Hi Everyone, this is the first of many future submittals. This one comes from Paul Mallory, a fan of the site for some time. We were introduced through Arvind Devalia a few months back and Paul is now doing some volunteer work for Quality of Life Project as well. We will be publishing submittals from friends of the organization every two weeks going forward. If you haven’t sent yours yet, we would love to receive it.
By Paul Mallory
People often talk about work/life balance. I realized one day (in middle age) that my work life is a huge percentage of my time on earth, and that I wanted my life to be as meaningful, contributory and joyful as I could make it. The key for me is to have work that feels like I am using my gifts to the full, and making a difference. That’s when I formed my company, Soul Work, to coach people on finding more fulfillment at work.
I have four beautiful, bright, happy and hilarious children, ranging from a school leaver to a middle-school starter. These are my favorite people in the world, and they are the people who bring joy to my weekends and through their aspirations and achievements, some huge, some tiny. They come before everything else for me, but I also realized that to support, mentor and make them happy, I needed to be happy in myself and that I therefore needed to feel good about myself and find fulfilment in my work.
I am happiest when I feel “˜on-purpose’, i.e. that my daily work is me being who I authentically am, at my core, and using my unique strengths for the benefit of others. When we’re lost in our work, we are “˜in flow’, and that’s a great feeling. I formed my company “˜Soul Work’ to research the question of how we can increase our fulfilment at work, by either changing our mindset around our current role, or by finding a new role that allows the possibility of alignment to our life purpose.
Self Awareness, Perspective and Life-Long Learning
My voracious reading habit has, over the years, opened the door for me to life-changing ideas. Practice these, and quality of life increases exponentially. Major influences have been Stephen Covey’s “˜7 habits of highly effective people’, Eckhart Tolle’s “˜Power of Now’, “˜Conversations with God’ by Neale Donald Walsch, and much of Anthony Robbins’ material. I can never understand people who are unwilling to admit there is something they don’t know. I feel that the more I learn, the more I uncover to be learned. After all, the universe is infinite… and is still expanding! How can we know it all? Lifelong learning as a philosophy and a habit brings joy and curiosity to my life.
I play the guitar, and it’s a great way to change state and get into a whole other mood. I also love to listen to music, wherever I am. Music comes from and touches the spirit. If there is more to life than material reward, paying the bills and trying to stay ahead, then music, art of any sort, beauty for it’s own sake, those are the things that take us there. Cherish them!
Movies and Theatre
I love to watch movies and theatre that connect with me emotionally in some way. I think movies are the ultimate art form in a sense, because when they are the product of a director at the peak of his powers, surrounded by a talented team, they can move me like no other medium. I think that’s partly because of the power of the combination of visual art, music, the ability to make the impossible happen on screen, the ability to take us back (or forward) to another time, or to take us to a foreign country or planet in an instant. What would caveman have made of the spectacle of a movie flashing before his eyes?
I have been a volunteer listener at an emotional distress helpline for four years now. It has had a huge impact on me, by connecting me to strangers in difficulty, making a difference for the sake of that difference, and helping me to be less judgmental and a better listener. Can you imagine what the world would be like if each human being helped one other human being in some important and meaningful way, without any motivation to do so other than giving out of love? Can you imagine how good it feels, to give in that way?
I discovered coaching a few years ago, as a development of my voluntary work, wanting to be more proactively helpful (where appropriate) than providing just a listening service. What I found, as I studied coaching over several years and became qualified, is that each of us has all our answers within, but our inner voice is often a confusing jumble of ideas and repetitive thought patterns. Having somebody else who is totally on your side listening to your crazy dreams can make them magically solidify into possibilities, then probabilities, and finally, inevitabilities! It truly works and it has become the primary vehicle to help people find fulfilment at work, through my company Soul Work.
The absolute integrated nature of mind, body and spirit is becoming more widely acknowledged, and we can all cite examples of our mind causing sickness to our bodies. Why then do we still, in western cultures, treat our bodies as though they are invulnerable, when the distance between life and death can be like a candle flickering in a breeze? I notice that if I am feeling tired or stressed, although it feels counter-intuitive at the time, I get out and run by the river, through the trees, across the fields for half an hour. I always but ALWAYS feel better mentally and physically afterwards. I ran my first marathon in London last year and the sense of achievement was enormous. Many of these things that lead to joy in life are about stepping out of our comfort zone and into the stretch zone. That’s where the juice in life is to be found!
I have never had the time to write as much as I would like. Yet, every time I sit and write, I get quickly into “˜flow’ and feel so engaged with life. I believe writing is therapeutic, and everyone can write a page of a journal per day. A little like the powerful effect of coaching, just expressing one’s inner most thoughts on paper has an amazing way of connecting us to our deepest spirit.
Working and Living Environment
I sometimes take my environment for granted. Now that I pause to reflect, I am very lucky to be able to work at home most days, working as I do for a web-based professional association. I enjoy working in a fairly quiet, fairly solitary environment; it gives me space and thinking time. I don’t enjoy noisy, bustling spaces so much. I live and work in a second floor modern apartment in an old mill next to the River Avon in Evesham, Worcestershire, UK, a very green and quiet area surrounded by fruit farms. I don’t face the morning commute any more, and my children (who live elsewhere) can walk to my home in ten minutes.