Category Archives: Crazy Ideas

Overcoming Doubt : Not Giving Up

Running bore alert!

After Dad’s death in 2012, my body reacted in a profoundly painful way. The doctors diagnosed some kind of arthritis and told me I had to stop running. Like most stupid men I ignored the advice and tried to carry on. The subsequent pain, akin to having a hot knife wiggled around under your kneecaps, forced my hand, and I stopped. I convinced myself I’d never run again.

Over time, the pain abated, I stopped taking prescribed pain relief, and since introducing regular walks at the start of 2015, I’ve slowly felt stronger, and simultaneously tried to accept that these walks take the place of the more vigorous activity which I previously enjoyed. My Fitbit slave ring joyfully announced that I’ve walked over 4,000 miles since the beginning of 2015. I enjoy my walks very much. Somedays walking helps me think, others days I just empty my head and stroll, and sometimes I look for the beauty in the every day things I encounter. There is much to enjoy in walking, and yet as my 51 year old girth continues its slow expansion, I feel I need to do more.

This month, I snuck back into running courtesy of a borrowed pair of Carole’s running shoes. I’m assured that off road is gentler on the knees, so I’ve been running at Roundshaw Downs, an up and down grass course. After finishing the first week I could barely move – no arthritic pain, but instead, a profusion of muscle aches the like of which I’d not previously experienced. Since then, I’m remembering to stretch out the tightness immediately after a run, and I feel much better as a result.

I’ve now completed three parkruns and taken just over two and a half minutes off my times since I started.

Whoop de doo and all that. This is all very well, but what really struck me today as I pushed (puffed!) for the finish line, is the realisation that I’m here, doing it. I’m running again. I had written off the prospect of putting on running shoes ever again, and I was wrong. I could now spend time worrying about how much sooner this return may have occurred had I not been so full of doubt, but instead, I’ll give thanks to the volunteers at Parkrun who make the weekly events possible, and I’ll remember not to be so quick and certain to write myself off in future.

Still Figuring It Out

Yesterday I drew six years of trading as What Goes Around to a close in readiness for the seventh, which starts today. In the past few days I’ve also accepted my first artistic commission. I’m very excited about this. When I started out on my own I never imagined the range of possibilities and opportunities that would come my way, many of which have been delightful, all of which I’ve learned from.

A Brief Reflection

Trying to make your own way in the world is simultaneously exciting, scary, joyful and desperate, satisfying and frustrating. Working in this way is not for everyone, though I’d encourage everyone to try it at some time. It’s also not for me to say that working for yourself is somehow better than working in a bigger business, but it is different, and it is that difference between big and small, which I experience and apply, and my inherent curiosity, that have become some of the greatest ways I can now contribute usefully.

If I’ve learned anything more it’s that gentle persistence matters, doing the work on yourself first is vital, trying to be kind to yourself and others helps enormously, and being curious and invitational is a great way to approach pretty much anything. Give generously, trust first, be thankful – thank you Carole, and thank you everyone who has given me work, supported me, encouraged me, let me down, and screwed me over. I’ve learned something from all of you.

A Brief Look Forward

I’m not so hot when it comes to predicting the future, but I do know I’m about to launch a new business designed to help develop the more artistic side of my work, and bring it to many more people. I’ve also recently agreed to join the LPI consultancy team – early days and this feels like a lovely place to make another home. I will continue to offer facilitation and consulting work through What Goes Around, as well as writing and some public speaking too. Lastly for now, many of you will have noticed over the years I enjoy giving stuff away. With this in mind I’m formulating a way to establish a stronger more intentional volunteer element to my work and I’m finding a way to make a regular financial contribution to some good causes too. More news soon.

Last year was a good one, and I feel like I’m due something better than good, something great. If you can help me make it great through us working together, please let me know – I’d love to explore that with you.

Thank you again. Love – Doug.

Creativity – Ebb and Flow

Following yesterday’s post about no agenda, David D’Souza and Ian Sutherland both got in touch to suggest that my thinking was less about having no agenda, perhaps more about cocreating one. I agree.

My thinking on cocreation and agendas was further provoked by Julian Stodd writing about the enemies of innovation in organisations, and in particular his observations about dichotomies, for example the tension between trust and rules. These tensions brought to mind the knobs and dials on a mixing desk, and with this in mind, last night I invented a new toy. Ladies and gentlemen (drum roll) I give you the patented, ‘Creativity Ebb n Flow Meter’ – V1.0.

Creativity Ebb n Flow Meter

As you can see, the device is a series of complex tensions, adjusted through a series of knobs and sliders. On the far left is the all important panic button and a limited choice of beverages is available on the right. All this magic is contained in an old cereal box, which is a bit crunked because I sat on it by accident.

I’m now looking for investors to help me develop a version 2.0 of this product, so if you know any angels, and if you’ve any thoughts about modifications I should make to improve things, please let me know.