Living with the I don’t knows and not yets
Recently, I got a fabulous opportunity in the company I work with — to lead a project around developing a coaching culture in our global offices. I was presented with the idea, invited to take time to think about it and whether I want in on that, but I instantly knew there was no need to postpone my answer. It was a resounding hell yeah (well, minus the “hell” part).
Couple of days passed by, people heard about this and started asking me “So how are you going to do it? What’s the plan?”
My constant answer is “I have no idea how to do it”. Mostly joking (I have quite a lot of ideas of where to start), but also — there’s truth behind this answer.
First of all, not to get too technical, but any project that involves working with company culture — redefining it, changing it — is incredibly complex. Especially as culture is difficult to measure, difficult to operationalize, it’s almost a touchy-feely thing that happens to be the invisible fabric behind how people think, work, and act. It’s about the mindset, the beliefs and the values that shape everything that happens within a company. No pressure.
The surprising insight that I got was that, for the first time in my professional career, I was not stressed or deflated by the complexity of the task and all the unknown elements. Quite the contrary, I was energized by it. It’s what I assume an interior designer feels like when they get a green light from clients to use their creativity and implement their ideas with no constraints. Or going to the hairstylist with long locks of hair and saying “Feel free to do whatever you want”.
Lately, I find myself more and more comfortable diving into things that I have no script or recipes for. I am more open to finding answers along the way, to take the first step without having any idea how the rest of the staircase will look like or what the final destination will be. At a deeper level, this comfort with discomfort and uncertainty is possible because I simply… have more trust. Trust in myself, trust in people around me, trust in the process. Trust in our innate ability to problem solve, our innate skills to be creative, our innate skills to find the light switch in a dark room.
As a result, I have more fun and I stress less. I am open to take bigger risks and bigger commitments. The opportunity for playing, for experimentation and creation is more salient than the pressure to be perfect, to look like I know it all, to have premade answers. I am more at peace with myself being in the middle of the process — whether that process is figuring out how to solve a professional challenge or figuring out whether I want to have kids now or postpone it. And you know what? At the end of the day, I kind of have the hunch that the most meaningful and valuable endeavors in life start exactly like this — “I have no idea how to do it, but I am definitely willing to play!”.
Also, PS: Be as cool, open and reckless as this dog in the picture.