Some of you reading this blog will be familiar with my mindful pauses from class. I will use them throughout this project to indicate a moment of reflection. As I explore the different aspects of my identity and share the story with you, I am receiving feedback of various sorts. It is essential that I take the time to reflect on this feedback, assess it in terms of relevance and importance, consider the lesson, and then integrate and update my approach …..it has taken long time to develop a practice to support this reflexive cycle happening fairly naturally now.
I would argue that it is an essential practice for mindful leaders, leaders of innovation, leaders of transformation, leaders who are trying to lead through this ambiguous, complex, uncertain, volatile world.
Step 1. Take time to think, simple yet radical.
Not ruminate. Not plan. Not worry. Not rehash or replay or regret….
Just sit and think. Walk and think. Stand and think.
Just allow the thoughts, watch them, notice, be curious. Let them go.
Space out for a bit….
And then, after that sitting, you might find there has been a sort of sifting of the mind. A settling perhaps. And you can go over the bigger pieces remaining, to see what is left to examine and explore.
And so here I reflect on the first days of this journey being public, the words of support, the tokens and symbols of solitude and shared conviction; and with curiosity I watch the little sprinkling of self-doubt flutter over me. We all know it, when we’ve stepped over the edge, outside our comfort zone, a scary place of risk and growth. The little voice that would like to remind you of all the reasons why you shouldn’t.
The volume at which my negative self-talk voice is at these days is a 0-2/10, depending on the day. This is down from I’d say about a screaming, ALL CAPS 10/10 during my adolescence.
But still I hold dear, the words of love from my sisters and brothers in transformation, each word a feather in our collective wings.
Already I can see the network of networks beginning to form. My inner circle, people I haven’t communicated with directly in years, people who have only known me in passing, people who know people who know me….
The theory underlying the famous Diffusion of Innovation Curve (Rogers, 1962), reminds us that momentum is built slowly and that effort is required in the early days to ensure the innovation, the new idea or technology, continues to spread. Transformation requires many new ideas, and arguably, a reimagined approach to leadership and management is a whole new technology.
Integrated with an understanding of social structures from Social Network Analysis, you can start to piece together a multi-dimensional understanding of how your innovation is spreading through your core network and into your peripheral networks.
Likewise, with insight into the social cognition of groups and the psychology underlying Social Identity Theory, you can start to appreciate who the innovators are around you and who the early adopters (and influencers) are likely to be, and in what ways they identify with you and your message. And as you are reading this you are either thinking you’d like to know more or you’re wondering if you’ve been manipulated….I’ll share more, and I’m not manipulating you. But I am appealing to the parts of you that are the same or similar to parts of me.
And for some, the parts of you that are different but maybe a little bit similar to me (think Venn diagram), are the ones starting to make you feel a little uncomfortable. Perhaps you’ve distanced yourself from my ‘little project’ in some way, maybe you’ve made a joke about it to a colleague, but here you are, back reading this again. Perhaps, you are ready to explore or resolve the dissonance you feel.
So, upon reflection, I am grateful for every word of support and love that has been shared with me, I feel the energy of them. I am aware that some discomfort is arising and I remind myself that it always does, this is how change happens. First we have to feel uncomfortable enough with how things are to motivate ourselves to make them better…..sometimes we fight and deny this before we realise, it is the struggle that causes our suffering. The fear that holds us back.
This has always been the process. In the classroom, on the mat, in the yoga studio, in the dojo, in therapy, and now, in our jobs and our organisations.
It is time to surrender to the need for radical change.
To transform our mindsets and transcend old paradigms.
And to remember that sometimes it’s those who are crazy enough to think they can, that do.
May you be happy,
May you be healthy,
May you know freedom from suffering.
p.s. For those who recognise pieces of conversation, concepts, words, phrases… please know I am thinking of you as I write and send my gratitude for your influence on my thoughts and in my life.