Everyday wisdom

May 26th, 2010

One of the things I love about reading blogs and tweets is the everyday wisdom that emerges. You lot inspire me. Here’s some recent favourites:

When you are standing on the edge of a cliff, a step forward is not progress. – Anonymous (from Tom Atlee’s web site)

We do make waves…sometimes intentionally and sometimes in spite of our best intentions. Think of the poor trader who pushed the wrong button and dropped the stock market 1000 points. Now that is a wave! But it was also a wave amongst many — like the meltdown in Greece. Our waves coalesce with all the rest creating new patterns and new waves. At the end of the day it is not about “my wave” or “your wave” — but riding the waves in our part of the pond. I think. – Harrison Owen

Conversation is the way that humans have always thought together.  In conversation we discover shared meaning. And:  To change the conversation, change who is in the conversation. – Meg Wheatley (from Chris Corrigan)

Ideas are not the problem. Getting clear about what we really care about so we actually want to act on an idea – that may be more of a challenge.Johnnie Moore

In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go? – Siddhartha Gautama (from Patti Digh)

Intoxicated? Yes!

March 18th, 2010

This is Hugh MacLeod’s latest cartoon, and this is how he describes it:

That heady moment when you realize that all the potential that you knew was there, was just the tip of what could be an unfathomably large iceberg?

Love, Life, Enterprise, Discovery? Its one of those powerful moments which don’t come that often, but can profoundly affect us.

Yes, indeed. I am fortunate to feel intoxicated by possibility as I explore, well, possibilities.


March 14th, 2010

Yesterday I had afternoon tea with the girls – champagne, asparagus rolls, scones, cupcakes – in other words, the works. It was a pleasant and diverting way to spend a Saturday afternoon. We even had proper china tea cups and matching plates, a lace tablecloth and little silver tongs to pick up small cubes of sugar.  Our host had bid for the occasion at a charity dinner and invited us to share in the delights.

It was a different world in the days when this sort of afternoon tea was more common. No-one would deny that. Yet when it comes to work we still hear the mantra to work harder, produce more. Measure the output. Be clear about outcomes. Pull the lever faster, produce more. Problem is, just like we’re not indulging in long afternoon teas so much, we’re not producing so many ‘things’ any more – a lot of work is knowledge work, thinking, engaging with others, generating ideas and solutions. Asking us to think harder is just silly.

We seem to be in the midst of this transition – no longer in an industrial era where being efficient and measuring output made sense, and not yet in whatever new era we’re entering. Stuck, hanging onto the past and not yet embracing the present. And as long as we hang there, stuck between the past and the present we lose momentum.

Momentum is what propels us forward. And for me the way to maintain momentum is to play. Play with new technologies, keep the ones I like, discard the others; play with ideas; play with different ways of working – indeed, play with different people. And I use the word play deliberately. It’s not a planned approach, there’s no system, no check boxes. It is random, it is opportunistic, and it is fun and engaging. It’s a journey of discovery. I’m trying to learn how to live in the world as it is, not as it was. It’s not without its frustrations, dead-ends and miss-hits. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m having fun despite the pace of change, the uncertainty and the uneasy sense of not really being able to keep up. How about you?


March 2nd, 2010

So I go to the US a few years back and meet New York based improviser and consultant Cathy Salit. Fast forward to this week and Cathy is in Australia to do a pilot of her Performance Of A Lifetime program with a client.

In the meantime, New Zealander Anne Pattillo and I do some work together, start a facilitation training business, write the odd manifesto together – you get the picture.

Cathy is in Melbourne for less than a week. As it happens Anne is also in town for a facilitation gig, and I’m just back from working overseas, so we squeeze in a lunch. Anne meets Cathy for the first time. We have a great lunch, lots of laughs, and go our separate ways.

The following day, Anne’s doing her gig at the Werribee Mansion – and at afternoon tea time looks across the hall at another group facilitated by, you guessed it, Cathy.

And while this is happening unbeknownst to me, a book arrives in the mail from the TED book club called Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler.

