In the pursuit of exhale
Posted by Ed.
A few years ago as part of my mission to start making a positive impact on the world rather than just sapping it for all it was worth, I started helping the charity Down Syndrome International with their strategic planning.
This exercise exposed me to business strategy modelling and the principles around The Theory of Change (ToC). ToC is really interesting as you set an end-point, or impact you want to achieve, and then you work backwards via a series of assumptions to your present state and in doing so map out what change you need to affect at each stage in order to achieve that impact. That is of course highly simplified.
All of this modelling made me wish I’d known about these frameworks when I was starting out as a clueless waster back in the mid-90’s, because these models were as applicable to people as they wore to organisations. And to cut a long-story-not-quite-so-short, I went down a number of rabbit holes to discover Coaching.
The principles of Coaching (and undertaking a course to become a coach), mixed with an interest in business culture, marketing, people and the planet led me to creating a fictitious company with my kids, called, ‘Low Inc.’ (our surname is ‘Low’, and the kids watch too much American rubbish on TV so wanted it to be ‘Inc.’).
Low Inc. has kept us entertained on many a long countryside walk as we run through our extended family (and we have a big one) and identify roles to each of our family members, based on their character traits. My eldest has kept a record of all these positions and I think we have about 35 employees at present. This exercise has a fairly obvious underlying message for the kids around playing to your strengths, doing what you enjoy and being yourself.
Low Inc.and coaching has also been instrumental in helping me understand my beliefs, driven by my values, all of which direct my behaviours. Have you ever sat down and written out what your personal values are? — and then tried to order them in importance? It’s a pretty interesting exercise especially if you are really honest with yourself. This exercise in self-awareness has also helped me to further challenge my understanding of what success looks like for me, vs. other people’s ideas of what success is. I had spent much of my life living up to, and having unconsciously adopted other people’s benchmarks.
The thing was, if I didn’t understand this of myself, how on earth was I going to be in control of the direction of my future?
One of many outcomes of this (ongoing) extreme navel-gazing exercise was that we decided that Low Inc. was a purveyor of love and goodness and whose product (whatever that is) is created to help everyone it touches to be the best version of themselves (whatever that is), and lead a better life.
sounds a bit trite right? .. wrong — it’s real.