WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT AT THE MOMENT?

 

E80pxtreeven if resolutions are not your thing, there’s still that feeling in January of wanting to get everything a bit clearer. What were the objectives again? What were we aiming for? What did we say we’d do?

So, a spate of briefings.

Several times over the last few days I’ve listened to teams, or individuals tell me what they want to happen as they look at the year ahead.

Here are the objectives, here are how we will measure them. You know the drill.
But whether big changes or little changes, the conversations have all had something in common.

Everyone’s been telling the outsider, me, what they want me to know, and do.
And then ….sort of drifting off, in a questioning way, half way through.   Truly, it’s happened 3 times in the last week, and with really smart people.  I wondered whether it might be the heating levels? Insomnia? New babies? Boredom? Or a sci-fi story come to life and I’ve actually been listening to myself?  Not sure, but I think this is what’s happening.

You know that feeling of hearing more when you get yourself into real listening mode? Of hearing the meaning behind the words?  At the best of times there’s a bit of a difference, especially in the work environment, between the words and the meaning.

The break over Christmas and New Year was a bit longer this time. (How many Boxing Days did we have?)  A bit longer to be exposed to the reality of family life, or floods, or hangovers.  That gap (I admit you do really have to be listening) between what another person is telling you and what they really want to say has been affected by this longer exposure to reality.

I think everyone is taking a bit longer to get back into business speak.

Hope it lasts.

There’s a little window to have some real conversations. A sort of January reality magic time.

To make best use of it, I recommend starting these sorts of clearing and briefing meetings with a question that’ll help everyone say what they really want to say. No, not ’what are objectives’.

Just ‘What are you thinking about at the moment?’

LIGHT FROM DARK

Penny Hunt and Change Chemistry logo imageA contrarian café today. The corners are light and bright. The window seats are dark. The espresso sparkles. The latte droops. Nothing is as it should be. Or is it?

A dark thought, then a laugh. A really dark thought. Addiction.

To the jolly, convivial, comforting familiar, enabling, ritual of coffee and its amazing power to shrug off the guilt and remorse that cling to other lovely consumables.

As substance abuse side effects go, insomnia is an interesting cookie to crumble.

Insomnia image - Penny Hunt's blog on the surprising benefits of loosing sleep

Let me convert you. Let me suggest that taking
an opposite view, just for fun, will yield something of value. Let me suggest that what seems bad may be good.

In the spirit of things not being as they seem: is a night’s sleep of an uninterrupted 8 hours absolutely the best and only sleep pattern for us? The World Service reported a while back on the loss (I heard the programme during the night of course) of a ‘two sleeps’ pattern that had been common until the late 17th century. Imagine. No panic. Permission not to agonise. Just wake up after 3 or 4 hours, have a potter about, write a bit of a diary, chat to the family and then back for another little sleep.

Normals.

Or in today’s world, send those texts that were bothering you, find that address you were looking for, watch that bit of The Bridge you missed and then just shimmy back to bed. It’s all here for you:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783

So many possibilities when a familiar truth is reframed: just by embracing an opposite viewpoint, just by letting a dark thing be a light thing.

An undreamed of benefit of staying awake in the middle of the night- this between sleeps time- is the changed quality of experience. It is not just the pleasure of the radio, but its heightened weirdness as the brain chunters A 1950s radio - Penny Hunt and the pleasure of late night listeningalong on over-drive. Insomnia delivers a Through the Looking Glass vividness to sound in the middle of the night.

I’ll share an example of an unexpected gift. This nighttime joke changed the following day beautifully. It encouraged me do the precise opposite of what was expected, to swap goods and bads, to zig not zag, and be in a generally contrarian place the whole jolly day. It was wonderful, productive and a great creativity boost.

Radio 4 Extra was whispering that night: Lord Peter Wimsy, Wilkie Collins, Mark Gatiss all danced through the small hours.

And then – a familiar voice.

Eric Morecombe?

Was it a trailer? What was happening? An unfamiliar sketch was rumbling along. Eric was apparently pretending, as he impressed another character, to belong to a local church.

The lie got bigger. Perhaps he was actually … the Vicar?

Then a challenge:

“But I don’t recall seeing you there on Sundays”

And our lovely Eric made the heroically contrarian response-

“ Oh, I tend to go on Saturdays: fewer people”.

And if that isn’t a little light coming out of some darkness and worth a sleepless night or two, I don’t know what is.

Light from Dark -  Penny hunt's blog

www.changechemistry.com