We pack our early years with schooling and then often let our learning muscles get a little out of shape. (And then you have to learn PowerPoint, uh-oh.) Life has a tendency to provide us with plenty of opportunities that reinforce lessons we have previously learned, if we are paying attention. I had two chances last week, that I noticed.
I like the idea of mindfulness, but it just isn’t possible to practice 24/7 – if you have found a way, please share. I probably missed a few things that I saw as mundane at the time and not something with more substance. And I am usually in the mindset to look for depth, patterns and opportunity. Do you remember to look beyond, or deeper into the immediate task sometimes?
An important role for a leader is to help people recognize their own abilities to resolve situations and to provide tools and space to practice these skills. I’m deep in learning mode right now, there are many things that I don’t know in detail. My team knows the details and it is my responsibility to make sure that they have what they need to complete the tasks and keep things moving. My responsibility is to offer alternatives to keep things moving, and encourage.
Being prepared means many things – practicing, familiarizing, and centering. I had a chance to do a speech for Toastmasters in an unfamiliar space. I had the speech itself cold (although I hadn’t practiced some changes well enough and left them out) but I didn’t take an opportunity to go stand up at the front and familiarize myself with the space.
I know better, we spent plenty of time on blocking (figuring out where to stand and move in a scene) in my theater days. Blocking will change based on the space that you are working in, so in theater we block in the practice space and re-block once we move to the stage. If we do a good job, we won’t look awkward when we have an audience. I probably had some awkward moments in my speech that could have been avoided if I had just gone up to the front of the hall when I got there.
Then there is centering – taking that moment to get right in the head. Don’t do it at your peril. Do it half-way and pay the consequences. This is particularly a lesson that many of us have to relearn, sometimes daily. I did it half-way.
It was a mistake, that impression that many of us got in school that lessons only had to be repeated if we weren’t smart enough. Repeat lessons come along to give us an opportunity to refocus, that’s all. A chance to improve.
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