The Pleasure Principle

Tuesday evening I tapped for 5 minutes with my client just before she opened the event with her jazz solo.  This being her first public performance in 20 years she had a few jitters.  Later her smoky and deeply satisfying rendition of ‘It ain’t necessarily so’ from Porgie and Bess sent shivers down my spine as I listened.  I was rapt.

Image: ZellesAttic

The pleasure of that performance joined the happy feelings I had from the news she’d shared earlier.  A mere 2 hours before she’d heard from her solicitors confirming settlement of her case.  This settlement includes 10 sessions of EFT Coaching with me that the other party would pay.  The timing was uncanny as I hadn’t seen this client in a while.  I was reminded at how my pleasure has bookmarked the beginning and end of this story.

A few months ago I was in London for business meetings involving my work with providing Emotional Intelligence training to companies.  With an hour spare at the end of the meetings I wandered into a luxury departmental store on Piccadilly and took my time to drink in the energy of wealth around me.  On that occasion I wasn’t inspired to purchase anything.  Instead I remembered the glee with which my husband’s aunt received the huge box of chocolates we got her for 80th birthday from there.  She felt so valued because of the name in gold letter on the package.  Her pleasure added to ours in giving the gift.

Just before leaving the store for dreary London in March I checked my phone for e-mails.  I’d received one from the above client minutes before.  Unbeknown to me she was pursuing a legal matter following a car accident.  Her doctor had recommended she receive 10 sessions of EFT coaching as part of the settlement she had requested.  

I’m still astonished at all the synchronicities in my reality just because I chose to focus on what gave me genuine pleasure.  From the timing of the original e-mail in the department store in March, to going to listen to my client this week, it was uncanny how things just fell into place when I stayed with what gave me pleasure.  I didn’t have to go out of my way to engineer any of this work.  There were teething problems in the middle, but I just kept track with what felt better and it all sorted itself out.


The contrast

Pleasure is a very individual idea.  One man’s meat is another’s poison.  So when a well-intentioned colleague put pressure on me to get more written content out for my niche audience I felt myself resisting and digging my heels in.  Their encouragement reminded me of all the things I don’t enjoy about the obligation to perform.  My clarity on what I didn’t want helped me to define exactly what I do want. 

So being clear on my boundaries, I chose to focus on the richness of different working relationships.  Intriguingly the paid work poured in from individuals and companies through word-of-mouth referrals.  It made me smile when I noticed that even relaxing on holiday in the Lake District for a week in June led to more work offers coming in whilst I was away!


Reasoned thinking

My encounters with serendipity can be explained from a more logical perspective.  The SerenA Project at University College London is exploring people’s stories of luck.  Findings so far seem to take the view that it is a mixture of being aware that there is good fortune showing up and then being willing to take action to receive the benefit. 

This Daily Mail article, points to stress inhibiting our ability to notice the good fortune that is around us:

Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected.

As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. Lucky people, on the other hand, are more relaxed and open, which means they see what is there

Unsurprisingly, noticing what gives you pleasure is likely to help you relax.  Then you can be more aware of opportunities that exist.


Practical steps

Taking this to the sphere of work, what if you could notice what gives you pleasure in your line of work?  This could be the work itself, interactions with friendly colleagues or even the simple idea of noticing how well the printer is running when doing a large batch-load.  How might a continuing flow of small pleasures open you up to a more rewarding work-life?

And, what if you could give those around you the freedom to find their own expression of pleasure?  You might be surprised at how that enriches your relationship with them.

Healthy in Mind viewpoint: How might focusing on pleasure enrich your work-life?

Article Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013


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