time to print a new set?

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For the last few days I have been working south of the river in London, returning north of the Thames to catch a train home. The journey is typically about 35 minutes on a bus.

On the return journey in the evening, twice I have been inspired to get off the bus and walk, because the bus has been stationary for some time; gridlocked. I have walked the bus route passing buses. Buses going to my destination. Four yesterday. Walking trumps bus.

My train has been delayed travelling home on one day. Over an hour’s delay. So much so, that I possibly could have ridden a bike home faster.

Now I am on a train and, whilst I have a seat, hundreds are standing. Standing still, to travel tens of miles towards their homes. Standing and yet moving at maybe 90mph.

It seems in our ‘modern’, ‘advanced’ world that much is turning upside down. I wonder what else will do so over the next decade? Not just travel… but what we do, who we care for, what we pay attention to, who we communicate with and how, what we appreciate, what society is, what community is, what rewards us, where we find joy, where we find peace…

Maybe a new set of top trump cards is called for?

quit your job today

second-job

Many of us come to work and do two jobs.

One, we get paid for.

The other we do to survive. We spend time and energy looking good, making sure our boss and our colleagues like us, appreciate what we do, can see the value we bring. We spend time and energy hiding weaknesses, making sure any inadequacies are kept buried from view, protecting our vulnerabilities. We spend time and energy manoeuvring through the political and cultural slime of the organisation, hoping to escape its quicksand-like pull. We spend time and energy concealing mistakes, showcasing successes, managing and preserving our reputation. We spend time and energy on relationships that might protect us, on gangs, tribes and clans of people like us.

This second job gets a lot of attention, but largely goes unnoticed, because we all do it and we all conceal it. It’s like an unconscious game we all have to play, because anyone who doesn’t play may lose out.

What if our organisations were able to shift so that openly bringing our whole self to work was encouraged, so that mistakes, errors, weaknesses were seen as opportunities for learning and personal growth? Not learning to develop our weaknesses per se, but freedom to acknowledge them with equal weight to our unique abilities. Learning that we’re good, able, confident people really and learning that this ‘other’ job is directed at preserving a myth. The myth that we need to do that job at all.

We could all stop. All quit this second job. Together. Now.

This is an underpinning thought behind the concept of
the Deliberately Developmental Organisation here

how do you know about pass the parcel?

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I wonder sometimes if life is like a game of pass the parcel?

The music starts. Life runs.

The parcel moves around the circle.

In the party game, the parcel moves from child to child. In life though, maybe we are handing off one life moment to the next life moment? Passing our life to ourselves, experience by experience? That same self sitting next to us in the circle, about to live our next life episode?

In the game, the music stops. The anticipation of a gift, palpable. The joy of revealing it, effervescent. The pleasure of tasting the ‘sweetie’ within, satisfying. Feeling like you’ve won. Our child eagerly tears off the wrapper. Desperate to discover what lies within.

In the game of life, as an adult, we are however too keen to move on to the next scene, the next task, the next phase. We essentially restart the music immediately. No time to reflect on our personal learning. No time to even notice if we had any learning. No curiosity about the ‘sweetie’; that insight into ourselves. Move on. Pass the parcel of life to your adjacent, same self.

If we viewed life as a game of pass the parcel, where we stopped the music and enjoyed the self learning, the insight into how we’re growing as a human being, who we are, who we are becoming, where we’re going; how much richer would we be?

What if you don’t know about pass the parcel? What if you have never explored yourself, how you tick, how you come to the world, how you are evolving, your gifts, why you are here…? What if you just pass the parcel of life on to your same self neighbour? What if the music keeps playing?

Start now.
Play the game.
Tear open the gifts.
Learn to learn.
Learn to grow.

The game never ends.
The learning never stops.
Until the music does.

shall we play that game?

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Returning to work after a holiday is…

Well, what is it?

How do you complete that sentence?

Returning to work after a holiday is…

… difficult?
… to be relished?
… depressing?
… a relief?
… a right pain?
… worrying?

I wonder what is to be learned from our transitions in and out of holidays?

The rush to leave. Clearing the inbox. Completing the ‘to do’ list. Handing over. Readying the house or the family for the break. Buying what you need; food, gifts, tickets.

If you are going away, checking you have everything at point of departure (tickets, passports, money etc). Securing the house. Telling neighbours, friends, relatives.

Then the return. Knowing that work will have been piling up. Checking your emails the night before. Anything urgent? Can you clear the junk? Getting your work bag, clothes, technology ready. Dealing with the nervous tension in your stomach. Packed lunch?

First day back. Easy routine to fall back in to. So much to catch up on. Nothing has changed. Tell everyone about your break. Listen to their story. Let it all fade into memory. Focus on the work. Rhythm found.

Until the next time.

Why do we play this game?

here’s the answer, now what is the question?

the-wrong-question

I listened to the Minister for Sport this morning, Tracey Crouch.  She was describing the new government strategy for sport.

She did something it is both easy to admire and easy to despise in a politician – avoidance of the question.  She did it very well.

Essentially she was asked three points – will there be more money? How does this square with school sports field sell-off? and then, somewhat tangentially,  her view on a certain boxer and being a sports role model.

Tracey very adeptly avoided answering any of these questions whilst sounding authoritative, clear, engaging and positive.

At first I judged her.

Then on reflection it struck me that as human beings we all do that too, all the time.  We do it to ourselves. In our heads.

We give ourselves reasons why. We answer the question we have been telling ourselves is the question. Maybe we have told ourselves that for a very long time that’s the question.  We have probably been telling ourselves that’s the answer too, for just as long.  Maybe it’s a new rationale, but the same erroneous question?  The comfortable question. The familiar question. The safe answer.

But in reality we are often avoiding the real question.

Just like Tracey we spin ourselves a compelling story.

Maybe we should ask ourselves, ‘What’s the real question here?’ ‘What am I avoiding as I listen to my familiar internal dialogue?’

Let’s remove the politician in us all.