In many ways, today is my new year. It's time to stop and reflect on the lessons learned and also to launch and continue some of the plans that I began last summer. Lucky for me, spring is here to inspire me in the tending, mending and minding phase that creates those little sprigs of new growth and innovation.
Last year was filled with powerful ups and downs. One of the most repetitive lessons was about being true to myself - authentic. After an epic streak of fails, I finally began to get traction on relearning listening and trust for my instincts. And in a few critical moments, I was even able to support that knowledge with action.
It's always fun (in a spiritually geeky sort of way) to unpack our own unconscious behaviors. By doing so, it makes us more powerful in our work lives by helping us recognize when these invisible beasts are operating in our companies and colleagues.
The ego, unconscious, reactive mind has quite a few tricks. The reptilian portion of our brain is always looking for danger. Once identified, it begins to line up all input to support its conclusion and assessment of the situation. Fight, flight and/or freeze behavior ensues. When a tiger or hot stove is in front of you, this is helpful behavior. When your boss is, this black and white view of the world – these reactive assessments of the situation - lead to simplistic and often deeply counter-productive decisions and behavior.
As I step out and reflect on what is operating for me when I don't blog I start to recognize a few trends.
Scary people gambit
My unconscious mind went back to old behavior from the days when I struggled with being socially awkward and overwhelmed by people. The lizard brain began to look at people as untrustworthy and scary. What if they don't like what I write? What if it's wrong? This is a classic case of going after approval from outside of myself.
In my conscious mind, I know that I have an unspeakably supportive and interactive UX community. When or if they don't like it or disagree is often when the most far-reaching learning happens for me. It's a good thing. And if I get really honest, they rarely disagree; they simply expand my understanding based on their own experiences. Awesome!
It needs more work
This is a great one. This thought originates from the underlying worry that "I'm not good enough." Believing and seeking support for this thought leads to all kinds of spectacularly crazy behaviors including trying to control everything.
The reality is that I write every day - output isn't the issue. In my quest for control, I overshot and began to second-guess everything that I wrote. Time to use my conscious mind more effectively and put in a little courage along with my editing and strategic assessments of what I share and communicate. Everything is always in process. And isn't that my deal – we're all making it up. Time to find the balance.
I'm too busy gambit
I don't even need to unpack that one. Julia Cameron lovingly points out the fallacy of this little internal lie in her book "The Right to Write," when she asks if you ever sit in the bathroom during your day. Hey, look, time to write ready made in your day.
The reality is that there are tons of stray minutes in the in-between of our days. The issue is not the actual time but whether we're able to discipline ourselves to use it to continue our process. One of my active goals is to "be quiet and do my own work." This is me finally doing that quietAction. Go me.
So, with this post, I re-commit myself to using this blog as a way to communicate what it is that I do and to try things out. It's time to get back to play, throwing things at the wall to see what sticks and mud pies. I look forward to the conversation.