I’m not getting any taller, I promise.
I mean “grow” in the figurative sense. I say that because January seems to be the month of self reflection. Self reflection that is going to inform the year ahead.
Myself and a few friends, Simon and Suzanne (both of whom I happen to have the pleasure of working with), agreed that we would start the year well and spend some time together thinking about how we want to grow and develop in 2016.
We worked through a work-book (horrible word, trying to think of an alternative) by Susannah Conway called “Unravelling The Year Ahead”. Susannah helps you get clear on what you want to create, how you want to feel and what’s most important to you, all by asking a series of simple and searching questions. In fact, these questions are so simple and lovely that it seems a bit ridiculous that I had never stopped to think about them before!
We shared some of our responses and then spent some time in “Triads” in the comfort of Si’s father-in-laws’s flat by the sea in Brighton.
“Triads”? But what’s “Triads”??
Triads is a conversation tool that we learnt about at an Art of Hosting training week. Three people per triad. One question to mull over. A set length of time per person to talk about their answer to said question.
Our question was “What do you need this year to help you grow and develop?”.
One person answers the question.
One person asks powerful questions (no advice, just questions!) and encourages thought development.
One person listens intently and reflects on the interaction at the end.
Personally I think this is a great way to peer coach… But I haven’t actually had any formal coaching training so I’m just going on the fact that it is really bloody helpful!
The things that came up repeatedly, both in triads and in the workbook, in my answer to this question were:
I need to give myself time : I need to put development as an immovable date in the diary, rather than something on the bottom of a to-do list that gets pushed further down in the list of priorities.
I need to give myself space : I need to move away from the places that I associate with the usual routine. Something as small as a different room in the flat to as big as a completely different country.
I need to give myself permission : I’ve found that I often need someone to tell me that something is a good idea before I run with it. I like the affirmation that something is valuable to do. Most of the time I need to give permission to myself. I could psycho-analyse myself all day on that one!
These are things that I have always known but have never really been proactive on. Now, more than ever, I need to be focused on ways to grow and develop my skills, knowledge and just about anything else.
I think it’s fair to say that when in full time employment there is an expectation to get additional training in a particular field. I think it’s also fair to say that when freelancing there is an over riding feeling of guilt when you just look at a training course (and most specifically the cost of said training course), let alone when you have forked out the cash and taken yourself off for a week.
Not that it is all about big long training weekends. It’s also that alternative-business book that I’ve been putting off buying because it’s £15.99 and that’s a bit more than I expected. And that trip to * insert far off city here * for that conference that isn’t as free as I would like it to be.
“But I’m not going to be “earning” for an entire week!”, “I need to spend that £15.99 on shampoo and extension leads!” and “Train travel AND conference fees?!”
And so starts the panic.
Of course the panic needs to back off. Investment in personal development is so important that businesses will pay for you to do it, so you’ve got to spend the time to do it for yourself. It’s so good intact, that HMRC will very kindly let you take any “trade” related training & purchases off your tax bill, so really there is no excuse!
After having the day with Suzanne and Simon, talking over our desires for the year (as framed by the lovely Susannah Conway) and our needs for development (thank you triads), I have a new found energy to pursue this for the year. Thankfully I won’t be pursuing this on my own, I’ll have S&S to check in on me, making sure I’m moving in the right direction and reminding me how important this is when the panic comes back.
Looks like #2015LEARN is sticking around for a while!