Our last Screw Work Let's Play 30 Day Challenge just recently finished and as I reflect on all the wonderful projects launched in 30 days a theme strikes me - that the real 'challenge' for the participants is to dare to do something they care about and put it out into the world.
I learned a lot about daring to be different and playing from the heart from one of my mentors who I've been been working with for more than a decade. His name is Jerry Hyde and what he does defies categorisation - sitting somewhere between therapy, coaching, advising, and group facilitation.
Jerry is the person who inspired the title Screw Work Let's Play and I'm excited to be able to announce that he's released his first book. And in typical Jerry-style, it's not quite like a normal book.
First off it's called "Play From Your Fucking Heart" and rather than trying to adopt some writerly tone, Jerry writes like he speaks and he shares his own failings as well as some great wisdom.
When I was thinking of an appropriate quote for his book I came up with, "Jerry's book will ruin your life - and you'll thank him for it". And what I mean by that is when you truly accept some of what Jerry writes about you won't have any choice to live a different way - a way that's more authentic and more in touch with the reality of life.
I asked Jerry to answer some questions about the book for Screw Work readers and here's what he said:
So Jerry Hyde, what do you do?
People call me a Gonzo therapist which means I break a lot of rules - for example, I despise the notion of a code of ethics - any code risks becoming dogma. I devise a taylor made code of conduct with everyone that I work with. It means I have to be conscious of an individual's needs and personal boundaries rather than following a prescription. I wear my dysfunction on my sleeve and lead by example. And I'm a therapy lab rat - if I hear of something challenging that seems to help people I'll go and do it - if it lives up to the hype I'll turn my people onto it but I'll never ask anyone to do anything that I'm not willing to give a go.
Do you have any career/business goals? What are they if so?
To single handedly destroy the myth that therapists are 'sorted' and therefore superior beings. We're all wounded and we're all trying to evolve. As I say in the book, "sadly there’s more and more battery-farmed therapists around than ever who read their Jung and Freud but never did an hour’s work on themselves – I say get a fuckup any day, just make sure they’re one step ahead and there are no blood stains on the couch."
What is your book Play from fucking heart about?
It's subtitled 'a somewhat twisted escape plan for people who normally hate self-help books.' Kinda does what it says on the can using everyday language in an attempt to make what can be heady psychotherapeutic models accessible and understandable.
Were you worried the swearword in the title might turn some people off or cause PR problems for you?
I never envisioned the book being a mainstream thing, its whole ethos is the exact opposite, and so I wasn't really bothered about WH Smiths and that gave me a whole lot of freedom when it came to just expressing what I felt was important to say. And it didn't do John Parkin any harm...
Who is this book for?
Again, a quote from the book answers that best: "I realised that there was a gap in the market for a more ‘twisted’ self-help book, a book for people who wouldn’t normally be seen dead reading a self-help book – fucked up rock’n rollers, scooter riding creatives, left-field crazies, dope fiends, Hoxton untouchables, underground eccentrics, midlife burn-outs and hipsters trapped in mainstream suits and lives wanting an escape plan. Those of you who, dare I say, it, live on the ledge ... beyond the edge. My kinda people. Outsiders."
How did you get the idea for your book?
I was laying on my couch when the original working title popped into my head. It was 'The Keith Richards Health Plan'. Up until then I couldn't see any reason to write a self-help book in an already flooded market, but when I got the working title I thought - oh yeah... I could write that book. Keith's people obviously thought differently.
What do you believe the key to happiness is?
By not trying to be happy. Accepting everything that life throws at you - and by accept I don't mean give up or don't try to improve, but don't get stuck in moaning about the things you don't like, take every experience as a learning opportunity. Resistance to painful experiences tends to prolong them.
What is your advice for people who don't know what they want to do with their life?
Do what you love, risk everything on an imaginative vision or by indulging your creative passion, fall on your arse often and get straight back up, entertain the idea that you could find your life's purpose in your heart, not your head. Do what turns you on the most, and whatever you do, don't make sensible career decisions, make wild and crazy career decisions.
You work mostly with creative people, and some very successful ones at that. What do you see as the common thread that has contributed to your clients' creative success?
See above. They never listened to the voice in their head that told them to get a normal job.
You've been very successful in your field - running multiple men's groups, vision quests in the UK and Tasmania, and an annual event event you've dubbed 'Manstock'. What's your advice for people who want to stand out and be successful in a crowded marketplace?
Like the book, it's incredibly simple. Follow your truth, be yourself and you'll always stand out, fitting in with the crowd is called camouflage and whilst that's great in the army it's useless in the marketplace.
If all this chimes with you, why not treat yourself to an early Christmas present?
And... if Jerry's style doesn't click with you that's OK. When you're authentic and make a strong statement, not everyone is going to resonate with it and not everyone is going to like you.
I am taking a long holiday in Singapore and the Philippines over the Christmas break. I hope whatever you're doing for the holidays you have the kind of celebration you want.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.