New Year resolutions/thanks


January 2nd, 2008

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately where New Year resolutions / intentions / aspirations and the like are discussed. There’s been a lot of reflection of the past year too. Not surprisingly given that the calendar has just clicked over to a whole new year bringing with it the opportunity to stop and reflect, regroup and maybe even contemplate the future.

I’m not good at reflecting. I’m just too much attune to  ‘when it’s over, it’s over’ and I’m trying to live more in the present, so reflecting is too much like going backwards. I think I’ve probably internalised my learnings, parked them in my subconscious and, when needed, I’ll draw on them.

I wonder if reflecting is more of a cold-weather-short-days-dark-outside activity? Maybe not. Lying on the beach, sun-hat firmly in place, hearing the sounds of the southern Aussie summer (blowflies, waves, kids calling, seagulls screeching) and smelling summer (salt, sun-screen, Aerogard) is as good a place as any for any reflecting and pondering I might do.

I’ve taken Steve Shapiro’s advice and have come up with two intentions for 2008  – be adventurous and let go. They are very closely related. Being adventurous is about jumping in, having a go, doing something and letting go of my need to know – in advance – that it will be successful and that I’ll be competent. I want to live by the improvisational maxims to ‘be average’ and ‘celebrate failure’. I want to let go of expectations – mine and others’. And if something’s not working, I’ll stop it. Many years ago I read an article in New Scientist about the Sunk Cost Fallacy and the tendency for humans (cf animals) to not know when to call it quits – to put too much importance on what has already been invested. Which leads neatly to another improvisational maxim about living in ‘the moment’ – not worrying about what went before and not worrying either about what might happen. Living in the moment, what Harrison Owen calls ‘now’ is linked to letting go. I’ll try and do more letting go, more living in the moment and be more adventurous. And what all this is saying to me is to continue to strive to live more by Open Space Principles, AND be more adventurous – be prepared to be surprised! 

I’ve also noticed that many bloggers use this time of year to acknowledge people. Here’s a few people I’d like to acknowledge and why.
Pete – for giving me space to do what I do and always being there for me
Nic – for teaching me about appreciative comments and for her ongoing faith in my abilities
Vera – for being the best client EVER (how many others would say ‘I trust you completely – do whatever you think is necessary’?) and for being a great friend
Anne – for pushing, cajoling, encouraging, supporting and challenging
Lenny, BJ and Tim – for a great collaboration experience and for expanding my understanding of post-traumatic facilitation
Antony – for his wisdom and friendship, and for further expanding my understanding of action methods in general, and difficult conversations, in particular
Script Bare – to everyone in my local community who has turned up to our local improv workshops and Script Bare performances for the games, the laughter and the fun
Jen – for suggesting I take one day a week off from face-to-face work and meetings (and I do!)
Fiona – for great companionship, conversation and work challenges
Mark – for asking the great question ‘how on earth do you explain to people back home what you do?’ while travelling in rural Armenia on a bus – and for giving me a good explanation of Armenian culture and politics
Victor – the Kenyan shop assistant who went to amazing lengths to get me a battery charger for my camera just before I embarked on a 3-day Masai Mara safari
Sue – who made the work in Uganda so enjoyable, asked insightful questions and shared G & Ts at the end of the day
Simo – for his insight, demonstrations and explanations of status – and for the laughs and companionship
You – for visiting and reading my blog. You may not know it, but you influence what I write and how I say it. Thanks. Happy New Year!

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