Showing posts from January, 2017

How to grow through conversation

When was the last time you sat down for a really great conversation with someone you didn't know well?

We know that conversations help people find the ideas that lead to innovation. There are examples in every field of people coming together to talk about ideas and information and then going away to make change happen. While you might spend lots of time locked away alone to develop an idea, ideas are generated in connections and conversations.

Here are three things I think are critical if you want to have the kind of conversations that grow new and useful ideas:

Listen more than you talk. The value is not in hearing your own ideas, but in allowing ideas to form as you connect with new ideas and new people. Engage difference. This means finding people you can't predict because you don't already know what and how they think. Follow your curiosity. Most people want to get to the point too quickly: if you want to have new thoughts, you won't recognize the "point"…

A picture can remind you who you want to be

This is a picture of Long Beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It reminds me of who I want to be when I am tired or stressed or muddled. As I look at it, I begin to feel the sand under my shoes (it's too cold for bare feet) and hear the waves and to breath with the movement of the water and the mist. When I want my thinking to be cool and clear and full of movement, this picture reminds me that I know how to think that way.

It's easy to connect what we see to what we feel because that's how we experience vision. We look at something outside us and the feeling lands in our bones and our breath. If I looked at a picture of me on the beach, I would see the self on the beach as different than the self looking at the picture. When I was on the beach, I wasn't seeing me so seeing me doesn't take me back into the moment as clearly as this picture does. This is what I was seeing when my breath was deep and my stride was comfortable and curious.

The same thing is t…

January: Fresh Start or Tired, Cold and Grumpy?

Sometimes you wake from a deep sleep and for a moment, you don't know where or when you are. If you woke up that way today, what clues in your thoughts and perceptions would let you know that it is January?

As much as we talk as if the holidays leave us energized and eager for the new year, I suspect that's not what most of us experience. I suspect that many of us wake from the holidays feeling a little tired, a little scattered, and ready to be more persistent than inspired. We've probably been through some emotional ups and downs and if we live in Canada (where I'm writing this), it's cold outside and we go to work and return from work in the dark. Even if you love winter sports, winter work is a bit of a hard sell.

If you want fresh energy for a new year, you'll have to work for it. We worked for it this weekend when we sat at the tables above to explore how to learn and adapt. Here are some of the things that made it easier to generate fresh thoughts for t…