Category Archives: Learnings

Finding A Place For My Hammock

In 2015 I came across this photo of Richard Branson lying in a hammock, on his phone, working…

Click on image to go to source

He has written about it a few times, here is an article, and it’s interesting that he notes that in the UK people don’t take leave, opting instead to remain in the office. Now, for me, that would lead to an unbalanced life.

I printed that photo and stuck it up in a place that I would look at various times a day. At the time I was working in a corporate, and it represented for me a change that I wanted to make in my life.

I wanted a more balanced life, one where I could work where I wanted when I wanted.

My dissatisfaction led me to write this article, and it was not long after that that I began working for the company I am with now. I have no office I go to – I’m either at a client, or I am at home. Or travelling.

My work has taken me to Berlin, Portugal, Barcelona, beautiful parts of the country I live in, Belgium and Thailand.

So, I pretty much can work where I want (no office to go to, yay!), the first part is done with a good level of satisfaction.

What I do now is the only work I know that I can take my wax crayons to work to create posters of information that help people integrate the learning a lot faster than powerpoint slides. Like this poster I created to explain Lean Thinking:

Lean Thinking explained in pictures
©2018 Regina Martins

I’m now working on the second part…the part about working when I want :-). This is proving to be a bit more challenging because it means having to let go of salary certainty and embracing uncertainty and risk.

Not my image, click to go to source

This will come I know. I just need to stop obsessing about it and enjoy the present. In the meantime, I still have that photo up where I can look at it several times a day.

Here are 4 different ways that help me deal with uncertainty:

  1. Meditation – it helps me focus on the present and deal with stress and anxiety. I’m not doing nearly enough meditation.
  2. Adaptive action – taking just one move at a time while keeping a view of the big picture, much like playing chess. Just decide on what my next wise move is and focus on that because that leads me to my next wise move and so on. That way I remain adaptive to change.
  3. Nature – being in nature grounds me and helps me keep my balance. I don’t get out to nature often enough. Sometimes just having the doors and windows open, letting the outside in and enjoying the sounds of the birds singing is enough to tide me over until I can get out into the countryside.
  4. Journaling – writing, journaling, reflecting on my inner thoughts. This helps me see clarity, usually not in the moment of writing, but later. The act of putting thoughts down on paper is therapy in itself. Journaling doesn’t have to be long descriptive narratives. Sometimes all I have time and energy for are bullet points, and that’s ok.
Click on image for source

Here’s to being comfortable with uncertainty, open to infinite possibilities, so that I can find a place for my hammock.

 

Don’t Complete The Puzzle!

Don’t complete the puzzle! So says Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink, The Tipping Point and countless New Yorker articles.

If you’ve read any of his books or articles you’ll know what he means. A perfect argument is too obvious and boring and doesn’t engage people. Maybe the first 3 paragraphs will, but that’s as far as people will get before moving on to another article.

I can attest to this – the article has got to grab me in the first paragraph, never mind 3, for me to stay with it. I need some large puzzle pieces to be left for me to figure out where they’ll fit.

I began Malcolm Gladwell’s Writing Masterclass this week. He’s an incredible storyteller, and demonstrates the imperfect narrative in his stories, as he meanders from one story to the next until, finally, he comes full circle to where he began only to leave the listener, or reader with an open-ending, for the listener, or reader, to figure out for themselves.

This is irritating but it’s what keeps people talking about the article long after they’ve finished reading it, trying to put the puzzle pieces together. Humans love puzzles because we have a need for things to fit just so, but life isn’t always a neat puzzle.

So the key to memorable writing is to write an incomplete puzzle, an imperfect narrative that draws people in and keeps them talking long after they’re done with it as they try to solve it and make it fit just so.

 

Nothing Is Intractable When You Learn To Collaborate

As I sit here, in the growing dusk listening to a Buddhist Evening Chant, I’m reflecting at the length of time since I last posted. I spent the better part of this year engaging in 2 learning opportunities and I prioritised these over blogging. The time I dedicated to study and praxis were rewarding and I am honoured to say that I’m a  Human Systems Dynamics Professional  and a Certified Radical Collaboration®  Trainer. I’m so excited about both of these – my training and consulting are becoming more strategic, and these are 2 potent disciplines to have. Let me tell you a bit about them.

Nothing is intractable! This is the tagline of Human Systems Dynamics, a simple yet powerful discipline based on complexity science and chaos theory that allows you to see patterns in chaos and complexity to help you better understand your wicked problems and determine your next wise move. The world we move in is increasingly complex and the methods, ways of working and solutions of the last century are no longer relevant, or even enough, to successfully navigate today. This applies in any sphere – education, healthcare, business, peace processes, building networks and coalitions, and much more. Many of my cohort peers were medical professionals now engaged in educating other medical professionals.

Knowing how to build collaborative relationships is an essential skill to have in complex environments when you don’t know what you don’t know until you know it. This is where Radical Collaboration® comes in.  I did the 3-day course in January in Ghent, Belgium, and decided that I wanted to teach and coach people to build collaborative skills, and decided the certify as a trainer myself.

Jim Tamm, one of the creators, explains that the key to building collaboration is by reducing defensiveness – this is the fundamental difference of this program. He talks about this in his TEDx Talk and what we can learn from groups of chickens…

So I hope you’ll forgive me for the radio silence. I aim to make up for it – I have loads to tell about Belgium and Thailand. Stay tuned.


If you want to know more about Human Systems Dynamics and Radical Collaboration® please pop me a message.


Feature pic is of yours truly, during one of the rest periods of the intense Radical Collaboration® trainer certification course.

 

The Artful Facilitator Programme

There’s a good reason for my absence from Wide Eyed In Wonder…I’ve been working with a partner on The Artful Facilitator programme which is launching in Johannesburg on August 15th. I’m so excited about it because it’s rather special – it’s meant to be an immersive experience, rather than just a dry contextless training that people won’t apply back at work.

Have you ever been in a session which has sucked all your energy because it’s been aimless? I know I have. Sessions where people have been on their laptops or checking email on their phones…not paying attention to the proceedings.

Then, of course, there is that one person who dominates the session, their voice louder than the rest. What about those sessions where everyone is in love with the shape of the problem and spend hours talking about it without moving into action before the time allotted to the session is over.  When people realise this they decide to have another session to make some decisions…or they rush through actions which haven’t been well thought through.

An artful facilitator can steer sessions to better outcomes, help generate new ideas and grow trust, collaboration and accountability.

agile42’s designer did a beautiful job on the brochure – isn’t it wonderful?

Well, that’s my sales spiel. I know that there’s a good chance that you don’t live anywhere close to Johannesburg, or South Africa for that matter. But it feels good to share this with you.

Cheers for now.

Regina