The Big Unknown
A few years ago I took five weeks off work to go travelling. I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia and spent two weeks exploring New Zealand in a camper van; in San Francisco I visited Alcatraz, and I bought a great t-shirt with a line on it that said, Head Coach: Alcatraz Swim Team, which I thought was very badass! I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge on a Harley, and I ate real New York cheesecake and pizza in… you guessed it, New York City. All in all it was an amazing opportunity to see the world and have a big adventure, and the funny thing about it is that not everyone saw it like that at the time. One colleague of mine told me I was brave to go, because I was going out to new places, into ‘The Big Unknown’…
It’s interesting to notice how people think, and how two different people will have two very different takes on the same event. For me the trip was an exciting opportunity, and I could not wait to go! For my friend it was a frightening prospect. Sometimes you don’t even need two people, all you need is time to change. When I bought my own place eleven years ago, the ideas of security, permanence and reliability were important to me. Now I am going to sell the flat because freedom has become a lot more important to me. What is important to you in life, and how do you go about getting it?
At Master Practitioner level in NLP we learn about Values, which are concepts like happiness, freedom, loyalty, the things that matter to us in life. Values tend to be unconscious. If I asked you now what’s important to you in the context of your career, it may well be the first time you actually thought about it consciously. Some people want stability in a career; others think excitement is more important. What are your values in the context of your relationships? And does your partner share the same?
It’s interesting to look at what we believe will fulfil those values too. I used to think putting my name against a building would satisfy my need for security and permanence. I mean, not to sound too pessimistic, but all it takes to wash it all away is a good flood, right? Or not being able to pay the bills. And where’s the value in a house anyway? In its walls? Or in the empty space in between the walls? Think about it: the more rooms we need, the more empty space we buy, the higher the price we pay… Isn’t that funny?
I like it that everything I own these days fits in the back of my car. And the most precious thing I own fits in my head, even better! NLP goes everywhere with me, and it gives me a really lovely feeling of solidness inside. It satisfies my need for reliability, and it makes it a million times more precious because I am my own source of it these days. Send me off into The Big Unknown, throw me in at the deep end, watch me swim! And yes, I still want ‘things’ in life to satisfy my values. I am functioning in the world as a human being, you bet! At the same time I know I don’t need anything, because I have acquired strong empowering beliefs through NLP. Beliefs like ‘I am enough’, ‘I am always okay’, and ‘I can’. And so I know there is nothing to fear from the big unknown, because everything in life is only ever about discovering more of yourself and becoming more of who you are… As far as I’m concerned, the bigger the unknown, the better!
“That is the exploration that awaits you! Not mapping stars and studying nebula, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence.” – Leonard Nimoy