Category Archives: Chaos Theory of Careers

Stuff about my Chaos Theory of Careers

Sleeping around – when shift really happens. A true story.

Sleeping around – when shift really happens. A true story.

It came as a shock. Out of blue. A phone call that took me out of a meeting. A phone call that completely changed everything I had thought about her. Completely out of the blue.

She had always been admired by all who came into contact with her.  She was outgoing, friendly and affectionate.  Perhaps even too affectionate, I often worried that she might get taken advantage of.  I knew she had had relationships with others during our time together. While it would be wrong to say I was approving, I did kind of understand her reasons for doing it. Ultimately, she always came back to me and every time I was grateful that she did.

empty bed

This, however, was very different.  To say I never suspected isn’t enough.  It just did not ever cross my mind.  There were no signs at the time, though as always looking back, the signs were there if I’d cared to pay enough attention to them.

It was not usual for her to go out at night, nor for me to go to bed before she had returned.  I never questioned this, even when she’d be gone all night.  You might think this was crazy, and in a funny way, even perhaps neglectful.  I just thought nothing of it.

Nothing seemed to change in our relationship, she was as affectionate as ever, perhaps even more so over the years, if that was possible.  Then she got sick, and started to lose weight. She had difficulty maintaining her weight and at meal times her behaviour became a little erratic.  Sometimes eating and sometimes not.  Sometimes skipping meals entirely.

Then came that phone call out of the blue.  She was in hospital.  I immediately feared an accident, or a collapse.  I didn’t expect what I was told next.  She had been taken there by the man she’d been living a double life with for 8 years.  A neighbour.  She’d been sleeping there. She’d provided comfort through a bout of cancer by sleeping next to him until he’d recovered – every night.  She’d eaten there every day over that time. No wonder she didn’t feel like doing that with me.  She had her own things there – was even treated as one of the family.   I could even see the house from my dining room.

The man said he was moving away, and he wanted her to go with him.  Until the hospital visit, he had no idea of my existence.  He thought he was the only person in her life. And she might well have gone too, simply disappeared from my life – just like that – gone.

It was the hospital staff who made the link – and discovered her “true” address. It was they that called me. It must have come as just as much of a shock for the other man to discover the existence of me.  I realise now just how close I had come to losing her, because of the love of another man.

The moral of the story for me is that what we know we know can be completely changed by what we dont know we dont know and if you dont want to lose them, always make sure you microchip your cat!

To Missy our very own “Red Cat” like the “Red Dog” in the movie.

Missy the cat







Do people use uncertainty as an excuse to avoid planning and do nothing in their lives

Do people use uncertainty as an excuse to do nothing in their lives? Is it tempting to say that because uncertainty exists in the world there is no point trying to plan for a future, and so best to do nothing and deal with what comes along?

Short answer. Yes!

I think one way to look at this is to see Planning (distinct from a plan) as a form of opportunity awareness. Continually planning (devising, revising, reviving, resting, restoring, rearranging, rescheduling, timing, abandoning, copying, conceiving) is the way to go. I think there are problems with those who over-emphasise the security or benefits of “a Plan” or even having a supposed fallback of “a Plan B” – this thinking is static and risks complacency. However the risk of failing to practice planning skills may be even greater.

Like many things planning is a skill – it can be taught, and it requires continual practice or the skills can be diminished. There are some conditions that we need to guard against that I call:
PPP – Pushing Plan Prematurely
POTL – Pulling Out Too Late
SAP – Stubborn Adherence to the Plan
RATS- ReActing Too Slowly

plan failure


All of these conditions can be remedied by continual Planning, rehearsal etc

Some ways to do this include:
Opportunity awareness “Luck Readiness” – Being Curious, Flexible, Strategic, Persistence, Optimistic, Efficacious, and feeling Lucky

War gaming/ Scenario training – building scenarios to what-if situations continually (Shell Executives in the 1970s famously did this)

