Last week was a rollercoaster of a week for various reasons. How global events relate to local circumstances was something many of us will have faced in our day to day lives, particularly last week. Embracing diversity, maintaining compassion and finding balance were all things I am personally striving to do. However, my three “things” are of a slightly different nature.
- The power of the observer
I am often reminded of this in my yoga practice where taking on the role of the observer is a kind way of acknowledging where you are, recognising limitations and reaching acceptance. I facilitated a Lego Serious Play session this week with SLT and taking on the role of the observer was really helpful in terms of running the session and creating a safe space where we could share our stories about possible futures for the university. I also find this helpful when I am chairing a meeting, as it enables me to listen more attentively and attempt to find a way through complex situations. I chaired Senate this week and there was considerable debate about some issues. Taking on the role of the observer, admittedly perhaps more in reflection rather than in the moment, has enabled me to think of some ways forward.
2. Getting into the ring
Brene Brown in Dare to Lead talks about how brave leaders get “into the arena”, put themselves forward and attempt to tackle challenges proactively, rather than “sitting in the cheap seats” lobbing problems at people without attempting to find solutions. I think it is always easy to critique and find fault with things that are happening, particularly in a professional context, however, it can be much harder to place oneself in the ring, show your vulnerability and attempt to seek solutions. If we stay outside the ring, we are often comfortable because we can point out the problems without giving ourselves away, but that is ultimately an unsatisfying position and does not actually help resolve anything. When we get into the ring all our insecurities and self doubts can arise, but we strive to make a difference and overcome the obstacles that is where our courage leads to learning, growth and achievement. I think there is another aspect to this which is about getting into the ring when it matters and accepting that there are things that you don’t have the energy or ability or time to change. If you are getting into the ring for many things, there are some things that you need to accept you can’t change, but you also don’t critique either! So it is also about choosing which arenas to enter – you choose the ones that matter.
3. Adjusting best laid plans
This was the weekend of changed plans. Storm Babet hit the UK and whilst fortunately not bad in London, caused devastation and tragedy in other parts of the country. The rail network was particularly badly hit. I had planned to travel to York on Friday but upon arriving at Kings Cross found all trains were cancelled. Saturday was also bad, so much so that Kings Cross station was closed it was so busy. We decided as a family that given we did not need to travel and were fortunate that we could stay safely at home, that we would not attempt to go to York and cancelled our trip. I felt strangely listless and unsettled Friday night into Saturday, partly with all the potential of the things I could do now I had time but didn’t really want to! We decided to go for a beautiful autumn walk on Sunday which was lovely and resulted in the purchase of a crazy talking skeleton for Halloween.