The Way Forward

The Way Forward 150 150 Ben Coker

The Way Forward

After about 15 years ‘helping out’ the UK rail industry I found myself in a contract with Metronet, project managing signalling renewal on the London Underground.

Driving down from Cheshire to Tottenham on a Sunday afternoon and staying in a bedsit until driving back on Saturday morning, I began to question what I was doing.

My clients felt that if they couldn’t ‘see’ me in their Holborn offices every day from 8am then how did they know I was actually doing the ‘work’ they were paying me for involving about half my time on ‘field’ visits to Underground staff and the rest in ‘meetings’, planning, and writing reports.

I could have gone to London for two days and done the rest from home but that ‘wasn’t the way it worked’. Despite generous remuneration I decided that I had better things to do with my time and better ways of running my life.

So I said goodbye to that ‘career’ and moved on to career path number nine.

Earlier, in 1999, I’d been introduced to the weird world of Network Marketing (aka MLM) and I found it challenging but invigorating and very ‘social’ and supportive.

I managed to build a respectable ‘team’ but it turned out the company we were working with wasn’t entirely ethical (they were later investigated by the DTI) and a bunch of us ‘jumped ship’ to a UK company in the utilities sector.

I built a substantial business, leading a team generating around £2m a year for the company and became one of the top ten ‘customer gatherers’ for around seven years which earned me lots of nice incentive rewards, cruises, weekends abroad and so on.

Although I’ve ceased to be active in this, I still receive a substantial commission payment each month based on the bills of those customers I introduced who are still with the company.

Make no mistake, network marketing (with an ethical company) works, but it’s much harder and more intensive of time than they make out in the first place. Building that monthly four figure commission took around eleven years, mostly full time, plus a significant monetary investment in marketing and advertising, not to mention travel.

You can’t create a ‘replacement’ income out of this without a significant period of full time engagement. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt (well a few actually!).

Career path ten (where I am now) started when I separated and divorced some seven years ago, largely because we wished for different things out of life but also because, as a friend of mine put it recently about her relationship, ‘the love had gone’.

When my printing business (career path three) was coming to an end and before I married, I had conceived the idea of going in my current direction, but somehow it was put on hold – probably because the ‘time wasn’t right’. Now I was free to go where I wished with my life, I realised that it was ‘time’.

There was, and is, no ‘master plan’. I’ve migrated from path to path, timeline to timeline and sometimes it ‘worked’, sometimes not, but what I have gained is a vast amount of experience, knowledge and understanding in many fields of activity which I can now put to use advising, guiding and coaching others on their paths of achievement.

I sometimes surprise myself with what I remember from the ‘past’ timeline and how effectively, as I ‘look back’ I can apply it to the ‘now’.

With the guidance of my friend and coach Phil Olley who helped me ‘focus on purpose’, I have, over the last three months, gained complete clarity about who I am, my purpose in life and the Way in which I shall achieve it.

That doesn’t mean to say at this stage I know exactly ‘how’ I’m going to fulfil my Purpose, but I do know the ‘Way Forward’.

There are some ‘holes’ to be filled in each of the four domains of life and this is where I need to take my own advice.

Generally speaking, those of us in, as Peter Thomson puts it, the ‘helping industry’, are much better helping our clients and other people achieve their aims and goals than we are with our own!

The thing is, to ‘make it all come true’, you and I have to put our trust in, and have faith in, other people if we really wish it to happen.

Coaches need coaches, healers need healers, therapists need therapists and so on. Even Virtual Assistants need their own VAs!

You or I are not the be all and end all of what we do, yes, we have our unique skills and there are many things which, as Sir John Harvey-Jones explained, only we can do, so the next step for me is to find that ‘inner circle’ of associates and ‘partners in believing’ whose ‘way forward’, and indeed whose ‘Way’ aligns with mine.

I’m clear on my ‘Way Forward’. How about you?