Have you been redlining lately – by which I mean putting your metaphorical pedal to the metal and doing as much as you possibly can without collapsing? Because just about everyone I’ve been talking to has been.
Sometimes it’s out of excitement – we love our work, we have a ton of opportunities and ideas – and sometimes it’s out of pressure – that project is looming, we’re short-staffed, we’re worried about our family members.
For one reason or another, we’re operating at full throttle.
I actually love New Year’s, but I hate the idea of filling your screen with yet another perky message full of motivational quips. Because the reality is that New Year’s – like so many things – is completely made up.
An Arbitrary History
Yes, New Year’s resolutions are a time-honored tradition – dating back some 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians, in fact. And, the evolving history of both the holiday and the resolutions that so often come with them validates their random nature. Which is to say, there’s some wiggle room to leverage the whole idea of a personal growth and transformation season in the way that serves us best.
Ambiguity creates space for choice.
I have to admit, I wasted an entire morning the other day.
I had blocked off a huge swath of time for some focused work and was “supposed” to be finalizing a project. I “should” have felt some urgency to nail it all down. I had a deadline coming up, I care about the content, and I really like the people and the organization I was going to be sharing it with.
But instead of polishing, I meandered.
I Googled gluten free food in Nairobi, I donated to a Fun Run that wasn’t happening for another week, I looked for the closest place to my home where I could ride someone else’s horse.
And from my coaching conversations, I know I’m not alone.
I’m fascinated by the confluence of storytelling, leadership development and improvisation. Most recently, the way that’s been showing up in workshops and coaching conversations is through the stories we tell about ourselves – both to ourselves and to others. And the thing is, how we choose to tell those stories, be it through the words we choose, the tone we adopt, or the meaning we give events, is a source of untapped power.
Yes, And – the well-known cornerstone of improvisational theater where you accept what another offers and build on it with your own contribution– is permeating business and leadership development programs.
As a professional improviser, I love that. From my first days improvising in high school I knew that the improviser’s mindset was my preferred way of living. It’s a commitment to believing that people have gifts to offer. And that your seeing those gifts and working with them will produce an outcome far more interesting and useful than you could drive on your own.
True, vibrant success is created in the present moment through powerful connection with other people which enables you to bob and weave in the face of anything that comes up.
This is true. And…
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