I am a bundle of insecurity today — old luggage that occasionally resurfaces. It is one of those days that I read too much into things people say, and don’t say. Creating monsters where none exist. I begin my day at my home office writing quietly and in spite of my discarded luggage making an appearance I manage to do some good writing. I had to remind myself to trust my skills and abilities — to give myself space to think slowly and carefully, to not jump to familiar ways of thinking to readily. I have to let it be messy and unstructured as I search for connections between ideas, instincts, and thoughts.
My colleagues and I are writing the draft report for a lovely community planning their future. The process of understanding a vast amount of data collected from hundreds and people, and the making sense of it can be daunting. What is the difference between and theme and a value and a vision and an action step? When does an often repeated desire become an action, or should it be a theme? How can I be true to the voices I heard without imposing a structure that forces a specific way of thinking? Over and over and around and around I went, getting closer with each minute and every discussion with colleagues. In the end I think I’ve arrived at something useful. Whether I’m convinced it’s the right balance is another matter. It is another step. Tomorrow I’ll reopen the documents and discover if sense is less illusive. I need to be sure that I’m not imposing a structure that doesn’t exist. My caution is absolutely imperative.
To craft a brief document that assists the community in their own change process, and reflects back to them their thoughts in a clear and helpful way, is to say the least an interesting task. Change is complex, but we do know that we move, each of us, in the direction of our dialogue, internal or otherwise, as do communities and organizations. So the question then becomes how can a community create the kind of dialogue that would help to move themselves into a future that they desire? What they talk about (the themes) will lead to their reality. Themes in that sense become the epicentre of dialogue, and dialogue becomes the epicentre of change. From this understanding of change spills the actions. Values chose what the dialogue is about to be; we talk about the things that we value. Seems simple enough.
First thing this morning my friend Janice calls and within seconds we are talking about the nature of complexity and change. How change is happening so fast around us that we barely have time to adapt before the next thing is upon us. It seems I’ve spent the whole day thinking about change and I like the discoveries of the day. It’s no less complicated but at the same time it reminds me that we can determine our futures by participating in honest and open dialogue with ourselves and those around us.
This morning I dialogue with myself and discover that the monsters aren’t really there, I’m loved by others, and can trust myself. My insecurity wanes.
What will happen in the community we are working for as they continue their great community dialogue with themselves?