Right now, it’s very tempting to hide in plain sight. The current reality is none of us know what to do with any precision, and admitting to that in cultures of “accountability” and “performance” can be a high risk activity.
Many of the most capable people I have worked with have often turned up at work as a form of avatar of themselves, from the clothes they wear to the things they say in meetings. Positioning more than perspective. Avoiding criticism. It’s as understandable as it is tragic and wasteful. It turns artists into buskers, and eveybody dips out.
Time was we could busk. Sing a passable rendition of a song somebody else had written, and move from place to place singing different songs to different audiences.
That has now become a high risk activity. In times like these, the people we work with want to hear our own work, not something we’ve picked up from a book,or a course, and brought back to work as unexamined truth. Nobody else sees the situation we are facing in the same way as we do, whether it’s personal or work. We have a unique view, singular insights and our ideas, and we need to hear them. Not in some meeting room “Star Chamber”, but in a place where we know we will be listened to and explore what we see with them.
Many may not agree with us. The ones who have a good reason are worth cultivating. Those who disagree because it’s different, or challenging, or inconvenient are not.
Right now, it’s clear that we are going to go through several more months of challenge. As I write this on Monday, a note has flashed up on my screen telling me Boris says “harsher restrictions are inevitable”. I can cope with that, let’s get on with it. It will spoil the plans of many of those who would rather things don’t change for them, but what we’re in will change things significantly and that signifies opportunity for those who don’t need to hide. (if you wan’t to get a better handle on how this pandemic might shape up, read “Apollo’s Arrow” by Nicholas Christakis. It’s the clearest account I’ve read on Pandemics and their implications. Worth more than all the government briefings squared)
Artisans don’t do Avatars. They turn up as who they are with what they’ve got, because what they do matters to them. Creating beauty and value from emerging reality rather than hankering after what’s gone.
What we’re heading into over the next decade requires the artist and artisan in each of us.
Time to sing our own song. No more Busking.