Stress testing – working through the plan and testing whether it stands up

Mentoring – running plans past the brains trust and seeking critiques

Daydreaming – thinking up new scenarios, but taking it further and turning the daydream into a fully fledged plan (you do not have to act on it, and it is remarkable how seemingly absurd ideas are more practical and doable that first imagined)

Controlled Failures – deliberately deviating from the plan with sufficient safety nets or fall back positions

Bigger picture thinking – over and above any one plan – what really matters, what are you trying to do on this earth, purpose

From this perpective, we can see why Dwight Eisenhower said (quoted in a book by Richard Nixon in the early 1960s) that “plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”

My concern is that a lot of what I’d call planning, or playfulness or planmanship, is overlooked in the rush to getting a plan. The skills are not taught to clients, and there is little encouragement to practice them regularly. Same goes for organisations that tend to stick to Annual planning retreats, and do not – and unlike the Shell executives – regularly practice planning.


thanks to Arlene Hirsh whose question on the Linkedin Careers Debate group prompted my thinking


Do you prefer Chaos or Order? Take the test!

Take a look at these two wordles – which one contains the most words that you like or relate to – Picture A or Picture B? When you’ve decided follow the link to our Linkedin Careers Debate Poll and vote!

UPDATE: 9 March – currently 90% of voters prefer (37%) or strongly prefer (53%) Wordle A  – all about change, chaos and chance!  So why is it, that we continue to hear so many messages focused on the words in Wordle B and so relatively few messages focused on the words in the wordle A?  Why do we like change, chance, creativity, novelty and ambiguity, yet settle for plans and predictability?

WORDLE A Chaos (you can click on the images to make them bigger)

chaos wordle


or WORDLE B Order (you can click on the images to make them bigger)

order wordle

So which one has the most words you like?

Wordle A – Change, Chance, Chaos  or Wordle B – Order, Plans, Predictability.

So folks like predictability, order, little or no change. Whereas others prefer continual change, uncertainty and chance.  Which words draw you in?  Which words unnerve you?  What does this say about you?  Have you changed in your preferences for these groups of words over the years?  Why has that happened?



Coaching with Chaos Webinar 2 – Using the Exploring Chaos Reality Checklist

This is the second in the webinar series. Later I will post a recording of the webinar here. For the time being, here are today’s slides.

This is Webinar 2 Coaching with the Chaos Theory of Careers – Exploring ChaosReality Checklist. You need to have paid for a subscription to this webinar or the whole series. Go to shop to pay or continue if you have the access codes. Webinar 2 was first broadcast on July 19th/July 20th 2012. This is for subscribers only.

In addition to the webinar, there is a handout of the slides you can download here

You can also download a background paper on the Chaos Theory of Careers first published in the Australian Journal of Career Development in 2003 here.

System Requirements:

If the webinar below does not appear you may need to download the latest version of Flash before viewing



Dr Jim will be presenting 10 1 hour webinars demonstrating how the Chaos Theory of Careers can be used practically for coaching people and groups experiencing change and transition. They will be starting at the end of June and running till November. Attend as many individual sessions as you like, or sign up for the series of 10 and receive a significant discount. In addition within each live webinar attendees can access special offers on products and training. The total worth of these combined offers is greater than the cost of attending the sessions!

picture of Dr Jim Bright webinar presenter Coaching with the Chaos Theory of Careers

Dr Jim Bright Webinar presenter Coaching with Chaos Theory of Careers

There is also an option to take an online exam at the end of the course to receive formal recognition and a course graduation certificate. These webinars provide significant professional development opportunities and may be counted toward ongoing professional learning and development requirements of your professional association (please check with your association before enrolling). The examined option may provide proof of advanced learning.


