Every month, Sir Richard Branson asks his followers on LinkedIn to pose him a question for his newsletter called #AskRichard. He then picks one subject from the comments section that really resonates with him and then publishes the results in his newsletter which goes out to over 2 Million people worldwide.
Erin comments under Richard’s June post:
“Richard, I’m a single mom of a very intelligent 9 year old son. Currently I’m trying to balance being sole provider, grow my career, stay focused on our health and happiness among many other hats I have to wear all while maintaining my sanity. Above all I want to make sure I provide him with every opportunity I can to nurture and grow his amazing potential, talents and intellect. How would you balance all the rolls I must play without losing sight of the what’s truly important? What would you recommend I do to foster and continually encourage him to strengthen his talents and use his intelligence throughout life’s ups and downs? Thank you for all the good you do in this world with your talents and intellect.“
Let’s take Erin’s example on a Subject Clearing Exercise. Erin identifies her core subjects as follows:
Being a Single Mom, Having a 9-year-old-son, Being the Breadwinner in the Family, Wants to Grow her Career, Focus on Health and Happiness, Balancing Roles, Ambitions for her Son’s Future.
So what could Richard Branson reply? Richard could outline Erin’s Core Subjects and take each one in turn asking Erin to make a Word List of any Key Words that come to her mind.
Example 1. Subject – Being a Single Mom – Example 1. Key Words – Sole-Responsibility, Freedom, Shared-Responsibility, Partnership, (More Key Words can be added by Erin herself)
On the one hand, Erin has sole responsibility and the freedom to bring up her 9-year-old-son as she so wishes. Is that acceptable to Erin? Can she manage under her current circumstances? Does Erin want to continue under the Status Quo? Is there a better way? Would Erin consider shared responsibility if the opportunity arises at some time in the future and all the dynamics that that would involve? The benefits of a partnership could mean more income, more companionship and more shared duties around the household freeing up her ambitions in other Core Subjects.
Example 2. Subject – Having a 9 Year-old-son – Example 2. Key Words – Intelligent, Amazing, Opportunity, Grow, Nurture, Potential, Talents, Intellect, Importance, (More Words can be added).
I can’t give Erin any advice about raising a 9-year-old son because I never had any children, but here’s the thing, I used to be a nine-year-old boy once myself. At that age, my thoughts were about playing football, wanting to be first in class but always coming second. Wanting to win at sports but always coming in second. I got in to fights and again I came off worst for ware. I fell in love with a new English girl who came to stay in our village and attended our class in school. When she left soon afterwards, never to return, I vowed never to fall in love again. I played with my friends. We got into trouble. There was always food on the table and clothes on my back and sometimes I had money to spend. But most of all, I always knew that my mom wanted me to be the best that I could be. “Do Well!” she would say whenever I left the house. I always tried to take her advice to heart.
Example 3. Subject – Being the Breadwinner in the Family – Example 3. Key Words – Work, Money, Table, Social Security, (More Words can be added).
We go to work, to bring money home, to put food on the table. The basic things in life. In the Western World, the state can provide additional funds for those who qualify. Family and friends can also sometimes be relied upon for financial support, not to mention absent fathers who should be made aware of their parental responsibilities.
Example 4. Subject – Wants to Grow her Career – Example 4. Key Words – Employment, Promotion, Education, Ambition, People, (More Words can be added).
Choosing an employment that you can excel at and enjoy might lead to promotion. It all depends on how ambitious you are, your willingness to study, the opportunities that are available to you at the time and connecting with the right people who can help you get ahead in your life.
Example 5. Subject – Focus on Health and Happiness – Example 5. Key Words – Time, Exercise, Diet, Social Life, (More Words can be added).
How to focus on health and happiness? Find the time to do some daily exercise, eat a proper balanced diet and have as wide a social circle as possible to keep an open outlook on life.
Example 6. Subject – Balancing Roles – Example 6. Key Words – Priorities, Moderation, Juggling, (More Words can be added).
Balancing roles can be done by looking at your priorities and juggling them around. Moderation in all things I would say. I was reminded of this situation today when I stopped for a cheeseburger with French fries for me and my good wife. The young Italian woman serving in the van said it would take 15 minutes, so we got chatting while she prepared my order. She told me that she was a single mother and was just helping out her friend who owned the van, as a favour for help that her friend had given her in the past. Business was slow she said. It was a hot day. Her father was helping her but he was quite slow. I couldn’t help but think this was going to be a poor business and wondered who was looking after the young Italian woman’s child. Next time I stop for a cheeseburger, I’ll know why.
Example 7. Subject – Ambitions for her Son’s Future – Example 7. Key Words – Pride, Success, Smile, Wealth, (More Words can be added).
Richard Branson can answer this one. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ask-richard-you-could-say-something-your-10-year-old-self-branson/