For those readers who may have been counting, today is day 30 of my 30-day challenge to blog everyday. While I am planning to write much more about what I learned, today I am reflecting on the interesting connection between time and creativity.
A lot of days I struggled to blog. I was too busy with “real work”, tired and uninspired. I said on many days, “I can’t do this.” Ordinarily I would have stopped there and waited for another day.
But the challenge to blog everyday got me pushing through the confusion, anxiety and insecurity that I have nothing to say and am not capable of drawing anything. While praying might be too strong a word, being truly open and receptive to inspiration is something I hope to remember moving forward.
That, and pushing through when it seems like I can’t.
When it comes to building or rebuilding trust, there comes a point when someone needs to have the courage to go first, let down their guard and defense mechanisms and be vulnerable. Revealing what is REALLY happening for us creates the opening for trust to be built.
We often get asked “why should I go first?” Because if you don’t, your world becomes smaller and smaller and the one who suffers is you.
Learning to manage anxiety in the presence of silence is another insight from the work of Weisbord and Janoff. As they suggest, “We are mindful that each time we break the silence, we deprive someone of a chance to make a valuable observation.” Waiting even 10 seconds will seem like an eternity, but it allows people to experience whatever is happening and come up with insights about what’s next.
I am a big fan of Weisbord and Janoff, creators of Future Search, and learned much about facilitation when I took their training. Their new book Lead More, Control Less applies their years of experience to leadership, and offers great insights.
One of their concepts is how to handle one’s anxiety when leading meetings. Often we try to rush to solution or tell people what to think. Stating the obvious signals you’ve heard people and actually eases your own anxiety. It also eases anxiety for others. State the obvious and pause. In my experience someone will come up with the next step for the meeting.
I have had the honour of working with many talented leaders who are so people oriented that they drive themselves crazy trying to ensure people are happy. These leaders often have to make tough decisions, though, and it’s not possible for everyone to be happy all the time.
Even though intellectually I think most of these leaders know this, they still keep thinking that if they had done something different, people would be happy.
They won’t be – there is no one right way. That’s the reality of work and life – there is pain at times. Helping everyone accept this might just start to ease people’s suffering.
Today (Friday, October 23, 2015) is Global Champagne Day so there’s no better day to pause, reflect, and celebrate. Here’s to whatever you and your team have created, accomplished, figured out or contributed to this past week.
I’ve written about the importance of having cheerleaders in your life, especially when you are trying something new and/or taking risks.
But we also need to step back and analyze who’s in our network more broadly in order that we don’t get blindsided by circumstances and perspectives we hadn’t considered.
Who do you interact with most and/or consult with around projects? Are they all like you? Or is your network diverse?
For anyone engaged in or facilitating transformative learning, let’s not fear those tears. They can mean anything and, in my experience, are often relief from carrying around things that no longer work. Create a sacred space for them instead of trying to force them to stay hidden.
Many are talking about FOMO, fear of missing out, and Brene Brown has recently talked about how it kills our mojo in her new book Rising Stong.
This past August and most of September I experimented with this idea and didn’t check into any of my regular social media. I did check blogs and newsfeeds on my news reader but I avoided Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
It was an empowering couple of months which allowed me to continue work on my book and reinvigorated me for my blogging. More importantly though, I was more at peace and happier overall with my life and work. By saying no to FOMO I regained a sense of my own passions, priorities and dreams. I lived in gratitude instead of comparison.
I am now back to my social networks but am trying to put some boundaries around it – like no checking evenings and weekends or when I’ve had a bad day or am just not feeling my best. It’s a work in progress!
When does FOMO get you and what are you doing to manage it?
I base today’s blog foremost on my own ongoing struggle with perfectionism, as well as watching other perfectionists. While I know intellectually that perfectionism has a negative impact on me, putting that insight into practice still eludes me at times, particularly when I’m stressed.
I will spend hours creating something and then dishonour it by picking it apart, under the guise of “learning” or “striving for excellence.” It’s not either of those in actuality, just a well worn pattern that doesn’t serve me well.
Fortunately I have two people close to me who are endlessly cheerleading for me, and I am inching my way forward. If you struggle like me, find those people who “love the blue” in you and listen to them. Today give that perfectionism a rest and celebrate whatever you have created!