Previous posts were impressions of some great conferences I recently attended.
This blog post is different. It is more a personal reflection.
I invite you to join me on my journey.
In our company, failure is not an option (FNOA). That’s quite normal given the nature of our business: a worldwide business-to-business network for mainly international financial transactions. That’s not something you mess around with: rightfully so.
Recently, when attending the Compass Summit, there were a couple of sessions on risk management. Some examples were given how risk is assessed in other businesses such as investments in oil refineries, also an important and critical infrastructure. The similarities with our business were obvious.
There is always the tension between investing in proven technologies and taking some risk with less proven innovative technologies. Moreover, any investment in such space usually commits you for long periods: 10-40 years. So, you better make the right choice.
All the risk managers I have met are highly responsible people. I can imagine that people making such decisions do their homework and base their assessments on extensive risk analysis. There are for sure many techniques, processes and best practices for this.
But what about the more unconscious parts
of these and other decision processes?
Do emotional and less rational processes play a role? Such as doubt? Such as uncertainty? Such as fear?
- Fear to make the wrong choice.
- Fear of taking the leap of faith and switch to the next wave of technologies.
- Fear of holding back.
I did some introspection in my own state of mind and what’s holding me back some days.
I realize that by sharing this, I do show some personal vulnerability (see video Brené Brown), but i take the risk. Because I am a strong believer of open mind, open heart, and open will. And would like to make more “human” connections with all those who I care about: my family, my friends, my colleagues, my followers, the followed. Because I believe openness leads to transparency, better connections, better choices, and more conscious corporations with a real soul. I would like more people showing some vulnerability.
It feels so much more human.
As some of you may have noticed, I am quite active on twitter. I read a lot. I follow more than 1,000 RSS feeds. I try to stay up to date. I believe my readers appreciate. I believe my employer appreciates the holistic view I bring to the table. I appreciate their feedback and it gives me energy.
Staying up-to-date is a matter of discipline. In principle, I reserve time early in the morning, during lunch breaks, and late in the evening when the kid is to bed, and everything is silent. I estimate it’s about 3-4 hours per day before and after working hours: quite an investment and intensity.
And with this sort of intensity, I realize every day that there is so much good stuff out there on the edges of our ecosystem. There are so many inspiring people out there, so many inspiring ideas.
Is it just a dream that one could live
in such a permanent inspiring environment?
When I come back to the office, into the “real” world, I often wonder how I can make that knowledge stock more relevant for our company, for our community. How can I create a knowledge flow from my knowledge stock? What’s a better way of sharing? With some more rubber hitting the road. And to see more significant progress and results of our innovation activities.
It becomes almost
an existential question
“What am I doing here if nothing or very little of these spotted innovations, prototypes, and incubations ever hit our mainstream business?”
As Nick Carr wrote in The Shallows (Amazon Affiliate link), all this exposure to scattered new stuff does something with your brain. You start getting used to “scanning”.
It’s a different type of attention, a different type of presence or even “non-presence”. And it becomes difficult to focus for some longer time on something specific, even something as simple as reading a book.
Scanning leads to distraction. Overflow. Not seeing clear anymore. But on the other hand, you become much better in making connections between topics, memes and trends.
Just the other day, a friend called me, and she was in awe for the progress we had made with Innotribe. And also for the personal growth progress I had made myself.
I am not sure. I am in doubt. Maybe I don’t see it. Maybe I don’t see the progress anymore, to close to see clear. Forgetting the take the time to take the helicopter view.
- Maybe that’s why I feel more like stagnating.
- Maybe I am too hungry.
- Maybe I don’t walk the talk of letting emerge what needs to be.
- Maybe I don’t celebrate enough progress.
- Maybe I am too closed.
Even more closed with people I like a lot. Then I feel afraid.
- Afraid of jumping and making bold moves
- Afraid of sticking out my neck even more.
- Afraid of showing some/all my vulnerabilities.
- Afraid of being hurt.
- Afraid of giving too much, and not getting back.
- Afraid of opening up
- Afraid of the unknown in opening up.
- Afraid of discovering emptiness.
- Afraid of loosing control.
- Afraid of jumping in the empty hole.
- Afraid of standing in the full fire.
- Afraid of my true self.
- Afraid of being free.
I am hungry to be free. 100% free. In the sense of being “alive”, being 100% in my true flow, free from internal blockages such as fear. Free like in letting myself go in dancing. Free like in my most creative moments.
And then, just the other night, coincidently – there are no co-incidences, I believe a lot in synchronicity and that the things that come to you had to come to you – I was picking up again that book of Christopher Alexander in “The Timeless Way of Building” (Amazon Affiliates link) about patterns in architecture.
Chapter 2 is about “The quality without a name”. It made me aware that what I am chasing is more than “free”. I recommend anybody to read this chapter, for me it’s like an ideal compass for life:
There is a central quality which is the root criterion of life and spirit in a man, a town, a building, or a wilderness. This quality is objective and precise, but it cannot be named
It is a subtle kind of freedom from inner contradictions
… the most primitive feeling which an animal or a man can have, as primitive as the intuition which tells us when something is false or true.
Attributes of this quality without a name are:
- Exact (like in “right”)
But maybe I should not try to chase “free” or to chase that unnamed quality.
Maybe that unnamed quality is an illusion.
I don’t think so. I would surely hope not so.
I am not after
that unnamed quality,
I better stop
after that unnamed quality
IS my reason for being
But the hunt for better and more quality sucks ànd gives energy.
And sometimes I need a pause. Time to reboot. Step out of the treadmill. Take distance. Re-connect with my true self. Pure silence and no distraction. Presence. More conscious.
Sometimes, I imagine living in a convent or on a desolated island. Nothing fancy. Almost minimalistic: small Spartan room, clean, bare furniture, some simple fair food and some wine. And reading. Musing. Reflecting. Having a tribe following.
Maybe that’s enough.
- But wouldn’t I feel bored pretty soon?
- Wouldn’t I become a fugitive of myself?
- Prisoner of my own fear?
So, I have come to the conclusion that
fear is not an option
I believe that one has to hit the bottom of fear, and stay there for some time. And be present in that bottom moment. And let emerge and let happens what comes.
You can’t “steer” everything in live. Probably nothing. I don’t believe anymore one can “steer” innovation, that one can steer change. That a subject for a subsequent post 😉
Some things cannot be planned. You have to let go, and take the leap of faith.
The only way to make personal and professional progress is to jump. Take the risk. Stick out your neck. And fail sometimes. Fail many times. Re-start. Retry. Fail. Retry. Success. Repeat.
Do you have fear? Do you have doubts? Do you need time to reboot? To re-connect with your true self?
What does this do with you? How does this resonate with you? Does this want you to respond and share your own perspective and experiences?
Or is it more, OMG…
Let me know.