The new post-pandemic world future demands a different approach to the way we think. It’s time to consider life from a left-field perspective. Re-thinking the previously unexpected, the unthinkable, the crazy, the unusual. As the TV series “1% Club” puts it, “it’s not about what you know, it’s about the way you think”.  

I’ve been professionally seeing life from a left field perspective for nearly 50 years. The first half as a Recreation Planner, focusing on what makes people tick at the weekend – the ‘life’ side of the work / life wall. That’s weird in itself. We saw life as working for five days (or more) and living for two days (or less). No wonder working people were stressing, burning out and even committing suicide. After they left work many died of boredom. 

In 2003, a friend who knew me well effectively started my encore career.  She wanted to change the culture of her private enterprise team of workaholics who were seriously on the brink of burnout.    My friend, a left field thinker, wanted me to run a workshop for her staff based on my 2001 book “Enjoy Being You”.  The workshop was a huge success and (so I was later told), was the trigger for everyone in the team to make a major shift in their attitude to life and massively lifted their personal energy.

I became a Work Leisure Consultant. My book and my talks were well received by women in the workforce, At the time work life balance was very much a women’s issue – juggling work , family and home duties.  In giving my talks I was often the only male in the room.  {Side comment –  women have always been more receptive to my message than men. Men have been much more receptive since Covid.]

Business saw work and enjoyment like chalk and cheese. While my passion remained strong, my business was always a battle.

I changed tack. My 25 years in recreation and parks planning taught me we humans, like everything else in nature are born to grow, mature, flourish and blossom to a destined potential.  I became Australia’s People Gardener – growing better people. Still left field thinking, although people – working or not - could readily understand my nature-based analogies.  Connecting nature and business was however still anathema in the money-making world.

I decided to reposition myself as a Life Enjoyment Mentor.  While people  warmed to this,  my message still didn’t fit the business philosophy “if it can’t be measured, It can’t be managed”.   It would take a global shift in public perceptions of life and work – way beyond any efforts by me - to shift this centuries-old thinking.  That shift came in the form of Covid 19. Not so much the pandemic itself but the long lockdowns it triggered.

Covid lockdowns brought the world to a screeching halt, triggering a paradigm shift in every aspect of life.   People realized they wanted to enjoy all their life – at work, home and play. What was once left field thinking helps us not just how to enjoy life, it clarifies our purpose. People have begun telling me, “he makes sense”.

People found themselves having to make their own unique decisions about their work, life and future. They want to identify, or reidentify, living with purpose. Steve Jobs said people can’t see the dots (key features of their life) looking forward, they can only see them looking back. My program has always been based on enabling people to see who they have always really been – since childhood. It’s a left field approach and it works.

Whether or not my program approach resonates with you, my message here is we all need to take a left field perspective in clarifying who we really are and what we want to do in this dramatically changed world.  

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