Storms, and Ships

shipThere are, I suspect, few people who would argue that we are in calm waters right now – politically, economically, socially. Many would argue we are in a phase transition – a rapid, dramatic and permanent change in our understanding of our world.

A storm is coming.

We are all in ships of one form or another, from little ones we’ve just built, to the “Unsinkable Titanics” of our day.

The most important person on a ship is not the Captain. or the Cook, or the Purser, or the Chief Engineer. It’s the Navigator; of the old fashioned sort ,who can read the stars, use a sextant, and smell the weather.

Our modern “ships” have become reliant on their own form of GPS. Economists, Financial Forecasters, Experts. Trouble is, a GPS is no good if you find yourself off the map, in uncharted territory. A nice blinking cursor on a blank screen.

Many of todays Navigators are adventure tourists, selling access to places others have gone before them, but which they had no part in finding. Great as guides, but hopeless when they find themselves lost.

Navigators, of the old school, map makers. They knew how to chart new territory so that they could find their way back to where they had come from, as well as claim what they had found for themselves. They were explorers who ventured over the known horizon.

A storm is coming. Make sure you have a navigator of the old school; an explorer. This is no time to be crew on a boat with a tourist for a Navigator.

 

 

Uncertainty

Drops of rain on glass , rain drops on clear window

We hate uncertainty, yet we seem addicted to it. We have 24/7 news, amplified by other people’s views via social and other media, which dominates our attention even though very little of it will affect us.

It’s easy to ignore the things we can change, when we can find people we can blame for the situation we are in.

Nothing is certain, except death and taxes, so let’s flip this. Uncertainty is the norm, and always has been – we’re just exposed to rather larger doses of evidence than our predecessors.

We can deal with it, with a few simple rules:

  1. Understand┬áthat you see the world as you are, not as it is, and give yourself time to reflect. Go for a walk, meditate for a few minutes. take time out. Recognise that those monsters are ones you’ve built.
  2. Observe. What’s unfolding in your world, what new information is out there that really impacts you? How are you – Well? Stressed? – see point 1. You see things as you are. Acknowledge that, and start from there.
  3. Orient yourself. How does who you are, who you know, your purpose in life, your experience and your skills position you to deal with what’s important right now? What does that look like for those you work with, collaborate with, or compete with? Are you faster, slower or in sync with them. (Hint, slower is not good)
  4. Decide. Commit, in the knowledge you will not be “right” but will learn. The nature of change is that you’re part of it. The moment you do something, the situation that existed when you made the decision is past. It is gone forever. Is what you are about to do important? Why?
  5. Act. Do what you have decided, and notice what happens. Not from a place of fear, but of curiosity. What do you notice – in yourself, and those around you?
  6. Go back to 2. Repeat.

The simple truth is, if you can go faster through this cycle than those around you, you move forward.

Anything that slows you down; fear, needing permission, waiting for others to go first, slows you down.

As of now, you have two futures. The one you’re accepting from others, or the one you can build for yourself. It involves risk, learning, growth and discovery, along with regular failure. Becoming who you really are, doing things with people you value, rather than being somebody convenient to people you don’t know.

The alternative. Obey. Fit in. Pay taxes till you die. The Chancellor needs you.