I’m in a hotel room in Cleveland Ohio. I’ve been in this great city for a few days and enjoyed an excellent weekend with friends. Later today I head off to Sandusky to help prepare for the annual Ohio Society for Human Resource Management conference. There will be 950 of us under one roof learning with and from each other, I’m excited to be here.
This is my third time here and I have a deep connection with the event itself and the people associated with it. Back in November 2011 I had a conversation with my Dad about ‘what next?’ and the idea of doing interesting things in the USA emerged from that conversation. My Dad died unexpectedly just two months after our chat and a month after that, I got confirmation that Ohio had accepted my ideas for a presentation. I honour that conversation with my Dad each time I come here, and this year I’m facilitating a session on connectedness, We Are Better Together. Here’s where you come in…
I have a ton of ideas, stories, frameworks, models and behavioural stuff to play with. I’ve been preparing and planning for this session for months, and because it contains a high level of improvisation – twists and turns will emerge, about which we currently know nothing. It’s a bit like a subway map, we can see how to get across town and there are many choices and directions we could take to achieve this.
In support of building and following our own version of the map, I would really appreciate your help. What are your most memorable learning experiences? Good, bad, behavioural, tactical, technical, etcetera, I’d love to hear from you. How did you feel, and what did you learn? I’d love to include a few of your stops on our journey, and I promise to share the map we draw together once the event is over. Thanks in advance for your help, have an excellent week.
Today’s blog post is inspired by Julie Drybrough and Niall Gavin. Julie recently reminded me of a process called ‘wild writing’ where you just write. Don’t think any more than you have to, just get on with it. Julie describes this in more detail here. I took a look at her work and tweeted my appreciation. Niall then approached me and suggested I try it. I did so, and in the spirit of working out loud, of showing my work, here is what fell out of my brain onto my keyboard with in a minute or two last night.
Why Do I Do What I Do?
I don’t like answering this question. I have doubts about why I do what I do. It doesn’t pay as well as my old corporate life, and my work is packed full of uncertainty, but I often enjoy it. I get satisfaction from my work and from seeing people realise there are others ways to think feel and act. I’m drawn to difference, and I’m drawn to integrating difference, without losing it. I enjoy paradoxes, I enjoy sharing my vulnerability to demonstrate that when I do so, interesting curious things can happen. I do what I do because I get the opportunity to travel, and to develop and share my story. Part of my story is my art, and part of the story of my art is that you never know where your story will take you if you remain open to the possibilities. Try it, you might like it. What is it? I’m not always sure. I do what I do to test myself – to challenge myself, so that I might then challenge others. Maybe not challenge others, encourage is probably a better word. I’m anti ignorance, anti coercion. I get angry, happiness is over rated. I’m straying from the why do I do path, I like to wander. I don’t appreciate certainty – it binds and restricts us, so I do what I do to help people overcome the certainty epidemic. I am conscious of the power and privilege that being a white man affords me. I often see this power and privilege wielded with ugly ignorance, and even uglier intent. I do what I do in pursuit of inclusion, even though I exclude at times. I’m frequently conflicted – I believe most people are, and many are not willing to acknowledge this, which strikes me as another inhibitor. I do what I do because there is more to life than following orders, and doing what is expected of you. Do the unexpected sometimes. I am learning that you can proceed until apprehended and do so with kindness. This is my answer to the question, Why do I do what I do? I will have another go at answering this question tomorrow.
I was heading into London last week when I spotted this on Twitter:
I knew I would be passing by the Moleskine store in Covent Garden so I offered to take a look. That branch had sold out and the staff directed me to another outlet in Regents Street which was also close to where I was travelling. I headed off, and voila!
The notebook has been purchased and has since arrived at its destination. What did I learn?
If you don’t ask (preferably nicely – which Ed did), you don’t get, and…
it’s a pleasure to be of service.
I since found out that two other people offered help to Ed, even though he’s not (yet) met them in person. In the overall scheme of things – a story like this is tiny, and sometimes, small things make big differences.