momentum

I love when simple ideas, that actually do start simply, evolve into something complex. That’s my expectation in all cases. As a new concept or idea is released into the wild, any number of predatory behaviours can shorten its lifespan. Sometimes the thrill of designing a new project comes solely from watching the complications pop-up that seems to just squish out from every crack in the process. For me, negativity is ignorable; opposition, though, is delicious.

And I can’t tell you how times an excellent idea gets bogged down in pointless attempts to define and redefine the original concept or the wet blanket of outcome based thinking extinguishes the creative spark all together. Academic thinking can do that, it turns motivation into a headwind, and breaks momentum’s spine with overthinking.

Opposing something really cool and intentionally souring the creative process is cruel. And in many cases can shut down a project in its infancy. But for me, I want to see the negative, I want to look into its eyes and wait it out. That tension feeds back to me so much information that I feel like my process would be thinned without it. It is easy to be so hostile and infertile that future ideas are stopped before ever starting. It takes stellar energy and steely dedication to holding on to old outdated mindsets in the face of change, and those that hold these characteristics, I want them on my team.

I never really expect projects to expand smoothly from their inception. And to be honest, I love it when projects get ‘into the weeds’. I remember back in the day when I ran restaurants being ‘in the weeds’ was akin to crashing and burning. But even in those crazy moments of lineups at the door, food flying in and out of the kitchen, customers coming up to the servery for a meet and greet, and my boss asking for a special dinner for some VIP – the energy that exploded out of controlled anarchy was intoxicating. This beta testing is the only opportunity to get real time, real world, real feels for a new idea.

At the heart of all learning isn’t that what we really should expect? A hard won point makes for memories and resilience in the next match. Getting buy-in for a passion project should not be a simple matter. I know from experience that even finding a passion for fixing my energy on is not a simple pursuit. So getting new projects off the ground inevitably has to be like building an airplane in the air. I will risk and so I hope others will too. I will work hard and so I hope others will too. I will exist in the ambiguity of change and I hope others will too.

nope

I only, sometimes, maybe, mostly do not offer my opinion in meetings.

In the past I have recklessly dove into professional convos offering my views, many times bashing down moments without warrant and care.

Once in a while, a deeper state of collab was achieved by me throttling and shaking the tree other times my thoughtful/less thoughts were graciously discounted as either rogue or dangerous.

Truthfully, I am okay with existing at the fringes- rogue and dangerous are not how I would identify my intention, but at times, getting attention and holding attention can stem from open disagreement with the establishment.

Tactically, I have changed my delivery and pursuit so that I can remain viable and approachable…but I still disagree a lot.

Having and presenting and defending an opinion is one of the most underdeveloped and misunderstood tools in a teacher’s kit. I often find myself in ad hoc convos after a meeting where a colleague, after the fact, agrees with the position I held in the meeting. I ask why they did not engage… some reply:

  • Why bother? Nothing is going to change.
  • I do not want to cause conflict.
  • I have lots of [stuff] to do, no time for this.

To these I often ask:

  • What part have you played in this conversation before?
  • What [ideas, evidence, reflections] are you holding back?
  • How do you hold decision-makers and stakeholders accountable to outcomes?
  • Who do you trust in this group?
  • Who do you trust, that should be a part of this group?
  • Who do you accept professional criticism from?
  • What have you lost as a result of not jumping in?

Of course, it is also critical to consider:

  • best time to hold this meeting?
  • best length of time for the meeting?
  • best person to chair the meeting?
  • best environment to hold the meeting?
  • best method for moving resources before/during /after meeting?
  • best method to account for deliverables?What is the…

Colleagues rarely say that they are not interested in participation, we know that meetings are a part of our work and that the big picture can make our time in meetings feel diffuse.

I choose to exist on the fringe until I am certain that I have an angle of trajectory and a full enough understanding of the topic so that I can better engage with the table.

I feel that challenging the issues at hand, especially when they seem dogmatic in nature, can feel a little like a free fall. And like a freefall, the thrill can be a bit frightening. Consider that the next time you agree, even slightly, with an opposing view.

Ask yourself:

  • How would my support help to expand this idea?
  • What could my support look like?
  • Could my support now, lead them to supporting me later?