Follow your heart

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Believe it or not in a previous life (1975-1978), I had a carrier on oil rigs. My world wind career had me working offshore and on land in Iran, the North Sea (UK and Norway), France, Texas, Colorado and Oman (actually didn’t start, quit before I was sent there). In less than 2.5 years, I had a meteoric rise in oil and gas exploration, something that I never considered. I went from dishwasher, to roustabout (kind of go for), roughneck (guys who all seem to be missing fingers), derrick man (lonely person at top of oil rig snapping pipes with a rope into place to store them) and finally, Air Drilling Engineer.  This rapid rise surprised me. It wasn’t an inspiring job and as I got to see the environmental destruction we were doing, and the military hierarchy of that company (subsidiary of Schlumberger), further career moves upward were just not appealing.

It always seemed strange that I was sent to Iran to do air drilling, as I was not trained or experienced to do the job (air drilling in fractured formations to find oil or gas). Right place, right time, wrong job. I really enjoyed the theater working with some of the funniest characters, I would ever meet. Will always have great stories to tell and memories upon which to reflect. Some of my former colleagues were fantastic. I remember Jean who was a mechanic and started a goat farm, making cheese. He worked on the rigs to help get his business going and cover his costs, in order to follow his dream. He sent me a care package of wonderful goat cheese. I also learned some of the most obscene French expressions that would make even hardened criminals blush, and I still use them from time to time, as they are visually brilliant.

The CEO offered to fast track my career even more, in order to keep me from leaving. The finances were fine, and I worked 4 weeks on and then got 4 weeks holiday (6 months a year). I didn’t have to worry about anything. When you finished your 12 hour shift,  covered in mud, you dropped your clothes on the ground, and the next day, my room was clean and my work clothes were spotless. We ate wonderful French food, with wine and aperitifs. This was something American rigs wouldn’t allow. I remember having long periods of doing nothing, as we worked only if there was a problem with the drilling. If that happened, we would start up the compressors and perform air drilling. Other times, we would have a great deal of free time on our hands and would go exploring the remote areas of Iran. After 4 weeks of working, I had 4 weeks of holiday and I used that time to travel, which expanded my collection of characters. Yes it was very hard work. Hammering a pipe connection in 48 degrees celsius was very exhausting.

There was, however, something missing, I wasn’t happy or fulfilled and I still needed to find my passion. When I look at some of the photos of working on the rigs, I often think of a tv show called Dirty Jobs hosted by Mike Rowe and the podcast he made about how people doing horrible dirty jobs are financially secure and happy, even though they are not following their passion.

I wanted more. Not more stuff or money. I wanted to be fulfilled. What I am doing now, with TBLI, provides that in abundance. Most important, when I am really doing what fulfils me or am in “The Zone” , it costs me no energy, but actually gives me energy. Oh yeah, I don’t have to work in dangerous situations, like Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) gas explosions, or losing fingers when running pipe back into the well.

Are you following your heart? Try it. You won’t regret it.

Looking forward to meeting you and others who are following their heart at TBLI CONFERENCE EUROPE 2015 in Zurich, Nov. 19-20.

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A mensch in Detroit

My son, Sam, sent me an email saying “you have to watch the documentary Searching for Sugarman”. So, I said fine. I will go look for it. He came the next day and we watched it together. It was one of the most moving films, I have ever seen.

It is about a brilliant “unknown” singer, song writer from Detroit, named Rodruiguez. He wrote fantastic songs, made 2 albums, in the early 70’s, that no one bought. Financially a failure, but artistically  pure genius. His record got to South Africa and was distributed (copied) and became the inspiration for many artists who took up the struggle against apartheid.

There were rumours that he committed suicide on stage by blowing his brains out or pouring gasoline on himself. Discovering what ever happened to Rodriguez was the basis of this film. I won’t spoil the movie by telling you what happened. Rodriguez is a great inspiration for all those that work tirelessly, quietly, extremely hard in making life more fulfilling and joyful for others, as well as themselves.

Rodriguez. Thank you for being such a mensch and lifting my spirits, immensely and showing the potential of the human spirit. Rodruiguez’s story inspires all those that are doing the important work that they love, staying true to ourselves, and remaining authentic, no matter what.

To paraphrase Henry David Thoreau “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Not Rodriguez or me. How about you?

Watch the movie and join TBLI in Singapore for inspiration, opportunity, and meeting new best friends.

Lewis Gordon Pugh’s Challenge

One of the keynote speakers for the upcoming TBLI CONFERENCE™ EUROPE 2009 that we’re very much looking forward to hearing is Lewis Gordon Pugh. His commitment and passion for raising awareness about climate change and the effects of our actions on places such as the arctic, is nothing less than inspiring. Of course I don’t expect you to just take my word for it, watch the video below to learn about his journey and mission: