Sherlock Holmes of the Past

Ray was a construction worker who had been unemployed for four years. Understandably, when we met, he was feeling very low. He said that when he first arrived for Guidance he felt “tearful”. He said that he had expected his visit to Guidance to be a form-filling session, however, he found it like Counselling. After the session, Ray said “it was the best thing” he had done in years,  “as I would still be in the town scratching my head, still trying to make up my mind about the future”.

Ray described his four years of unemployment as ‘dreadful’ and marked by a lack of self-worth and motivation. He felt that he did not even to deserve to socialise with friends while he was out of work – “My self-worth was on the ground as I felt I was taking from the country while on the dole rather than giving back. I was at the point where I was considering College or Emigration”.

Ray was riddled with career indecision. He knew that it would benefit him to return to learning and having done some research, he was torn between studying Archaeology and studying Renewable Energies.

I invited Ray invited to consider a different version of himself, his ideal self.  Sometimes in life we need permission to follow our dreams. When we teased out his ‘high dream’, he saw himself at the cutting edge of Archaeology heading a team excavating an ancient site in Egypt. In this high dream and idealised version of his future self he saw himself as a “Sherlock Holmes of the past”.  His environment was outdoors and he was practically employing his knowledge of ordinance survey, Geophysics and Archaeology. The thought of being a leader in a field he loved filled his solar plexus, stomach and heart with a mixture of butterflies and excitement.

Prior to this session, Ray’s friends and the people around him said he was daft to consider a career in Archaeology as it offered limited work opportunities.  Everyone was pointing him towards Renewable Energies and windmills as they felt the next wave of employment would arise from Green Energy. Sometimes, the people around us can be ‘Dream Dashers’ rather than ‘Dream Builders’. Dream Dashers laugh at your dreams and tell you that it’s not possible. Dream Builders encourage you and cheer you on!

Of course Ray had hesitations about direction, age, money and so on.  It had been 15 years since he was at school and he was concerned about studying as a mature student. Overall, the session allowed Ray connect with his real dream and the support and acknowledgement he experienced in the session gave him the permission he needed to step out and follow his dream.

Now he says, “From there to here there is a massive difference in my life. I have a clear idea now of where I am going and I am feeling a lot more confident. Now 15 years since I left school I am into the swing of studying of studying Archaeology and Geology and loving it”.

In essence, Ray learned to be guided by his own inner compass, his true self which pointed him to his own North Star. Martha Beck in her book Finding Your Own North Star speaks of how the North Star – or Stella Polaris – is a fixed point that guided explorers for centuries. She makes the correlation between the North Star as an indicator of your right life and points to the life you were meant to live. Nothing gives me greater joy than when the people I work with uncover their North Star and true direction and find their own version of Nirvana or Paradise.

Think of your North Star and consider the following questions:

  • If you were not worried about what other people thought, what would you do?
  • If you knew you couldn’t fail what would you do?
  • If you had the freedom, what would you do?

To finish I’ll leave you with the words of Apple’s Steve Jobs

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

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One comment

  • Rose Duffy February 1, 2013  

    Loved reading Ray’s story. Truly inspirational. It shows you if you dream it, just do it!