Session Title Time(there will be one live webinar – the diffierent dates reflect international time differences)
1 Coaching with the Chaos Theory of Careers: complexity, change and chance – An introduction to a radical new framework for understanding the nature of change and how to help clients in transition Thursday June 28th (USA, UK, EUROPE, CANADA)Friday June 29th (AUSTRALIA, ASIA)
2 Using the Exploring Reality Chaos Checklist to validate client’s coping with change – This freeresource hosted online by Bright and Associates, is being used by 1000s of clients around the world to appreciate how they are already thriving on change and chaos.You will learn how to use the results of this free test in your coaching and counselling practice. Thursday July 19th (USA,UK, EUROPE, CANADA)Friday July 20th (AUSTRALIA, ASIA)
3 Using the Attractors to understand coachee thinking and overcome limitations. You will learn about the four different Attractors and how they influence your client’s thinking.You will learn how to identify the different Attractors at work within your client and how best to work with clients using the different Attractors. Thursday August 9th (USA,UK, EUROPE, CANADA)Friday August 10th (AUSTRALIA, ASIA)
4 Coaching clients to see fractal patterns in their actions. Taking Fractal action for authentic livingYou will learn how to interpret the complex patterns in your client’s life and circumstances and how to encourage action that is spontaneous and also authentic. Thursday August 23rd (USA,UK, EUROPE, CANADA)Friday August 24th (AUSTRALIA, ASIA)
5 Coaching with Narrative and Plots to enhance self-clarity, overcome limitation and motivate actionYou will learn the strengths and weaknesses of working with client stories and ways of enhancing personal transformation though re-plotting client stories using the 7 Essential plots. Thursday September 6th (USA,UK, EUROPE, CANADA)September 7th (AUSTRALIA, ASIA)
6 Using the Change Perception Index with clients – understanding the barriers to change for clients or groups.You will learn how to use this inexpensive and powerful online instrument to clarify how your clients think about and react to change. Used in many applictions for personal career change, change management initiatives in organisations and rehabilitation. Thursday September 20th (USA,UK, EUROPE, CANADA)Friday September 21st (AUSTRALIA, ASIA)
7 Using the Luck Readiness Index with clients. Promoting opportunity awareness with clients or groups.You will learn how to use this inexpensive and powerful online instrument to understand your clients levels of opportunity awareness. Used in many applications for personal career change, change management initiatives in organisations and rehabilitation. Thursday October 4th (USA,UK, EUROPE, CANADA)Friday October 5th (AUSTRALIA, ASIA)
8 Using Signposts cards with Clients – helping clients make the links with their fundamental values and deep beliefs.You will learn how to use this visually stunning card sort to rapidly assist clients understand and make links between their essential world-view and their career opportunities. Thursday October 18th (USA,UK, EUROPE, CANADA)Friday October 19th (AUSTRALIA, ASIA)
9 Using Creative Thinking Strategies Cards with Clients – to enhance creative and optimistic solutions to challenges faced by individuals or groups. You will learn how to use this large and powerful card sort to assist clients in overcoming self-limited thinking and to generate solutions to barriers in their change transition. Thursday November 1st (USA,UK, EUROPE, CANADA)Friday November 2nd (AUSTRALIA, ASIA)
10 Applying The Beyond Personal Mastery® model of Creative Coaching – using a practical framework to coach clients undergoing change.You will learn how to apply a powerful model of personal and organisational change to guide your approach to coaching and counseling. Thursday November 15th (USA,UK, EUROPE, CANADA) Friday November 16th (AUSTRALIA, ASIA)



All webinars commence at 8:30pm GMT on a Thursday / Friday depending on your time zone. They will run for one hour including 15 minutes for Q & A.
Local times (as at June 14th – please check your local time for daylight savings changes):

Thursday: California 1:30pm , Nashville 3:30pm, New York 4:30pm, Vancouver 1:30pm, Ottawa 4:30pm, UK 8:30pm, Italy 10:30pm, Friday: Mumbai 2:00am, Singapore 4:30am, Beijing 4:30am, Tokyo 5:00am, Sydney 6:30am

Pricing (In Australian dollars, approx exchange rates: $1Aus=$1US, 64pence UK, 0.80 Euro.)

