Day 41: Explore, More
Posted January 10, 2013on:
Today’s post is by Jon Bartlett, better known on Twitter as @Projectlibero and you can find out more about him on his excellent blog. I’m delighted that he has made an appearance in the second series of Advent blogs.
When this series ran last year I was one of the first to volunteer. I had never written a blog and decided that a guest appearance would be an easy taster and help me decide if blogging was something I wanted to do. I didn’t know then that I would write in excess of 50 blogs during 2012. I would say that the regular writing really helped me order my thoughts and was one of the successes of my year. (It’s not for nothing that I describe Alison as the Fairy Godmother of HR blogging).
This year, I figured I would stand back and let other voices be heard. It’s been great to do that and the quality has been really high. When guest blogging, I take it as a chance to play with different subjects or try a new style and I wasn’t sure that I had anything compelling to share that I wasn’t saying on my own blog.
Then I saw the front cover of National Geographic. It marks 125 years this year. It’s the kind of magazine I’ve picked up in dentists waiting rooms but never thought to subscribe.
Their tagline for this issue? “Why we explore”.
The articles are varied, interstellar travel, understanding microbes and an essay about humanity having “restless genes”. The last article is an excellent piece about how many of us explore greatly as children but “grow out of it”. We get rewarded for sticking with the status quo. The very thing which separates humans from all the other animals (and Neanderthals who never journeyed very far) is the thing we are conditioning out of our race. The rush to systematise and codify the world means that we run the very real risk of losing the will and ability to innovate and explore. Think of all the processes and policies in organisations. With the laudable aim of eliminating risk they may actually stifle innovation and creativity. (Though that’s probably a whole other post).
I reflected on 2012 and discovered that actually I’m at my best when I explore. When I have sought out new contacts and different ways of doing things I succeeded far more and also I found my work much more enjoyable. The couple of instances where I played safe and stuck to an old pattern were much less rewarding. What’s also been apparent is that via social media I’ve easily encountered other explorers. They haven’t been jealous and protective of their knowledge, quite the opposite. They have been open and welcoming, sharing their connections, their learning and their time willingly. In turn we have been able to explore together. I’ve loved the sense of adventure this has created. It’s fair to say that I’ve got further both personally and professionally by sharing my experience and co-creating work than I ever could by playing it safe and refusing to collaborate.
Thinking ahead through 2013 I’m hoping to work with a new client, very bold and innovative in their approach to the workplace. I’m also excited about being involved in the 2013 L&D Connect Unconference and I urge you to take a look at some interesting new work by Fuchsia Blue under the banner of Exploring Dialogue.
So my challenge to you in 2013 is to truly explore, more and more, go as far and be as fearless as you can. I’ll see you out there in the adventure!