One Apple A Day #894 – everyone has the power

Everyone has the power to affect the direction of an organization.

from Be The Change cards by Vanessa Jane Smith

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the “hold on” attitude I often noticed in many contexts in this pandemic era. I’m aware, though, that it’s not just due to the pandemic. How many people do you hear complaining about how things are and expecting someone or something to solve everything in one go?

This attitude has a name, the Silver Bullet Syndrom. It is the belief that one big change – a new tool, methodology or structure – will miraculously or magically solve all problems.

Unfortunately, not only this assumption is almost invariably wrong. It also creates a sort of paralysis holding back people from seeing all the many small changes they could implement. Sure, a little initiative won’t change much, but the results can be remarkable when many small changes compound.

I notice this often in organizations. 

Unhappy people waiting for their leader to magically solve everything. Only to be disappointed most of the time, even when a big change happens.

Benjamin Hardy suggests that we should design our behaviours on our future self. That means understanding who we want to become tomorrow and begin today to act as if we were already that person. This way, our behaviours will shape our personality.

However, in his book Principles of Topological Psychology, published in 1936, psychologist Kurt Lewin defined a simple yet powerful equation: Behaviour is a function of the Person in his or her Environment, or B = f (P,E)

So, as we design our behaviours on the person we want to become, we should also develop them according to the environment we want to shape. 

Just try asking yourself the following questions.

How is the company or environment in which I want to work? 

What are the key behaviours or habits in such an environment? 

What is holding me back from implementing these behaviours or habits today?

And then go for it. Act as if you were already working in your dream organisation. It won’t change things instantly, obviously, but give it enough time, and it will change everything for you and others.

Remember, every action you take is a vote for the type of organization you wish to work in.

Image from Be The Change cards.

What are you waiting for?

This morning I had one of those generative conversations with my dear friend Vanessa, and this question came up.

What are you waiting for?

In these exceptional times, I often have the feeling that a lot of us, particularly our leaders, are holding on and waiting for something to happen and solve everything.

I don’t know what, and I’m quite sure nobody knows, but we wait. A cure, a saviour, a brilliant solution that will make all of this disappear?
I have no idea.
Though we wait.
And we hold on.
But how long can we do it?
How long can you hold on?

I’ve always been a master of holding on.
I held on so many times in my life while I was waiting for things to happen, for someone to say something, for changes to manifest.
I held on without doing or saying nothing but waiting.
Sometimes my waiting was rewarded, often I just remained hanging and bitter, until I forgot what I was waiting for.
Maybe I’m just getting older, and I don’t have the energy to hold on as I used to. Or perhaps I am changing.
What I know is that lately, I asked myself that question a few times; “what am I waiting for?”
And then, I found the courage to talk, to ask and to act.
Small things, for now, it is still a long journey.
Yet something is shifting, and things are happening around me.

If you feel you’re not living the life you want, or you’re not getting the things you desire, or you’re not getting the answers you seek, or maybe you do not see the change you yearn, then check with yourself if you’re just holding on and waiting.
In that case, allow me to ask you with the utmost love and respect; what are you waiting for?

Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

One Apple A Day #873 – Adaptability

In such volatile times, adaptability is a vital strength.
Years ago, people used to do the same work and live in the same place for most, if not all, of their life. I grew up with the idea that the goal was to create stability to have a predictable and serene life.
Thinking at the world today, stability is the last word I would use.
Everything change so quickly that we can’t be sure about anything.
But to be honest, change is natural.
In nature, continuous and relentless change is the norm.
Stability is a human construct, an outcome of our effort to survive.
Our brain is a predicting machine, continually scanning the surrounding to anticipate any risk and activate the right response to ensure our survival. So, we clearly prefer a stable and predictable situation in which we always know what happens next.
However, to keep that stability is energy-consuming as we have to create a resistance to the natural fickleness of things.
Yet, we are part of nature, so I believe we all have the innate ability to adapt to changes. It’s just dormant, but I’m sure that with some practice it can be awakened.

One Apple A Day #820 – the who question

“Who am I?” is a powerful question.

One that I’ve been carrying with me since I can remember.

It’s a question that works on its own, even when I’m not deliberately trying to answer. 

It is a tricky question, however.

In a way, the answer is easy. I am the living, talking and walking answer.

It is when I want to find an answer in words that things become more complicated. When that desire is triggered, the result is long moments of introspection.

The fact is, that when it comes to the “who am I” question, there is no single answer or absolute truth. 

No unambiguous certainty.

The risk then is to get stuck digging in the messiness I hold inside for something that doesn’t exist. Not in the form I’d like at least.

So, maybe “who am I?”, albeit powerful, is not always the best question to ask if my aim is to grow and move forward.

Perhaps, a better question would be “Who do I want to be?”

It’s still a tough question for which I doubt I will ever find a definitive answer. But at least it’s future-oriented. Plus, it’s a question that invites me to use my imagination instead of my logic. So the journey goes from one of understanding what is to one of creating what will be.

One Apple A Day #815 – external disruptor

Yesterday I learned about this idea from Marcia Reynolds, one of the most amazing coaches I know.

The external distruptor.

She says that “we don’t change well on our own.” We are trapped inside an invisible web of thinking patterns, beliefs and stories that limit our ability to see beyond. And because we can’t see this web, we can’t get through it, and we run in circles, stuck where we are.

To see this net and rip off its wires, an external disruption is needed; something or someone outside our head that disrupts our thinking patterns, challenges our stories and prompt us to wonder why we think the way we do.

In his book, Liminal Thinking, Dave Gray wrote that “if you’re part of the system you want to change, you’re part of the problem.

That is true also when the system is me.

To change my system, an external disruptor is needed.

Being an external disruptor for others.

That is who I love to be.

That is what I like to do.