For an hour in the ICE Stuttgart - Essen. Laptop in front of me, with no idea what I could inspire you with in my blog this time. Yes, I am stressed. Why? Three days of the German Speakers Association (GSA) Convention. Days full of input, lots of talks, self-promotion and nights full of parties. I am tired. I want to enjoy a relaxing train ride home. And just as I'm settling in comfortably with my coffee in the compartment, a thought pops into my head: Submitting my column for as IT-Spektrum. Tomorrow. Tadaaa. Ciao relaxation! Hello Stuck.
There, now I feel better. Freer. Calmer. And the writing flow starts again. We do this far too seldom: Say what's going on and how we're feeling right now. So really going-and saying. Instead, we are busy maintaining our role and keep the "professional" mask on. Because what might others think if I admit to not knowing or being able to do something right now? This triggers deepest primal patterns in us: Loss of face. Fear of criticism, rejection and exclusion. Unfortunately, this not only eats up a lot of personal energy, but also produces quite strange blossoms that we know only too well in everyday life: Meetings full of excuses, evasions, empty words without content or solution. Smoldering conflicts, silences, strange looks in the coffee kitchen. Advance "arguments" in dailies, review meetings and the like.
We underestimate how clarifying and good it feels to simply address what's in the room and how you're feeling right now. In trainings, workshops and consulting, we call this "as ising" - simply addressing what is. The exciting thing about this is that most of the time others have the same thought or a similar perception and are grateful when it is addressed.
My charming wife told me the other day about the parents' evening at school: an unbearably lengthy election procedure for the class guardians. Standard routines. My wife was burning under the nails about another topic: the "working hours" of the children from grade 10. With 8 to 10 hours until 3, 4, 5 p.m., there is just a 20-minute lunch break. From 12 o'clock, another 5 minutes between each subject. She addressed. The issue was dismissed as unchangeable, the moderator continued, no one commented. Afterwards, outside, the feedback from various parents: "Thank you for saying that, that was the most important topic of the evening, I agree".
Mind-boggling day-to-day business
It's actually insane how much resources are wasted in all the meetings, zooms and conversations. There's a lot of larking about, taking refuge in standard routines, all in order to avoid addressing the pink elephant. And the cost and effort ticker runs along with it.
Sure, it takes courage and guts to address things. And sometimes it doesn't work out. I also catch myself having an impulse and not raising my hand, not saying anything. But I don't want to let myself get away with that either, and I practice, practice, practice. Because I think "as ising" can be established as part of an appreciative, solution-oriented attitude - and we can all certainly get better at that.
With this in mind, why don't you address what's in the room anyway, and be amazed at how this point resolves itself. I will now relax the rest of the train ride.