an amazing Life School, teaching all manner of skills that could never be learnt through, for example, an audiobook alone.

For a start, it teaches one when it's time to shut up, and get on writing that dissertation introduction..!

(and suddenly, he was gone).

Labels: , ,