From the bedroom to the bank account

So when I decided to write a book about work in the future, I used the one thing I knew that would get – and hold – attention. Sex.

I also wrote for women – mainly because it’s easier to write to a specific audience, especially when that audience typically has a way of approaching a subject that lends itself to humour. Because laughing matters. Laughter is not only good for us, it helps us remember things. The things we laugh at get hard wired into our emotions. So the raunchy, innuendo-filled conversation of a bunch of women talking about their bodies, men and sex throws up more material for useful analogies and stories about work than you might think.

So The Kama Sutra of Work: Why work is the new sex and how to make sure you’re getting enough is about work, women and sex. Except of course it’s not at all about sex and much of the positive feedback I’m getting is from men. And not just men who like to know what goes on inside women’s heads either without having to steal Cosmopolitan from her bedside table and read it in the loo.

And it’s not just about work. Work is going to take many forms in the future and most of us will find ourselves navigating employment, self-employment, running a business, doing portfolio work … we’re all going to have more time to be more things.

Here is the Proposition from the book:

If you could use sex to make you happier and to make you more money at work, would you?
Obviously I don’t mean shagging the boss or abusing your staff.

But, between the business of bed and the business of business, there’s not much difference.

The world has changed and will change more.

You need to do work, and to live your life, differently.

The Kama Sutra of Work will show you how to make the most of your talents, make more money and have more freedom — by hard-wiring what you do at work to your libido.

And all of that hard wiring can apply to you and your business. Because it takes people to build a business; flesh and blood people dealing with issues that come up time and time again in different guises and from unexpected directions.

So, in the interest of fairness and diversity, this series of columns is going to bring you The Kama Sutra of Work with a little twist in the tail for men and for businesses too.

Your business is an extension of you; it develops a story of its own.

And, as with all good stories, let’s start at the beginning. Whether you are starting out, just thinking of what you might do in business, turning around the one you’ve got or wanting to shoot the lights out, let’s find out what turns you on – your business G spot.

Because money is not the purpose of your business. Money is the outcome of building something you love and are proud of. Money comes from the pleasure of the process.

Pleasure is a great thing. The ‘Kama’ bit of The Kama Sutra means sensual pleasure. But of course we can get pleasure from all sorts of things: a lover’s touch, a baby’s smile, winning a race, overcoming adversity, a warm summer’s day… the list is endless and very, very personal.

You are unique. What gives you pleasure is unique to you and it’s in those things that you will find your flow. And it’s in your flow that you create the person you were meant to be and build the business that is the best expression of you.

‘Sutra’ simply means a little saying to help you sum up and remember something — like ‘Breast is best’ or ‘Cash is King’. .

The ‘Sutras’ you will find dotted at places in the columns are the elements that make up the thread of how you find — and stay in — your flow.

Because when something makes you happy, it’s easy to persevere at it.

When you know you will eventually get pleasure, you put some effort in. Or you’ll at least start.

But sometimes you have to get deep inside yourself to find out what feels good.

Take the Mandarin Oriental on a Friday night. A bar full of breathtakingly beautiful women draped over equally breathtakingly unappealing men. Who are very rich. It’s a career, of sorts but not what you’d bring your daughters up to do. Russian dolls in action. But there’s another kind of Russian doll.

All of us, men and women, have many more talents than we know. We die never knowing what we could have been because they are left unexplored. This was even more the case in the past when lives were typically short and hard.

Now, however, we live longer, much longer. And although you might not be aware of it, the changing economy of the world means that more and more of us have a chance to explore our latent gifts and talents over the course of long working lives.

Which means that we can be more than one thing, very often all at the same time.

We can unpack our Russian dolls and find that we can be an engineer, a mother, a physics teacher, a businesswoman, a financial adviser, a coach, a therapist, a business adviser, a writer… and who knows what else?

That lot above, that’s me. From 1973 to now, that’s how I have earned, and do earn, money.

You – all of us – are sitting on a mine of untapped talent, a rich seam of potential. Like the new admin hire who’s driving you mad just now. Did you know that inside two years she is going to turn into a ninja product developer and come up with a whole new range for your business. Just so long as you get round to finding out what she’s good at, of course.

Cool, huh?

SUTRA: Recognise that there is more, much more, to you – and everyone else -than meets the eye.


About the Author:

Avril Millar has been, and is, many things – an engineer, teacher, businesswoman, mentor, writer, speaker, turnaround expert, non-executive director and chairwoman. She has lived, and continues to live, the life and work she writes about here. With five different careers under her belt already, she anticipates a few more before they nail the lid down. She is the mother of a grown-up son and daughter, a besotted grandmother of two and the proud owner of a bus pass. And she still doesn’t know what to do if she ever grows up. But she’s excited about the possibilities…