Time and Space

It just seems like the other day that I wrote my last blog here – it’s not that long ago – 14 days to be precise, but some of the content seems decidedly out-of-date. The joys of politics. One day it’s incredibly important, now we can’t even remember what it’s about or why it mattered. Soon we’ll have a new super-city mayor. Let’s call him Mr B. Mr B will be in a hurry. You can see him now rushing around the region, shaking hands, promising this and that, smiling at babies. Time will be of the essence.

Three years from now he’ll be giving it another shot so the first two years will seem important. Build this, make that work, fix that. Where will we be? Probably working, enjoying our families, working out. I’ll be running still, I hope and reading lots of books. I’ll enter my sixth decade (that’s a frightening way to say you’ll be 50!).  If you start now, you could finish an MBA or some undergraduate degrees. You could learn to play the piano, learn to fly (no, not that, an aeroplane) or train to run a marathon. If I keep up doing this, I should have about 200 blog entries under the belt.

Quite a few new humans will be born and most of them will be walking by the time comes for Mr B. to put himself up for re-election. A few less of us will die and be remembered, mostly for a relatively short period by a relatively few number of people.

When I look back over the last three years, they’ve been big. Huge even. Maybe I should have taken up the violin again and learned to play it again. I watched the movie The Concert on Tuesday and pondered the thought, and that I still own my violin from decades ago. If I’d started three years ago, then I might be not too bad. But there was never time – family, work, running, movies, my house blah blah. If I started now, then I could play a tune for Mr B. next time around. Or the other Mr B. Or both even.

So time, yesterday it was David Garrett, this morning it’s Paul Henry, this afternoon Chris Carter and tomorrow it’ll be Mr B. Time will drag us through space while stuff goes on around us. The time will pass whatever we do. Where we are now is millions of miles from where we will be in three years. Will it feel different? Possibly not, the universe has lots of space that we can fit in ,and not feel it’s any different than the last space. So if we don’t notice the space, will we notice the time?

I hope so. In the time it took to read this blog you’re in a different space, hurtling through the universe. Look back in what you did in that space. Well actually thanks for spending it here. What about the space over the next three years. Infinite. Time too. Enjoy.

Stephen

Looking down?

Bounding into the hotel this morning on my way to present to the Senior Executive Assistant Roundtable this morning the person walking towards me suddenly stopped, turned away and looked down, frantically texting. The person had been in a dispute I was involved in which, although settled a long time ago, had resulted in some silly stuff fired at my direction for a while after.

The women (yes all women) of the  Senior EA Roundtable were in good form. When you’re running a concurrent session you know people have a choice so it’s great when at least someone turns up! Actually we had lots turn up to hear about personal leadership and management.

We discovered that we all have different core values but there was quite a lot of commonality – family, integrity, freedom and honesty were a sample – and that it can be helpful to take into account someone else’s value when communicating with them. In fact it’s everything – treating others as they wish to be treated.

It just happened to be there in the paper – the pictures from the CCV camera of the woman stroking then dumping the cat into the wheelie bin  – and so we had a talk about that too. What sort of person would so such a thing!?  A cat hater? A psychopath? Maybe he did his business on the woman’s lawn? Whatever was the answer we learned that we can’t always anticipate why people do stuff unless we know about them. In the middle of the room, I suddenly completely and absolutely lost my train of thought. Mindfulness is such an important component of personal leadership – you know what it’s like when you’re in a meeting and someone is texting. Sometimes managers talk about this but Colleen today made it clear and present for me – it’s about respect. Yes that’s it, not hard at all.

And so we moved onto conflict – speaking to the other person’s values, commending, recommending and then commending. The group shared experiences and we heard some great examples of how to communicate powerfully.

As I type this there’s a young woman on the TV who drove drunk and killed the mother of the young man seated next to her.  He has forgiven her and they plan to give talks together. Two young people role modelling what grown ups in business struggle with.

Is your head held high? There’s no use putting your head down if there’s difficult stuff to do. Maybe you’re just not present or maybe you’re hiding. Either way if you interact with others you’ll need to be there. And when you’re there, do they know you? I told the group where my folks lived (you had to be there!), so I hope Mum and Dad don’t mind the occasional visitor! The greatest gift you can give.  Be present. Be yourself.

Let the search stop

In my massage therapist rooms there is a sign “cherish yesterday, dream tomorrow, enjoy today”. If you believe the police then we all drove a little slower over the weekend. Look around as you drive to work. There’s some pretty serious people heading someone in one hell of a rush doing this, doing that. Sometimes I wonder if I had such an important job as these people have, whether I’d be up for it. I’m not sure I’d ever find what I was supposed to be searching for – or that’s what it looks like.

It’s not just at work either – with tweeting, I’m learning that there’s some manic activity to be completed at home too (I’m guilty of cleaning the fish tank at midnight occasionally, because, well I dunno, it just had to be done then!).

Leadership is about results right? So that means doing lots of stuff, now? What stuff? Are you filling your morning, your day, your week, your month, your year and your life with activity to complete something? What thing? Is anybody really noticing?

I reflected over the weekend about having held my driving licence for 32 years and realised I’m driving slower lately. Not ‘cos the cops have told me (okay, a little bit, I really don’t want a speeding ticket) but because I can. I’m enjoying the moment. That moment of leadership which inspires someone to excel, to grow, to challenge their team can happen today. In fact it will if you’re there. Do you find yourself thinking “on reflection that was an amazing development back there in June 2010”? Being there now might be pretty special. In fact you might need to be there for it to actually happen.

Where is the leader? Searching forward, occasionally looking back at something missed or…pause… looking around….. now?

Don’t just have a full mind, make yours a mindful one too.

Stephen

ps a massage is great for resilience and mindfulness – I go here