|Illustration by Simon Heath|
Happy 1st December and welcome to the Advent Blogs 2014! The theme this year is Paths and Perceptions…
Before I start, I would like to thank and acknowledge the wonderful Alison Chisnell for coming up with the concept of the Advent Blog Series and for curating it with such aplomb and sensitivity since 2011. You can read former years' posts on her blog, TheHRJuggler. For this year, and this year only, she has loaned her wand to me. I have received some wonderful pieces. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. I will be sharing one per day over Advent and into the holiday period.
It is an honour to curate these writings. From its first year onwards I have been a participant in the Advent Blogs series and have always been astounded and humbled by the experiences and outlooks that individuals have shared. This year is no exception. It is clear that people have trod some very varied routes and have exciting vistas ahead; come join me and we can explore some of their paths and perceptions…
|Number 1 - this number is sometimes referred to as "unity", |
which is appropriate, as that is what the Advent Blog series is all about:
A collection of individuals, each with a voice, who collectively produce
This is my third contribution to this advent series, and I have undertaken each previous piece of writing without a plan. Stare at the screen, touch the keyboard, close the laptop, go away, and think. Think, think, think. In past years, something good has arrived for me; when I clear space, the writing flows without effort or design. This time has been harder, but now that the thoughts are flowing in, I’m seeing how our perceptions create our paths in everything.
One of my maturing processes has been an acceptance of “being”. I see that being with negative emotions increases peace, rather than battling with them which increases angst. I can be happy sad, old young, wise stupid, they all exist in me. I am not one thing or another.
Paths open themselves up when I allow myself to “be”, particularly when I feel uncertain or vulnerable. I accept my uncertainty and my vulnerability, and I walk alongside them. I feel less desire to know, and more inclination to explore.
This is the path that appeared…...
I’m curious about the need for certainty, where it comes from, how it helps us make sense, and what it offers. The desire to quantify “human capital” for example is an area in which so much is being invested. I’m genuinely puzzled at how much proof we need to trust in our judgement.
- Don’t we already know that being treated with respect, being expected to be resourceful intelligent and responsible will lead to good things, good relationships, trust and in turn these will very probably lead to high performance?
- Don’t we know that arrogance, leader distance and greed distort reality and contaminate purpose? What more do we need to know?
- What else do we need to give us certainty?
We can’t quantify potential, love, power, respect – human qualities; much of the work I and many others do are about creating the conditions for our potential to be released. Creating time, space to think, to be, to connect with no other purpose. When we are looking for certainty, we look for evidence to support our particular truth – I wonder, in what way are we limiting ourselves when we search to validate our perceptions?
I’m torn between mild irritation and as I progress through life – curiosity, you see, I also haven’t met anyone else called Pippin. But in the lexicon there’s an apple and a character from the Hobbit that are Pippin. So the perception filter makes sense and remakes my name. Somehow whilst uncommon - Pippin is more familiar.
I wonder what this means; it appears to be unconscious reconfiguring of the letters to fit some sense making need.
A redesign of a name – it’s easy to see what’s happened. I can correct it.
This is making me very curious about all the other reconfiguring we do that is outside our consciousness; reorganising, relabeling – people, situations, experiences, to fit our perceptual expectations. We can’t correct those.
What are our perception filters protecting us from?
What is buried in us that we don’t know informs how we perceive each other, what truth we see and a flood of other questions?
What are we making in organisations when we talk about leadership, when we talk about talent, when we talk about management?
Where is this leading? I don’t know. But I’m curious, and I learn that the more we seek certainty, the more we are somehow rejecting important truths. There are things we can never know; but there is something at play that substitutes an I for an E to make sense, or a you for a me to feel safe.
(with thanks to Japanfanzz for image)
I was telling a friend how much this irritated me, when I’d recently been to a large event where everywhere I was a Pippin for a day, and a life for those who met me once. We had fortune cookies – know what mine said?
“Write your name on your heart, not on marble”.
Oh what a lovely coincidence.
What you call me doesn’t matter. It’s what I know about me that matters. That was my interpretation.