I feel unnerved. I’m not yet sure about this guy. I am at an event to hear him and a few others talk about workplace culture. Some of what he says doesn’t make sense. He seems jittery; in a rush. I keep listening though because there is something about him that draws me in, keeps my attention, has me wanting more.
He isn’t following the rules of public speaking, but somehow I am getting more from him than those who are. Its more than just the words he is saying. He is communicating from a deep part of himself, and connecting with a deep part of myself. And whatever it is he is imparting is lodging itself to stay.
I realise that I am not seeing a slick, over-prepared TED talk here. I am part of a show-up-as-I-am, whole-hearted, bare my soul, performance. This guy is giving me all he is and all he has, and he is making use of something I am yet to have access to. I want what he has.
That was one of the first times I met this week’s guest, Mykel Dixon, and I was experiencing what I would later know to be artistry in action. Artistry is something that used to disturb me whenever I witnessed it, because I knew it was not accessible by following the rules. And I was a rule follower.
I worked hard and followed the rules at school so I could go to uni. I went to uni and got a degree so I could get a well-paid, secure job. I got a well-paid, secure job so I could pay the bills, buy the house, have the relationship, and go on the holiday.
As I play back these rules they do seem like sound thinking even if they are a bit dull. But they left me lifeless. And in talking with Mykel he reminded me that even the security that these rules promise is not actually available anymore.
Some are predicting that in the not too distant future most of the work that is currently being done today will be automated or unnecessary, and a majority of the workforce will be part of what is being termed the gig economy: freelancers coming together on project-based, short-term, engagement-driven work.
What then is the work that will need to be done? What are the skills that will be most crucial? How do we become more of what we are going to need?
Answers to some of these questions came to Mykel while he was hanging out in his geothermic dome on the coast of Cambodia. He had lived the life of an accomplished musician and needed to spend some time exploring other parts of his creativity. But after spending an inspired 12 months writing songs, poetry, and musicals, there was still something missing. He realised he was hiding out, and that while creating was magic, creating and keeping for himself was only half the game.
Hanging out and having glorious conversations with Mykel Dixon is up there with the things I enjoy most. I hope you also enjoy our conversation as we drive around Melbourne, and I find out about what Mykel did with his Cambodian realisation, and how it can help awaken the artisan within each of us.