Chart of interests

The chart of interests is how we evaluate the 1-to-1.

Pie chart without a border, with different segements

 
Straight after the 1-to-1 set 15 minutes aside to evaluate. Write down any key details, like people you should meet. Then fill out each slice of pie with information the person shared. You will not fill everything immediately; that would be a creepy 1-to-1.

We learn gradually about each other interests. The chart will show you what matters to this human being; where they want to be, the fears stopping them and how you can support them to act on what they care about. It also reveals gaps in your understanding.

Ijeoma’s chart of interests

Pie chart without a border, with different segements, with Ijeoma's story filled in

This is Ijeoma’s chart of interests from her story in session 2.3. Ijeoma shares a lot about herself in 60 seconds. We learn about her values and hopes for the future, how she spends her time and energy, and what institutions matter to her. Her defining moments are also expressed through her story. So, in the case of Ijeoma, if I was also interested in immigration, access to education and young people, these could be potential areas where we could do collective work together.

Don’t allow assumptions to put people in the basement

Maslows pyramid

The chart of interest, got its pies from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow identified the areas that make up our self interest. We use these categories to learn what drives a person to do what they do, and see if these interest match our own.

Maslow also believed we operate out of a hierarchical set of interests. Only once we are fed, clothed and safely housed (the basement of the pyramid) can we begin to think about love, relationships and belonging. We don’t agree with this part, so we are a pie not a pyramid.

People can and do pursue interests simultaneously. Ok, if you are starving, maybe finding yourself is not number one top priority. Maybe it is. But there is a lot of overlap in the middle. How else would we have police officers, volunteers or teachers? It’s not for the money, I can tell you that much.

This is important for getting the most out of your 1-to-1s. Do not assume because someone is poor financially, that all they care about is not being poor. It might be, but it could be eduction, the health of their mum or global warming. Likewise, do not assume someone wealthy is not interested in the housing, health and wealth of their local community.

When we meet people, make sure you are asking open questions to lift up our broad interests. Listen. Keep assumptions at home.

Help others meet their interests

We want to help others act on what matters to them.

For example: you are in a 1-to-1 and the person tells you they have recently become a vegan; the world is fudged because we are greedy, guzzling monsters. You could say “well that’s great, what else are you doing?” They tell you they hadn’t thought of doing anything else. One response could be, “going vegan is a great help, but what about influencing other people’s behaviour? That is how we make big change. I’m organising a training with Friends of the Earth next week, would you like to attend?” or “do you know any other people who care about the environment around here? Could we get a meeting together?” Here you are lifting up what matters to the person and offering them opportunities to act on it.

If we don’t organise our interests others will

If we don’t organise our interests, others will. People do it all the time. They tell you to buy things you don’t need; to attend things and focus your energy on what matters to them, rather than what is best for you. We are constantly pushing people into our square holes when they are diamonds. Be responsible: take action on the things that matter most to you, and live a life of your own making.

Task

Know your interests

Could you fill out the chart of interests for someone you work with? Your best friend? Can you do this for yourself?

We may think we know our interests, but they change over time. Sometimes what we think are our interests, actually belong to someone else. Make sure you are authoring your own script in life.

Spend the next twenty minutes filling out your own chart of interests.

What did you learn?

Are you spending time on making your hopes a reality? Does your career support your ambition of owning a home one day? If not, what will you do about that? Are you giving time to the people you care about most? Your activism may be important, but at what cost to your other interests?

If we don’t organise our interests; others will organise us. This means we live a life that is not our own. Knowing our interests anchor us in our own values, and ensures we are doing meaningful work that matters to us.