growing at the edges

learning on the edge
Trees would look strange with spindle-like trunks supporting thick-set heavy branches. New shoots necessarily grow at the tips. Established branches and the trunk, thicken to support this expansion.

My wife and I walked around a housing development site the other day – new houses being built near us. As we walked further in to the development, roads were less complete, houses half finished, before we reached a temporary fence and gate through which we could peek at groundwork for a subsequent phase. New growth building literally on established infrastructure.

Across the country, roads themselves are built at the extremity of existing roads. Sensible really, as a road that is unconnected to the network is pretty useless.

You only have to observe weeds pushing through paving and tarmac to see what power lies at the most delicate tip of the plant. The drive to push through, to break new ground, belying the tender fragility of that new growth.

So too it would seem with our development as human beings. Growth comes at the edge. It builds on what already exists. At first it is new, a little fragile, but gradually with confidence and practice it strengthens and opens up new possibilities for learning and growth.

Sometimes we don’t want to go to the edge. It can be scary. A little uncertain. A little too new. We feel vulnerable.

But if we don’t go to the edge, we won’t grow new shoots, expand our capability, learn more about ourselves and our potential.

Stand at the edge of yourself. Branch out. Literally.

where are the confused people?

confused angry emotion
You know that exercise we do after conferences or meetings, where before we check out the facilitator says, “Let’s do a temperature check”. “Let’s go around the room. Everyone sum up how they are feeling in one word”.

They’re asking because we’ve just been told something and we might be having an emotional reaction to it.

How many synonyms are there for thoughtful?
Reflective, pensive, contemplative, pondering …

How many synonyms are there for open minded?
Curious, wondering, intrigued, anticipating …

These are neutral. We can’t be challenged on them. They’re to be expected almost. We’ve just been told some new information, something is changing, why wouldn’t we be thinking about this new information and why wouldn’t we be open to what we’re being told is to be the new reality anyway?

I wonder though…

Where are the confused people?
Where are the angry people?
Where are the scared people?
Where are the resentful people?
Where are the lost people?

Our language for emotions in organisations is woefully lacking and our ability to connect with and honour our personal truth, in such a public forum, is so hard to reach.