Doctor Neha: Welcome to Talk Rx with Doctor Neha. Today I have a special guest. We’re in New Zealand. This is Suz. She is a brave soul willing to ask her questions so that all of you can learn. So, welcome.
Suz: Thank you. Welcome to New Zealand.
Doctor Neha: Thank you. It’s been such a wonderful, wonderful trip. Tell me, what have you been thinking about?
Suz: I was really touched by your conference talk yesterday, and it got me thinking a lot about communicating with myself because I think we can be very good at noticing things around us, but we’re not very good about noticing things about ourselves. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about is what’s my purpose, what’s my thing, what’s my focus for the next wee while of my life? And trying to work out what that is. I haven’t managed to come up with anything, so I keep thinking I’m not listening to myself well enough.
Doctor Neha: Yeah. First of all, tell me what you currently do. What do you do right now?
Suz: I’m an experience designer.
Doctor Neha: Okay. What does that mean?
Suz: It basically is using human seated design, or design thinking methods to help organization design great experiences for their customers. It might be a product or a service or anything really. It’s all about putting the customer at the heart of what you’re designing for them.
Doctor Neha: That’s fun. Tell me what you like about that. What do you like about it?
Suz: I love the people aspect of it because it’s all about giving people a voice. It’s all about understanding what they need, what they want, what bugs them, and what they’d like done differently.
Doctor Neha: One thing that is really important to know is that what gives us meaning and purpose evolves. For me, each decade I’m a little bit different on what’s important to me and what I value.
The first thing I’m going to say is you’re probably pretty good at your job. Let me tell you why I’m going to say that. Because you’re outward focused. You told me you’re very good at tuning into what other people need, not as good as turning in here [to yourself]. Then when you told me what you do, you design experiences for other people and getting to the heart of their clients and their customers. This super power that you have is what makes you good at your job. Of course you’re going to be really good at that. The first thing we want to do is honor that super power in you, okay?
Suz: All right.
Doctor Neha: All right. Sometimes you have to work long hours and long days and meet deadlines and all of that? Did it serve you not to be tuned into yourself and instead be tuned into others and work?
Suz: Yeah. My work can be quite intense at times. I wouldn’t say I work horrendously long hours, but I have a family and family commitments and things like that.
Doctor Neha: You have a job, too, when you get home.
Suz: My friend says I’m a sandwich generation because I have a young son and I have elderly parents. I care for both extremes of the life cycle.
Doctor Neha: Tell me, is there something in you saying, I enjoy what I do and there is something more? Is that why you’re asking the question?
Suz: Yeah, I guess. Particularly over the last couple of days and listening to such inspiring people like yourself talk about what they do and the journey that you’ve gone through to get there and to realize your purpose or your calling, even if it’s just for right now, it resonated because I’ve been thinking about what is my bigger purpose? I can’t seem to rip that out.
Doctor Neha: How do I make a difference? Tell me what other super powers you have, because I know you have got some. You’re very able to focus outward. You’re very able to create customer experiences for others and tune into their needs and wants.
Suz: I’m a planner.
Doctor Neha: You’re organized.
Suz: When I saw your slide with all the post-it notes on it when you were talking about the levels of listening yesterday, I laughed a lot inwardly.
Doctor Neha: You’re like, “That’s what it looks like inside my head.”
Suz: Pretty much. Outside sometimes, too.
Doctor Neha: Okay. You have a gift of organization. You have the gift of being tuned into others. Now what you’re thinking about is How do I tune inward to take the gifts of being able to be organized in the external world and tap into others? Now I want to tap into me.
Suz: You know what’s really weird? You talk about those things being my gifts. I’ve never thought about them like that before. It’s just what I do.
Doctor Neha: It’s your superpower, darling. I would not describe myself that way. I would not say that I am organized like that, that my brain works that way, and so the beauty is I would need to work with someone like you. But now the question is, what lights you up? I want you to tell me about a time when you were on fire. You know that song, “This girl is on fire”? Tell me about a time when you were really jazzed, you were really excited, when something really felt important to you. An experience, an accomplishment, a peak in your life.
Suz: A work thing or a personal thing?
Doctor Neha: Anything.
Suz: That’s part of the problem. I kind of feel like it’s been awhile since I had that kind of feeling.
Doctor Neha: Dig back then. Go back.
Suz: I can think of one thing recently. It was a work thing. We had finished this project and we had to do a big debrief. There were a lot of people in the room for that debrief, and I had to tell them the story of this experience we’d all crafted together. I love telling those types of stories. I love pulling things together.
I just thought of another on that is even better.
Doctor Neha: Okay. Tell me, tell me.
Suz: Last year, I had to do a development thing for work. All the people at my level got asked to prepare something to present to the senior leadership. I was terrified about doing that. When I get terrified about something, I tend to spend a lot of time preparing, because it makes me feel more comfortable. Like I said, organizer.
Doctor Neha: Because you’re a planner.
Suz: Yes. It was all about sharing with them what was important to you, your skills, your expertise, where you’ve come from and where you want to go. I thought long and hard about how to do this, so I decided to write my story of my life, which was awesome. I’d never done anything like that before, and then I made a big photo album with photos, and I prepared like you wouldn’t believe. I went into that session, and it was incredible. Being able to tell my story, and actually, as I was doing that, I realized things I hadn’t realized about myself. It was powerful. I still haven’t worked out what the future looks like, but it helped me think a lot about how I got to where I am and why I made the choices I made.
Doctor Neha: So what I hear you value is integration, creativity around creating a story, and storytelling for sure. Also, in both of those examples, presenting to people, the connection you get from presenting and speaking.
Suz: Even though it terrifies me sometimes.
Doctor Neha: But it’s the things that scare us the most that show us what’s next.
Suz: Right, okay.
Doctor Neha: We’re scared because truth is there. You’re on the edge of what is true for your heart. Your super powers include storytelling, integration, creativity, organization, and being tuned into your audience. You seem very tuned into yourself when you can tell a story. It sounds like writing, presenting and speaking are some arenas. Have you spent much time there?
Suz: A little. One of my biggest fears is doing something like a conference. I’m happy speaking or storytelling, as you put it, to smaller audiences. I have this fear around getting up and speaking at a conference, and I thought, I so need to knock that off somehow.
Doctor Neha: Thank you so much. For any of you who are curious about what’s next for you, figure out first what your superpowers are. Then tell a story to yourself or tell it to someone else or write a story to yourself about a time when something was really meaningful to you. Then listen below the words for what you value about that, because some hidden gems are there. Then start to ask how these things can go together and how they might lead you. If it terrifies you, you know you’re getting warm to what matters most. Because when you start to feel emotion about something, you know that, oh yeah, I’m getting warmer there.
Suz: I guess to feel the fear and do it anyway, as they say. Listen to yourself more and trust yourself more in terms of intuition. And talk about it because I think I learned more about myself in this five minutes. I’ve spent a lot of time and a little bit of money trying to work this out.
Doctor Neha: Thank you.
Doctor Neha: For any of you that have a comment about this, or want to share with us, we’d love to hear your comments below on the blog. If you have a question that you’d like me to address in a future video blog, drop me a tweet at #askdoctorneha.