Pay as you go please pay at least 24 hours in advance – $35 per single Webinar – simply pay before the start of the webinar to receive access. Pay here (Australians) or here (Overseas)

Pay in advance $299 for ten payable by June 28th 2012. Pay here for Australians or here for Overseas.

Discount for members of NCDA, CDAA (and other CICA organisations), APS, Inst of Careers Guidance UK, Full time students (proof required):

Discount Pay as you go $25 per Webinar – simply pay before the start – the day before to guarantee entry – of the webinar to receive access. Pay for the next one here for Australians or here for Overseas

Discount Pay in advance $200 for ten payable by June 28th 2012. Pay here for Australians or here for Overseas.

Examined option $349 for 10 webinars, and post series on-line exam and certificate (useful for professional recognition or professional standards). Pay here for Australians or here for Overseas

Professional membership/ student discount $250. Pay here for Australians or here for Overseas.

Second chance webinar – acess the webinars anytime you like – note this will not be live and therefore you can only listen, and the special offers do not apply. $35 per webinar or $299 for the series. No discounts. Payment options will apear here aft

Included in the price:

  • Listen live – ask questions in real time
  • Download handouts
  • In webinar offers and discount – for live webinars only worth over $300 (across the 10 webinars)
  • Course Attendance Certificate
  • Course Graduation Certificate (only for those taking Examined Graduate Option)
  • Free single access to Change Perception Index
  • Free single access to Luck Readiness Index

There are STRICTLY limited places for each webinar.

These sessions can be accessed live, or if you prefer you can access them at a time then better suites you. The timing of the sessions was constrained by international time differences. Remember if you attend the live sessions you get access to the special offers as well as the chance to ask questions and interact. Those paying in advance can attend live, listen later, or both attend live and listen again later.

How to use the Exploring Chaos Reality Checklist – Webinar 2 in Coaching for Change using Chaos

How to use the Exploring Chaos Reality Checklist – Webinar 2 in Coaching for Change using Chaos is the next webinar in the series. It will be first broadcast live on July 19 (North America, UK, EIRE, Europe) and July 20 in Australia and other Asian/Australasian countries.  However you can always access a recording of the webinar after it is broadcast, so do not worry if you cannot make the date or want to join the series and have missed one.

You can register for a single webinar or the whole series of ten – discounts apply for students and members of relevant professional associations.  Register here.

change wordsUsing the Exploring Chaos Reality Checklist to validate a client’s coping with change – This freeresource hosted online by Bright and Associates, is being used by 1000s of clients around the world to appreciate how they are already thriving on change and chaos.You will learn how to use the results of this free test in your coaching and counselling practice.
One of the biggest problems encountered in a personal or organizational change setting is that the client does not acknowledge the changing nature of things.  The Exploring Chaos Reality Checklist is a 20 item test designed deliberately to help clients acknowledge the change and uncertainty they are already successfully addressing in their lives.  The test is a free resource, but none-the-less is subject to regular and ongoing psychometric analysis and now includes normative scores based on a sample of over 1000 test-takers around the world.  This adds some additional power to the test in that coach and clients can quickly interpret the client score relative to a large sample.

The webinar will introduce the test, how to access it, the questions on the test, their rationale, how to interpret the results and how to use it with clients.  Dont miss this webinar – it will enhance your coaching or counselling toolkit with a resource that is free!


This webinar can be a standalone 1 hour session, or you can decide to register for the whole series of 10 that provide a coherent training in using the Chaos Theory of Careers and its tools to coach or counsel people undergoing change and transition.  The Chaos Theory of Careers is a powerful theory of life change that has been rigorously developed by Prof Robert Pryor and Prof Jim Bright over the last decade to provide a coherent framework for professionals to work with clients confronting the inevitable, influential and sometimes determinative change in their lives and work.

Register here.