I have come to the conclusion that all of the personal coaching that I do, either through mentoring
creative people or teaching comes down to one thing: transition.
We are all in constant transition: moving from and moving to. How can we take some control over where we move to?
One key thing that I do with the students in my ARTS301 class is to get them to focus on writing a CV that captures the uniqueness of each of them. It took me years to figure out how to write a good CV, so I know that it doesn’t come easy. However, I believe that being able to develop a clear and purposeful CV is a very important discipline, just as I think being able to write a business plan is critical when starting a business. Writing things down requires that you think carefully about what it is that you want to do and how you are going to do it, and the implications that flow from your intent.Working through the problems that you encounter as you do do helps improve the way that you think and makes an investment in your business or you as an individual less risky and more appealing.
The CV is not only about crystallizing intent. It also helps you reflect on what makes you individual and special. When my students start writing their CVs they naturally tend to concentrate on putting down on paper the things that they think are important. So I see references to the description of the job that they did rather than what they learned as a result of it. I tend to see very little about the essence of them as human beings.
So at some point I ask the students to share with me and their fellow students one important fact about themselves that people would not know under normal circumstances.
At the class last Friday we conducted the exercise.
The results were remarkable. We found out about the young students who had rebuilt schools in Indonesia after the tsunami, who had helped rebuild villages in Cambodia, about a student who had been a refugee of the war in Sarajevo, about a student who had been a miracle baby, born after her mother had given up hope of successfully having a baby. It turned out that every student had done something remarkable in their lives; something transformational that showed they had depth and dimension in their character.
I try to get them to find a way to express their uniqueness in their CV, so that they understand that every experience that they have had is quite unique, and it is what they take away from the experience that is of interest to a future employer and not just the raw fact of having worked in a particular role for a period of time.
The methodology is perhaps an adaptation of appreciative inquiry – helping to identify and then celebrate good experiences and build upon them. For me this process of identifying unique experiences is a way to help people on the road to self-actualization and understanding their own authenticity.