Oh, and it’s also a full moon!


March 2nd, 2010

Scoff if you want. Having criteria to decide what I do and don’t do is actually liberating. Yeah, I know – it’s totally out of character, I’m sure such discipline is not something you would generally attribute to me. Nonetheless, I’ve been applying my criteria – and that is harder than it sounds – and very happy when I do. I may be poorer (in a money way of measuring) but I am much richer in every other way.

Here they are again:

  • Can I make a real contribution? Is there a need for my skills? Will I make a difference?
  • Will it stretch me? Is it edgy? Will it contribute to my continued learning?
  • Is there an opportunity to build capacity, and transfer my skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to others?
  • Will it enable me to make money and provide for the future?
  • Is there an opportunity to travel to new or interesting places?
  • Will I be with cool people, especially friends? Will I potentially make new friends, and build existing relationships?
  • Will I have fun?
  • Am I excited by the prospect?

Four, or more, and it’s a yes!

Putting down your clever

November 26th, 2009

I’ve been reading lots of interesting blogs lately – and wanting to comment on them – and blocking myself by wanting to say something, oh, you know, clever or witty.

So I say nothing, and I lose an opportunity to connect, and to just say, thanks for writing this. So I’m going to consciously try to put down my clever and pick up my ordinary.

Hat tip: Lief Hansen

Time well spent

November 21st, 2009

Here’s some images from my recent trip to the US. I was there on holidays, and to attend the Applied Improv Conference in Portland, Oregon.


The highlights were the scenery, autumn colours, fresh snow, Yosemite (wow!), indulging my passion for photography, sharing the improv conference with my good friends Anne Pattillo, Geoff Brown and Chris Corrigan and the deepening friendships that develop from shared experiences, seeing Geoff and Chris improvise music on stage in Portland, and reconnecting with old friends. There were also some people I missed, and some new friendships forged, many ideas, time to reflect, laugh, and re-energise. Time well spent indeed.

Where’s Viv?

November 20th, 2009

Getting wet with good mates in OregonThis post is prompted by the question posed recently: “Has Viv dropped off the planet?”

Well, no… not really. I’ve been on holidays – that’s vacation in America-speak, so that accounts for me being quieter than usual in the blogosphere and elsewhere. I like being unavailable, off-line – although my partner would definitely disagree, saying I’m addicted to email and blogging and facebook and twitter and whatever else is going around.

But I guess there’s a bigger question than the obvious. And isn’t that what we facilitators do? Look for the question behind the question?

So to partly respond, I want to share my favourite Armando Diaz quote from the recent Applied Improv Conference at Portland. He said, “If you have a boring life, you’ll probably be a boring improvisor.”

So, I’m trying not to have a boring life!

And, yes, I have shifted my focus – from groups of people to individuals; from where I might be expected to show up to, well, anywhere else. And I’m looking for the latest iteration in my career. So if the question is “Has Viv dropped off the planet?” the answer might be “Nope, but she’s still looking.”


October 18th, 2009

IMG_0414I’ve written before about the flow of work and the seasons, and how my energy waxes and wanes according to the time of the year. This, and the  different time zones inhabited by my friends and colleagues, makes for some interesting connectedness – or not!

So I am very much looking forward to the next few weeks. A road trip holiday followed by my favourite conference for learning, being challenged, inspiration, lots of laughs and reconnecting with some great mates – the Applied Improvisation Conference in Portland, Oregon.

It’s this combo of  time-out and challenge, new experiences and familiarity, awe-inspiring nature and living simply, day-by-day with no plans, no itineraries, no-where in particular to be for three whole weeks, that best recharges my batteries. Top this off with a dose of improv and you have one happy Viv.

Things might be a bit quiet around here – or maybe not.

Off the air

October 2nd, 2009

Rock Balancing, Southside

I’ll be off the air for a week or so.

I expect to have many stories to tell on my return to the airwaves.

In the meantime, stay safe, wherever you are.

And so as you don’t forget me, here’s my latest rock balancing effort.