My brain is quite good at understanding things. In particular myself and my own behaviours. My mind can dissect the things I’ve said or done, find triggers and patterns, discover what I should change and how I can do things differently. It can also tell me compelling and reasonable stories.
My mind can do all of this. In hindsight.
However, when it really counts, my emotions and my instinct are way faster and louder than my mind.
Do you know that feeling? When you know what would be the right thing to say or do, but you talk and act differently?
To know or understand something in one thing. To live it or be it, is a whole different story.
What I’ve understood is that it’s all about practice. Using the mind to design and plan the exercises I need to become who I want to be.
And then going for it.
Day after day.
Until I’ll get to the point when my thoughts, emotions and instincts are in sync.
It takes time and a lot of failures.
But little by little, I’m getting closer.
For almost two decades, I worked in the digital industry. Over the years, I observe the same pattern in many products or services.
It starts with a smart and simple solution. Sure, usually it’s not perfect, a bit rough on the edges and with some small bugs, but it works.
So people love it and use it, and the product gets traction. Users ask for improvements and new features, and the software begins to grow. The developers add new layers of code. Maybe they are even new developers, hired to keep up with the success of the solution. Every now and then, someone wants to leave a footprint on the product, so new pieces are added. Even if they weren’t asked for.
All works fine until, all of a sudden it doesn’t. It may be because a new competitor enters the arena disrupting the game. Or something turns the industry upside down. Or maybe it’s just a nasty bug that compromises the whole product. Whatever the reason, a radical change to the core of the product would be needed. The problem is that there are so many layers that nobody knows what to do. They all worried that even the slightest change, would crumble everything.
Some stick to what they have until they slowly become irrelevant. Others rebuild everything from scratch because it’s easier than changing what is.
My feeling is that something similar happens to people. While we climb the ladder of success, moving forward in our career, we add layers over layers. Success and failures, experiences, knowledge, skills. We keep adding following a linear path. Until something disrupts our journey to the top, or maybe we get to that top, and we discover that our core is covered by so many layers, we can barely remember who we are.
I guess it happened to me at least once or twice. Likely for me, I always found people who helped me clear out all those layers and see what wanted to emerge from my core.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” — Heraclitus
I would like to write something new, fresh, and original every morning.
I really do.
But it’s tough for a few reasons.
To start with, after more than 700 posts I can’t really remember everything I wrote about. The first post is more than three years old.
Plus, I have some recurring themes that are close to my heart towards which I’m easily dragged.
And finally, inspiration floats. There are days in which my fingers can barely keep the pace of the words flowing out of my heads. Other days in which I have to really dig out or use some tricks to put together a decent post.
So, some days I’m worried about repeating myself.
Have I already share this? Haven’t I wrote about this a few months back?
And I do repeat myself. I think it’s unavoidable. But I’ve also learned that I changed with every post that I write. The person who publishes the article is not the same who started writing it.
It’s a tiny difference. So small that it’s almost imperceptible, yet it’s there.
So, even if I repeat myself, as Heraclitus said, I’m not the same person.
A few months ago, while I was surfing the web, looking for real stories about mentoring, I found this lengthy article titled, “The Most Famous Reverse Mentoring Story in History” by Peter Gregoire.
It’s a great piece of writing, absolutely worth 10 minutes of your precious attention.
In short, it’s the story of how a teenager named Betsy, driven by her innocent irreverence and her candid curiosity, helped Napoleone transform his exile into an opportunity.
I love this story from the day I read it. Not only is a compelling example of the power of reverse mentoring. It also shows the potential that we can unlock if we connect with human beings behind and beyond the roles or positions they may have in society.
These days, this story resonates even more.
Aren’t we all experiencing a sort of exile? Our houses turned into many tiny islands of St. Helena. Separated, at least physically, from the rest of the world.
So I was thinking, who can be my Betsy in this exile? What are the open, innocent and challenging questions she would ask? What would throw me off balance but also rejuvenated and re-energize my mind and spirit?
Maybe my inner child asking things such as “Are you having fun? Why are you doing that?”
This is going to be an interesting conversation.
I had a lot of time to think this morning. My alarm went off at 5 am but my body refused to move until 8. It wasn’t really thinking to be honest. It was more like walking on the thin line between the wakeful and the dreaming state. As if my body, mind and soul were trying to find a fleeting alignment.
When I finally woke up, that feeling of disconnection was still there.
A disconnection between what I feel, what I think, and what I do.
So, I sat on my couch in silence, and I picked a Be The Change card to guide my recentering. And the card in an invitation to “renewing the relationships that are already there“.
And in my morning recentering the way forward emerged.
Somehow, I convinced myself that I needed to be whole and centred, to nourish my connections with others. But what if it works the other way round? What if it is through nurturing and strengthening my relationships that I can find my center?