We felt like there was a big change that was going to happen. I was a student at Swinburne, in Melbourne. It was 1970. All of us thought: if only people could just sing and dance, and not get so caught up in the idea of being an ‘organisation man.’ We had plenty of brilliant theoreticians to buoy our point of view. They gave us tools to talk about our ideas. We grew our hair long and rallied against authority. They were sending us to Vietnam. I got conscripted but I was a student and escaped. I wouldn’t have gone anyway. I would have been a conscientious objector. I would have gone to jail instead of going. I hated war. I was really arrogant. I drove a car but protested about oil drilling and pollution. I drank beer and wine but protested against corporate dominance. I was a consumer but my long hair and radical language made me innocent in some weird twist of viewpoint. Save the World, Make Love Not War. Peace was our collective fight. But there was an arrogance there too. We really thought we were going to enlighten those poor suckers, the older generation who went to the office everyday, and didn’t understand the world. We were going to fix them. We were going to save the world from its greed. But greed was never a world condition. It’s a human condition. This ‘give me,’ this grasping. You see it in babies. You see it in old people. It’s who we are. It’s us. You can moderate it, but you’ll never fix it. And a lot of us ‘sixties kids’ got depressed when we finally realised this. We turned to drinking and smoking dope. I started down that path myself, until I founded a wonderful business working with pollution control. There were huge factories all over the world spewing fumes and the Environmental Protection Act was forcing them to clean up. My business became an extension of my identity, I was, at last, fixing the problem. I became wealthy too, and ironically became one of those poor suckers, the older generation who went to the office everyday, and didn’t understand the world. I got caught in the whirlwind of my own anti pollution evangelism and success. But one day I ate dinner at the home of a cement factory manager with his wife and young children. There was cement dust (carcinogenic) in their hair and in the food and on the table. Everyone coughed. They said “the wind was bad” meaning the factory was downwind of the house today. The next day in the manager’s office I offered to reduce the pollution from the plant. I already had a multi-million contract for my company but we were only complying with the government minimum. Just being paid enough to toe the line for the EPA. I could do more. I offered to reduce the pollution going to his family home by a wopping 300% for just a few bucks. I was really proud to make this big sacrifice for him. I put my heart on the line for him and his family. But he shocked the life out me. He refused. I burst into tears. He was a conservative. Money before people. I’d always seen greed as part of the world’s problem. But it wasn’t even his money. He and his family, they were absolute sweethearts. I loved spending time with them. And yet,, for him and many like him, money came before life. That job changed me. As a student, I’d only understood pollution and global complacency to the environment as part of a theoretical framework, called capitalism. Something society forced upon the underclass. But this job shattered that. It connected me with the real source of pollution; people. It freed me from theory. and anti establishment anger. The journey to becoming a life-coach – wisdom sharer started here. But I wouldn’t know that for twenty more years. Right after that crying meeting with the cement plant manager, I rang my accountants and put my multimillion dollar engineering firm up for a fire sale. I got divorced. I went back to Uni to study Environmental Law and Behavioural Science. It was clear pollution is a thought process, and if I was going to do anything about it, I needed to change things at the source. The human heart. I dropped law, behavioural science turned into an MBA. Sadly, at the end of the two year full time MBA I knew less than I did before it. So, I went to the East to search for the keys to the heart. I studied Zen, and Yoga and Meditation. I was not better off after that. I went to America and lived with First Nation Communities in Santa Fe and did all sorts of exploration on what makes people tick. I went to over 300 seminars and lectures on human behaviour and spirituality. I knew less than when I started. This took years and years. Meanwhile, my management consulting business grew and grew. We did great work turning around business and working with leaders. But I knew I was still falling short of my goal. I couldn’t find the key even to change just one heart. I couldn’t find the key. Mostly it was men. More and more I got invited to speak on stage at conferences. I spoke about “human spirit” but it was more about the possibilities of it, rather than the process to live it. I was frustrated. I got married a few times. But I couldn’t settle. There was a fire. Those factory tears drove me. The ignorance of my earlier arrogance was a high bar to jump over. By circumstance I started going to Nepal. I went on an expedition with a porter into the mountains where no one had been. I failed badly. I didn’t want to die trekking in the mountains. I wanted to die changing people, opening hearts. That’s how I found my life purpose. After that, I didn’t waste the time in Nepal. I found an easier trek and went alone up to the base of Mt Everest. That was in the 80’s. It was very different then. It was rough and sometimes people went missing. On that “easy” trek I nearly died three times. It stripped me of all my cleverness. Eventually, I made it to the top and found out that I was still the same self depreciating person at the top that I was at the bottom. It drilled home one of the most important elements of wisdom I use in coaching now. So, now I had two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. One, a purpose, and two that we can’t change who we are. For the next 5 years these two were my keynote speaking themes. Over the next ten years my friendships with Sherpa people revealed the other three. As time went on, 50 trips up those mountains and the Five Universal Laws of Nature were revealed to me. All the places I’d been for learning had one or two of the five laws. The problem was the fragmentation. Some spoke of stillness as the solution and missed the other four. Some spoke of vision quest and missed the other four. It is the five laws all at once that opens a human heart and saves us time. Thirty books later, 3000 speaking engagements and the dream came true. I found the keys to change the world one heart at a time. An open heart experiences more moments of love, wisdom, joy and truth so it saves time. On our death bed, what we recall as we recount the value of our life are the moments of truth, love, wisdom and joy. Coaching saves time wasted chasing rainbows adds hours of love to life, and it may be the difference between regret and celebration of a life. It’s worth fighting for.
COACHING IS ABOUT MORE LOVE AND SAVING TIME
May 21, 2020