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July 20, 2008

Listen to your body

There’s an interesting thing about passion. When it’s stifled or thwarted by circumstance, it just gets stronger.

Do passionate people give up when things get harder? No. It’s an essential characteristic of being passionate, in fact, that they don’t.

The curious thing that happens is, after a period of being stifled, when one finds oneself in tune with one's passion again it can create a real surge of very dynamic productivity. With passion, it really is a case of absence making the heart grow fonder.

Passion comes from listening to the body and the soul. It comes from respectfully tuning in to what really matters. It takes time. And whether that body is political, corporate or personal, this is what 'listening to one's body', means.

Firework hearts

In toughening circumstances it’s easy to lose sight of where and what our real passions are and just survive. It’s easy also to get caught up in a rush of frenzied activity, of ‘doing’ without ‘thinking’, without the calm reflection that listening to one’s body entails.

In a commercial context, in fact, 'doing' too much can obliterate any opportunity to do some really useful ‘thinking’. Thinking can be seen at times as a commercial risk when the name of the game is just delivery, pure and simple.

Trying to develop new ideas and capture them on paper whilst catching a train, for example, is not that easy. Rushing from one meeting to another doesn’t allow for scope to sit back and collect some objectivity. No, thinking and doing are often not all that compatible except when they come together as part of an iterative process or a cognitive experience.

For many, corporate life is increasingly tending to mean being dead behind the eyes in the quest for continuing productivity within the same paradigm at any price.

Traditionally, commercial acceleration has been driven by the investor and the consequent need for a year on year return. Is this sustainable long term? What happens when the system's got nothing left to give?

Steve Jobs, when talking about managing through and economic downturn, relates to the issue of passion. “When the dot-com bubble burst”, he said, “what I told our company was that we were just going to invest our way through the downturn, that we weren't going to lay off people, that we'd taken a tremendous amount of effort to get them into Apple in the first place -- the last thing we were going to do is lay them off. And we were going to keep funding. In fact we were going to up our R&D budget so that we would be ahead of our competitors when the downturn was over. And that's exactly what we did. And it worked. And that's exactly what we'll do this time."

The ability to see beyond the darker horizons of a situation is fuelled by passion. Being in tune with one’s body, in Steve’s case, Apple, makes it easier to achieve. It makes a priority out of finding what ways will release a surge of far more meaningful activity when the struggle is on. It makes success much easier to realize.

There’s a lot of talk about social networks being a route to future value. Social networks constelate around spontaneous, unbridled interest that doesn’t have to be contrived and is therefore very efficient. Reports are that to date the majority of corporate businesses are failing to harness this opportunity.  It’s questionable also whether social networks can affect the change we need in isolation from the investor perspective.

For corporate businesses to continue to have a good chance of generating future wealth for their investors, investors need to allow the corporates to seek an approach to wealth management that centers value around the social network and that liberates the passion of their people. They need to listen to the body.


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"Listen to the body"; I love it! How refreshing to hear from a consultant to corporate 'heads'!

Thank you, Anne, for 'embodying' the principals that offer/invite/guide people back into union with their physical/emotional selves. 'The body always tells the truth' is one of my favorite reminders.

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