In 2020, in the middle of Co-Vid I published my first book. Applied Flow.
It is said that one of the reasons we write is to figure out what we think. That was certainly true for me. Writing a book – much like reading a book, much like the characters voyaging through the pages is a journey.
Three years later, I am still astonished and grateful by how well it has held up. Living a life of flow is a practice, still – and honestly a humbling one. It’s also a life of integrity, courage, curiosity and magic. So that’s cool.
“The Future is here… it’s just unevenly distributed.”William Gibson
Our society and culture celebrates speed, it encourage us to be the first, early adopters and fast learners. None of my teachers ever pointed out the risk of being ahead of the curve, and the paradoxical need for patience that comes with being quick. Specifically…
Others Have to Catch Up
If others don’t join us into that new future, we can feel stuck, frustrated and bored. In worse case scenarios, being too far ahead of the curve can expose early adopters as outliers and threats. In better cases, it reveals leaders and visionaries. Although as one mentor said to me, you don’t get to be labeled a visionary until after your vision comes to pass.
There are varying theories identifying the tipping point; the point where enough critical mass has been built, change is inevitable and obvious to the hold outs. The lesson here is that it requires patience, perseverance and an understanding of the process.
This applies to new technologies, processes, ideas, social equality and justice.
Folks often preface a request with that phrase. Heck I’ve been known to preface a request like that.
Maybe it’s the pandemic, or maybe it’s turning forty but the truth is I’m generally not “busy.” That is not to say that I don’t have plenty of work to do and more things to do than I CAN EVER POSSIBLE FINISH EVER. That’s life.
The reason I am not “busy” is in part because I am obsessed with working at the right speed and on priorities. When I’m busy it’s generally because I’ve decided to let someone else make me “busy.” Perhaps it’s a new client and the only way to assure them is to spend some time “hop to-ing” or perhaps I’m being a bit ambitious with conflicting events — and I don’t feel like choosing- – it happens.Continue reading ““I know you are busy…””
Under the makeshift desk I have set up in the living room is a pile of shoes. Every so often I need to collect them and return them back to the shoe rack where they belong. They clearly accumulate because I kick them off while writing.
The weird thing is …Continue reading “Mindless Shoes”
I was 0 days old when I first heard the term “tend and befriend” as an alternative stress response to fight or flight. Seriously, though it’s a massive shift – it explains my mama bear complex and honestly makes me feel less “weird.” Check out the podcast below for more shit kicking wisdom.
I think, this idea is something I’ve always known. Having language that fits our experience is empowering and comforting. “Rationality”, is rooted in the need for people to compare notes, to rationalize and make sense of the world by sharing perspectives. We can use more pedagogy that is not rooted in fixed zero-sum thinking.
One of the reasons I write is for the accountability. I’m not claiming that I won’t change my mind. In fact quite the opposite, but I do my best to write what I believe is true, at the time I am writing it. For the most part, I think I do a good job – and while I am open to change, and accounting for more perspectives, at this point my core “truth” is pretty solid.
My friend Bryanda calls it speaking in drafts. I find this iterative approach – to life, relationships and work – works well. I write in drafts. I create in drafts. I live in drafts. I claim nothing other than that I am honestly doing my best, which is better some days than others.
Accountability also comes up in the literature on building trust. I have in the past struggled to tell people in positions of power that I do not trust them. If you’ve ever had to manage someone with low EQ and positional power – you know the feeling of walking on egg shells. Brene Brown has a wonderful check list for diagnosing trust breaches, that I find enormously helpful for articulating and communicating when there has been a breach of trust. B-R-A-V-I-N-G. It’s absolutely worth digging into, but I want to focus on,Continue reading “Accountability”
WiIw or “What if I’m wrong?” Do you ask yourself that question? I do. A lot.
I’m not a masochist. The truth is I don’t like being wrong. More accurately I dislike when know-it-alls point out when I (or my team) have missed something obvious. I’m also not a fan of messing up in public or in front of a client. If we can be open to learning something new and learn a lesson quickly – we can fix it. Boom! Done. That is the joy of asking “what if I’m wrong.”
Once when I switched teams – moving from a group that had a lot of trust and psychological safety to a competitive low trust environment. I was astounded when my annual review came back and I learned that co-workers interpreted this WiIw habit as a lack of confidence. Reporting that it seemed like I doubted myself and everyone.
