Artisans, Entrepreneurs and the call of the Wild…

image: National Geographic

Last Spring, while I was out walking I spotted another walker’s Spaniel running after a startled rabbit kitten. It caught it, looked round puzzled, and then put it down when his/her owner shouted. The young rabbit looked vaguely puzzled, and then hopped off. If rabbits had fingers, I’m sure it might have used two of them for a salute.

I was reminded of this as I look at different reactions to the turbulent times we’re in as both danger and opportunities appear, often at random. It strikes me that many employees have been effectively domesticated. The instincts might still be there, but the behaviours are not. Employees get confused when confronted with unexpected opportunity, and are more attuned to getting criticised for unexpected behaviours than nailing an unplanned opportunity. I guess it’s compounded by the rafts of well meaning constraints, from various regulations, from health and safety to diversity and fear of legal sanction. It just becomes easier to walk to heel.

Artisans and entrepreneurs are markedly different. They know what a rabbit looks like, and what to do if unexpectedly presented with one. The rabbit might be an idea, or an observation, or a client with a need which they can’t quite articulate. They chase it down, because no-one owns them.

Taking opportunities is part habit, part capability, part freedom. If we’re too constrained, or not fit enough, or on a lead, we’re not going to do it. There are upsides though ; regular meals and pats on the head, unless we misbehave and poop on the corporate carpet.

Covid has not done with us yet, and will be followed by other disruptions. We all have the instincts we need, and we would do well to consider how well placed we are to grab those opportunities if presented with them.

Five things to consider:

  • We can’t do it alone. I’ve often mentioned that we become the average of the five people we most associate with. What does your pack look like?
  • It’s a story. What we believe we can do, and describe to others, tends to happen.
  • If we can imagine it, we can do it. This line from the Disney story may be done to death, but it doesn’t stop it being true.
  • Everything is part of a system. We have brought up and trained in reductionist thinking. We specialise and lose breadth of vision. It doesn’t have to be that way, particulalrly if you don’t do it alone.
  • We know far more than we think we know. It’s where instinct and intuition come from. Our background, our family and community history. Our relationship to where we live. We are part of something much bigger than ourselves. If we let that understanding in, we can access that knowledge.

Don’t yap, Have a good old howl.

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