S01E04: Falling upwards — Resistance isn’t futile

Three is the magic number but I am number 4. This week I’ve been resisting and resilient — in other words, falling upwards. So let’s get to it.

Resistance isn’t futile

This week has been one of personal and professional growth for me. I wrote about not doing something that was in my power to do. Establishing personal boundaries has always been tricky, causing a great deal of anxiety. To do so with calm and clarity felt like a milestone.

What exactly have I been resisting? There’s a lot going on right now: a global pandemic, the long post-COVID recovery, living at work and more. Turning down offers that don’t help me heal or thrive is necessary. I’m resisting activism that I can’t commit to right now, collaborations that put me on a different path, and offers of consultancy work, which while exciting, are out of scope of my current focus.

Resistance is just one part of taking care of yourself, establishing boundaries and saying “no more”.

Resilience through agility

One of my areas of focus is: “How might we keep pace with the world as a ‘designed organisation’ that learns together?” This week I worked through this thread by focusing on personal agility and my comfort zone as a leader.

Last week I mentioned I want to grow as the owner of a portfolio of services that provides insight to the organisation. This week I took the time to work out what that means to me. What do I know, what am I assuming, what don’t I know, using my Trello Knowledge Board Template .

I followed this up with some concrete actions and a learning plan, including booking onto Lou Downe’s Good Services Masterclasses and acquiring my own shiny copy of their book: Good Services.

Remember I mentioned giving good feedback in a pandemic? I practiced regularly this week and it went from initially awkward to intuitive in no time at all. By the end of the week, I learnt that thanking not just people who work with me, but those who I work for and really everyone who’s helped me, specifically and in a concrete way, did wonders for my mental health. Akin to the gratitude attitude perhaps?

Finally, I learnt a huge deal as part of Common Purpose’s personal agility session on Friday — part of the #TalkLeadership series. I’m still digesting the session, here’s some highlights:

  1. “We create our own bubbles” which reminded me to republish Bursting out of the data bubble.
  2. The world is nuanced — as leaders we have to be able to understand that and cross all sorts of boundaries.
  3. Agile leadership requires the humility to ask for help, the growth mindset to learn from feedback, the wariness to check your assumptions and the courage to deviate from your normal approach when you need to.
  4. We’re like elastic bands, will we snap back into old ways of working?
  5. “Culture drift”.
  6. ‘One size fits one’ — the future is about the individual within the system.
  7. Simplicity is the hardest value to crack.
  8. We are in an innovation soufflé, what can we do to prevent its collapse?
  9. People gel well behind a purpose but you must earn their trust through consistency.
  10. We have common problems, different lenses — same storm, different boats.

This quote from Alvin Toffler pulls all of this together: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Signing off

I’m on annual leave for most of next week. Stay safe and take care of yourselves.

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