As it turned out, it was true, I DID lack confidence. I lacked confidence in a culture that was too insecure to question itself or factor in divergent perspectives.
I think a lot of about psychological defaults these days. Partly it’s a function of living in the DC-metro area in the middle of an election year – and partly it’s a function of studying leadership and motivation.
The rule of reciprocity…
Robert Cialdini’s book Influence, is one of the best and most recommended book on the topic of persuasion. It’s worth picking up and keeping it as a reference. Fans of the book will recognize the term “click whirr.” The term refers to when a “cue” is initiated and triggers a resulting action. In nature this might be when baby birds chirp and the mother bird nurtures them. As it turns out, it’s not even necessary for the chirp to come from baby birds. Scientists found that a recorded sound of baby birds chirping, coming from from stuffed pole cat (a natural predator) was enough to cue the same behavior in the mama bird.
Humans unfortunately are not immune to similar click whirr effects – one of those you may have experienced in your own life. It happens when someone does you a favor or gives you something and you feel an debt or obligation to return the favor. This is what is known as the rule of reciprocity.Continue reading “Mind the Click Whirr”
I once asked Joanne Lipman, if writing about hard things, difficult things, things that infuriate you, frustrating things, wrong things … if it ever gets easier.
I was hoping that she, as a seasoned pro, would give me some cheerful encouragement. I was hoping, I think, for a secret, some magic pill for placing emotions in a jar and carrying on.
But she didn’t have anything like that. Instead she bluntly told me, it doesn’t get easier. Even after so many years, she admits she has to step away sometimes. What keeps her going is to remember why she is writing … who she is helping and the change she wants to effect.
It’s advice I come back to quite often.
I was reading Ezra Klein’s “Why We’re Polarized” and I came across a lovely idea, which is that we are not meant to be rational by ourselves. Put another way we are stronger when we take in and listen to multiple points of view. This is certainly something I have found to be true. Recently someone pointed out the root “rational” is “ratio” – which implies both comparison and balance. I like the idea of revealing the truth by comparing notes, or our various versions of reality.
As to ascertaining the a rational balance, whenever I work with statistical ratios and percentages, I’m also mindful of how slippery they can be. Change can happen in either numerator or denominator (or both), and big changes can be obscured in the resulting ratio. So-called rationality is rooted in a lot of obscured assumptions. It makes sense to check the default paradigm and the legitimacy of any comparison – before venturing a guess as to what is and what is not rational.
… and of course there is also the matter of what happens at the margins.
“There is a saying in the Tibetan scriptures: “Knowledge must be burned, hammered, and beaten like pure gold. Then one can wear it as an ornament.” So when you receive spiritual instruction from the hands of another, you do not take it uncritically, but you burn it, you hammer it, you beat it, until the bright, dignified color of gold appears. Then you craft it into an ornament, whatever design you like, and you put it on.”― Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
I re-discovered this quote this morning, after writing a very similar, although far less poetic, guideline for a workshop I’m facilitating this afternoon. This quote embodies FLOW and the state of navigating the balanced peak as well as the notion that knowledge must be APPLIED, molded, tested, conformed, and explored to suit our own needs.
It also demonstrates that flow is everywhere we are, we just have to look.
Thanks for attending my DC Start-Up Week Presentation.
>>> Here is a copy of the presentation.
First – Email me directly to enter the raffle for my book, Applied Flow: Stop Burnout. Be Awesome.
Please note: I will NOT be adding you to my email newsletter – because I get WAY too many newsletters and imagine you do to. I might send you a follow up note now and again – if it’s annoying just tell me. It’s cool, I 100% get it and I’ll remove you.
>>> Link to the book on Amazon – Nerd Alert: there is a psychologically related reason it is priced at $5.01
If you want to keep up with my writing and other projects…
Professionally the best way to reach me is LinkedIn. Please send me a note in your connection request. Not only am I more likely to accept your request, later on we can quickly remember that we met during DC Start-Up Week!! #oldpeoplememoryhacks
You can also follow this blog and if you like nerdy cartoons, find me on instagram.
Upcoming Events I’m Excited To Host…
+ October 1 – Creative Mornings Field Trip – Finding Your Unique Flow
Register with Creative Mornings
+ October 31 – C.Anon – Collaborative Fiction Workshop
Link Coming Soon on Eventbrite