Written in conjunction with Rob Neil
A friend recently motivated me to watch one of those popular YouTube uploads. “It will leave you feeling inspired” they said, and it wasn’t long before I was online in anticipation.
This particular clip ran for about 10mins and featured musician/comedian, father of two and University of Western Australia (UWA) graduate – Tim Minchin – as the Keynote Speaker at UWA Graduation Day 2013.
Tim’s words of advice, insight and real life experience, for his graduating audience offered an alternative prescription for their next chapter.
With sharp wit, blunt self-examination and (now) mature hindsight he challenges conventional wisdom and any constitutionalised pursuit of happiness, to have us focus on the precious moments right here, right now, in front of our very eyes.
To share what you love and not spend disproportionate time grumbling about that which you hate. Acknowledge good fortune, challenge your own assumptions and exercise with fun in mind. Teach, respect those with less power than yourself and… don’t rush!!!! Hey, you just gotta love those pearls of wisdom, right?
Much of what Tim had to share in his “nine lessons for life” resonate with my own moral compass, a personal compass which supports my journey through life, navigating a daily trek in offering my very best and which I choose to articulate as:
The Five F’s – a fantastic road map to share with your mentees
The first of my five F’s is FAITH. Not necessarily a stated religion or even a defined doctrine, but a set of values and beliefs greater than self. A higher purpose, a residency for hope and a guiding set of principles to love, unconditionally.
I have observed that human cruelty can often be equal to human kindness and each of us has the capacity to tip the balance. I adhere to that reality and hold myself accountable.
The second F is FAMILY. Here is where I am nurtured, where my behaviour is understood (instinctively) and, in the bosom of relatives, where I find time to be still.
Whether a scheduled occasion full of predictable joy, such as a birthday party, or a more sombre function like a funeral, it is often with family that we ride that roller coaster of emotions.
Nervous when we get on, exhilarated throughout and keen to re-join the queue the very moment we step off.
The third F is FRIENDS. Edifying fellowship adds flavour to my life – ahhhhh the spice!!! For it is when we connect deeply that we taste an exciting rhythm as we share the same dance floor.
When we build connections and choose relationships in commitment to the greater good, we elect to live out the true meaning of WIN:WIN. Possibilities grow and, together, we reach for even brighter stars as they too come into view.
The fourth F is FUNCTION. I define function as paid or unpaid effort. Whether employed, self-employed or working in the voluntary sector, all of us retain some level of choice as to how we spend our discretionary time. Whether our level of engagement with the function (work) that we do extends to going that extra mile, it is often said that one can discern a lot from how, or with whom, we choose to spend our discretionary time.
So, reach for that mirror and reflect on the following; do you invest in your learning and development, are you bringing all of your potential into the workplace and how do you celebrate your achievements? Take a look at what you see and be bold with any necessary revisions.
The fifth and final F is FUN 🙂 That modern day mantra to follow your passion is one which has increased in popularity, if not volume. Whether a school leaver choosing subjects to study at University, or a Graduate entering the workplace or even a long serving civil servant contemplating a career change following redundancy, the cocktail of advice always seems to include a swig of that most potent question… what do you really enjoy doing?
Yet, how many of us take the time to even ask that question let alone answer or respond to it? Ask yourself this, can you share – and share in – the ‘fun’ that is available to all?
Run regularly, share often and love all that you do – the rest is in the detail.