Jul 22, 2008

Ask and you'll find the answer

Last week I got back from a summer camp in Switzerland, which was about change management and decision making. Amazed, once again! Simply said - I'm in love with learning and awed by the people who open windows and doors for me. Need to move on, constantly, and I know no better way to do it than through books and people (followed by some practice:)

Every step out of my usual path expands what I know about the world and how I see myself in the connection with everything else. When thinking about the impact different people have had on my development it's almost scary to imagine what would I be when I would have chose to stay still and not to explore. The best advice for myself is to constantly go out there, world is a wonderful place and the discoveries never cease.

A few lessons from the land of cheese, banks, mountains and cows to write in my "Golden ideas book" once I create it (should do it soon:):

1. Ask questions. I will never know if I won't ask. My curiosity with a little bit of bravery to speak my thoughts can open treasure boxes. And quite often - the most simple and obvious question is the best one, complicated ones only bring general answers and don't really serve the goal to show me sophisticated and smart.

2. Keep your mind Open. It's easy to slip in the trap of "I know it all". Yet the difference between those with open mind and the rest is visible - some people just keep repeating what they already know and miss out the new emerging knowledge, others look curious and interested even at old age and keep bringing innovation. There's nothing more static when the absence of questions and questions come once you look without judgments.

3. Listen. During a visit to a monastery one lady asked from a Benedictine monk what would be his advice to the world if he could give only one. He replied: "Listen." When I was sharing my story about some questions I had when running AIESEC Estonia, again I got a golden advice from one amazing consultant: "Listen." Easy, isn't it?

4. Find your core. Ask questions from yourself, meditate, take time to think, explore - keep looking to find your core, because this is what you can build a successful life on. For one successful businessman the core was one word - recognition. For his wife - children. Whatever it is - take time to find it out. And then be true to it.

5. Start going. Sometimes you already know enough, the best next step is to start doing it. No worry if you are not able to see the whole path to your vision, things change anyway. To know your dream and immediate next steps can often be quite enough to get going.

6. I have time. This is an idea I picked up from someone, who told me how he discovered the meaning of the law of attraction - what you tell yourself becomes the truth as you attract real events to you by your thoughts. What about having time? So - I have time, indeed :)

Photos made by a summer camp participant Martine Morel

Jul 17, 2008

Stop thinking. Let it go to let it come.

Turns out I have two sides of brain and moreover – they don’t necessarily get along too well. From time to time they keep contradicting with each other and guess what – the result can be indecisiveness, hesitation and even unhappiness. This is a story of a right-brainer who has been trained to become a left-brainer and is now relearning to get connected with her intuition again.

The left side keeps telling me what is the right thing to do. It has been diligently learning the rules and has soaked me into habit of doing so. The left side of my brain keeps reminding me that the world is a logical place to live in and everything can be rationally analyzed, from relationships to creative writing. Left side of my brain learns by observing and analyzing the collected data. And I can assure you it doesn’t make decisions before making sure that all the facts are double checked.

The other side of my brain – the right one – flows. It doesn’t know why I do things, but it just feels right and doesn’t need any explanation. It enjoys the process and is convinced that everything that happens is a good thing to happen. In a right time, in a right way. The right side of my brain doesn’t worry if the way I act, look or think is correct and if the result is good, it just knows it is.

The right side of my brain was especially active until I entered high school. There I learned that for example writing has rules and that to create a meaningful text it needs to have introduction, subject expansion and conclusion. Flowing wasn’t enough anymore. I learned that my intuition of knowing what to do can be analyzed to pieces and that I need to make decisions coming from pieces to the big picture, not vice versa. Knowing is just not enough, was what I learned, you need to know how you know.

When I entered into university it became strikingly clear that the only way of achieving success is to be absolutely clear about your thinking process. “This is how you do it!”, was the mantra I kept learning through correct ways of delivering what I do. The majority of the leadership books were more about methods and pre-described processes, than capturing the essence of WHY ON EARTH am I doing what I’m doing. What’s the essence? What is the big picture?

Knowing pieces is just not enough in the complex world we are living in (and with the knowledge doubling in every 10 years it just keeps getting more complex). There are less and less right answers, much is depending on the co-operation we are able to do with each other. As everything is so much interconnected community is becoming more important that individuals.

To where from this point? I’m learning to know when and how to quiet the left side of my brain, it can be the main hindrance in seeing the deeper knowledge. Switching off the thinking process, letting go of all the judgments, just sensing what is there. Trying to understand doesn’t work in many cases, the understanding comes once you stop worrying about it. Acting right comes naturally when you stop analyzing the reasons behind every option.

Let it go to let it come.

As a person whom I met in my crossroads in Switzerland told me: “Just relax. It will happen.