Thursday 24 March 2022

We Need To Talk - Live Your Essence/Follow Your Bliss

Below is an unedited 40 minutes of an actual We Need To Talk episode. The personal actions decided in the final 10 - 15 minutes were not recorded. My thanks to Claudia Brose, Richard Merrick, Liviu Caliman, Peter Milligan and the two other regulars in this group Terry McGivern and Paul Schmeja who were apologies for this episode.

All are great examples of the high calibre of people who participate in We Need To Talk. 

Here's the transcript of the story shared and the 9 wisdom worlds of wise leaders referenced.

I was raised in the Christian Religion via the Churches of Christ denomination. Church morning and evening and Sunday school in the middle, every Sunday. Bible study groups as well. These were my young and teenage years. It infiltrated our whole lives. There were many rules. One was not being able to play sport on Sunday’s which may have curtailed a possible future playing sports. But that’s another story!

I was baptised by full emersion, one of the rules of the Churches of Christ, at aged 16. What quickly followed was playing guitar and singing for a Christian band. We played almost every weekend at a church or Christian event somewhere in my home state of Victoria for about two years. It was also the beginning of a short career as a story-telling lay preacher in the tradition of my father and grandfathers. 

I also played rhythm and bass guitar and sang in one of Australia’s first Christian Rock and Roll Bands. We were called Harvey Tucker, I can’t remember why. At our first concert in Her Majesty’s Theatre in my home town of Ballarat many older conservative Christians walked out because they believed we were too loud and that our music was of the devil.

In this period I began my career in the corporate world as a credit officer in a finance company. I met many people from the church in business and became increasingly surprised by such people’s lack of ethics, lack of integrity and often a lack of moral fibre.

I began to call this the Faith Behaviour Gap after reading words reportedly said by the Apostle Peter, “faith without our works is dead.”

Later I was to broaden this to the Values Behaviour Gap which of course is still one of the great challenges in business, politics and everything that has been industrialised including religion. 

It was the first seed most likely of what has become my life’s work to help people to excel in business without comprising your personal values.

I read the bible from beginning to end many times. I was fascinated by the differences and often juxtaposition between the words attributed to Jesus Christ (they are 5 to 6 A4 pages or 2000 words) and the rest of the book. I began to see the stark differences between faith and religion. At aged 18 I was on a serious path to becoming ordained.

The Faith Behaviour Gap took its toll however. My first promotion in business meant a move away from home. A subsequent move back and then away again a few years later all conspired to help me to leave the church and focus on business.

My interest in the vast differences between faith and religion continued however. I went on to study all the world’s religions, faiths, and ways of being. I also began a major interest that remains today of the study and integration of philosophy particularly from the 1450’s and the role of industrialisation in our lives and how it dehumanises us and our workplaces.

At aged 30 I had somewhat of an early mid life crisis. Abandoning my corporate career my wife and I ended up part owning a general store in the Barossa Valley. The plan was Carol would work in the store and I would occasionally, yet my main focus was to become a management consultant. Carol hurt her back and couldn’t work and I ended up working full time in the store. I was most likely the worst shop keeper in history. But that’s another story too.

Within a few months we were out of the store. I was back in the corporate world and also back in a church. This time with the Uniting Church denomination. I returned to playing music and lay preaching including undertaking the course where I became an accredited lay preacher in the Uniting Church.

The Faith Behaviour Gap remained. I was still meeting religious people in business with no integrity or ethics. I did meet some who didn’t have the Faith Behaviour Gap, yet ideology seemed to consume their lives and they mostly approached the wider world with an us and them disposition. These people believed that their way was the only way which often made me laugh because many of my bosses thought the same about their approach to business.

The difference between faith and religion became even starker and I was again disillusioned.

And then in my studies I stumbled on the mythologist Joseph Campbell. Carol and I watched Power of Myth series where he is interviewed by Bill Moyers. I read Joseph’s book Hero of a Thousand Faces and all of his books on mythology. Through them I learned that there is no original ideas in any religion. All of the tenets have been stolen from ancient and indigenous traditions.

The Australian first nations people have a flood story that predates Noah by several thousand years for example. There are many virgin birth stories, and many stories of the gods becoming humans.

My own personal discoveries have been that the idea of an external, masculine, father figure God are extremely unlikely.

There is for me an internal force in us all. It’s called love and it’s up to us individually and collectively to make this a force for good.

Fast forward 35 years.

My lessons from my experience - We are not our jobs, the roles we play or the beliefs or ideologies we hold. We must hold our beliefs and ideologies lightly otherwise they can consume us.

We do have an essence or unique personal wisdom and from this essence we have preferences to how we live, learn and lead. 

Joseph Campbell called essence bliss and coined the phrase ‘follow your bliss’ as a key to living our best one-of-a-kind life.

We decide after learning what our essence is who we must be and what we can’t not do which is Joseph Campbell’s explanation of what bliss is. 

Today will explore 9 possible preferences to help us to be and do that I call the 9 wisdom worlds of wise leaders.

Download the wisdom world's recommenced exercise.

Studying Campbell’s work, which is an ongoing passion, initially awakened my curiosity at a very deep level. I’ve stayed curious!

Of course we’ve been exploring bliss or essence here in this We Need To Talk Season One. 

You might prefer a different term to essence or bliss such as Nature, Song, Quiddity, Element, Voice, Vitality, Gift, Essence Music Ikigai, even Aura You choose what works best for you.

Having been inspired by the work Joseph Campbell, yet treading my own path, I endeavour to shine a light of inspiration on infinite possibilities by telling stories. 

We see through the ancient myths the way our elders have passed on wisdom in ways in which truth is not hidden from us.

We don’t need to know the details when we hear these stories, because the wisdom is embedded in the story, and will be available in the moment when we need it.

You don’t need to understand, until you need to understand!

There are many great works available about the old stories (see some referenced under the video on YouTube).

Their lessons are in part why what I say is important, yet nowhere near as important as what you hear yourself say to yourself, and who you become and what you do next.

What are you hearing yourself say to yourself today?

Become the wise leader you want to be.


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