Time To Talk

The longer I left it, the more difficult it became.

I’ve not been feeling well lately. When I say lately, I mean months and months, maybe even a year or two…I’m not entirely sure. What I do know is that I’ve been carrying this unwellness around in my head, keeping it from my family. Wanting to talk, and never knowing what to say.

I’ve played conversations out in my head over and over again. They nearly always seem to end badly and I take that as a sign that silence is probably the better option. I choose to isolate and withdraw, most notably from those closest to me. Over time, I slowly become aware of three things. A lack of self care, a lack of motivation, and a surfeit of anger, most of which I internalise. It’s fair to say these things are not constant, and there are better things in the mix too, however this unwelcome trio are occupying too much space.

What might it take for things to shift?

Last week, I stumbled on this photographic tweet from Holly Davis, the poem is by Rupi Kaur.

This idea has always resonated with me and my work. One of the biggest causes of friction and failure when it comes to change and organisational development, is our reluctance to take responsibility. It’s easier to apportion blame than take responsibility, yet apportioning blame often anchors you in the past, while taking responsibility can create space to rebuild and move on.

I realise I am responsible for internalising how I feel, and while I do not and should not feel a need to pass on everything that’s flying around inside my head, acknowledging and taking responsibility to speak is vital.

Sunday morning after breakfast, it all comes out. What ‘it’ is need not concern you, but what’s important is that in speaking, listening can occur, shared space can be found, and empathy and understanding is generated. Thank you Carole, I’ll not leave it so long next time.


Authenticity is Never Enough

Authenticity. I must have read that word a bazillion times this year, how it failed to make it into the 2013 LinkedIn top 10 buzzwords is anyone’s guess.

I spotted Gemma Reucroft commenting about this on Twitter earlier today:

Gemma Reucroft Authenticity Tweet

The dictionary defines authentic as being ‘of indisputable origin and not a copy’. We seem increasingly keen to search out and honour authentic leaders, and whilst I think authenticity is important (and currently over used), by itself it is never enough. In a workplace context I think people see being authentic as being true to themselves.

Think about that for a moment, being true to yourself. What if someone’s true self is a psychopathic money grabbing selfish bastard? They’re out there you know.

So as well as being ‘the answer to everything lately’, I think the term can also be unhelpful. And whilst I guess I’d always rather see someone’s true self than a sham cover up, I might add stuff like humility, dignity and even vulnerability into the mix. And if you can’t cope with vulnerability – swap it for courage (just don’t tell anyone they are often one and the same thing).

Filling In The Gaps

I’ve been investing a lot lately, in you and me, in us. I’ve made the slightest tweak to my Twitter bio and I’m using it…

Credo. Together beats apart. Flow beats worklife balance. Productive beats busy. Connection gives us meaning, conversations are the bond.

…and my most recent seven word autobiography as guiding lights. Sometimes the lights are dim, sometimes bright. Sometimes the lights take an orderly direction, sometimes they meander.

I grow increasingly certain about uncertainty, increasingly confident about vulnerability, and the vitality of momentum is not lost on me either.

A blank page is both an excitement and a challenge. Will that first mark land in the right place? I was doodling as part of my curation role at the CIPD conference this week, and I made many mistakes. The first one bothered me. Uncertainty and vulnerability. Grrr! The second and subsequent mistakes turned out to be guiding lights on the way to something I was happy to share. As I realised this – things flowed more easily. Momentum.

2014 is nearly upon us. So far there is meaningful, useful, exciting work in the What Goes Around diary for January. February. March. April. And there is room for more, and there will be more.

I am thankful and encouraged. In being encouraged, I hope in some small way I am encouraging too.

Guiding lights. Blank pages. Filling in the gaps.