This was a particularly rough series of weeks in the lead-up to and through Thanksgiving break. These were weeks for exams, presentations, rescheduling all of the meetings and phone conversations that were put off for one reason or another. These were weeks packed with experiences.
They were not, unfortunately, a period for reflection.
Well, let me revise that: It was more challenging than usual to make time for reflection.
That means a number of new ideas for potential posts popped into my mind only to be jettisoned as I dove into my calendar to make sense of the mess and send last-minute regrets and rain-check e-mails or apologies for being late.
It was not, unfortunately, a time to write and share.
Okay, fine, let me rephrase that too: It was more difficult for me to make time to write and share.
But that's, as Bernie Roth has taught me repeatedly, "a gooOOOOood reason" -- in other words, no reason at all. That doesn't mean, however, that I lacked intent. I had plenty of intent. I intended to make as many meetings on time as I could and keep to as many scheduled events as I could. I also intended to be as fully present as possible in each meeting. I intended to focus more on experiencing the events I was attending and the people I was attending them with (though I did check my phone more often than I would have liked), rather than on the act of sharing out.
The struggle isn't new, but over the last couple of weeks, it was particularly difficult. So, in the interest of keeping an eye on process (and making up for what I missed), here are three things I learned:
There will be weeks when sharing is impossible. It's inevitable that I will experience weeks when the opportunity to gather information will be more valuable than the act of sharing it immediately. Sometimes, ideas and interactions just need time to bake.
You have to be present before you share. Sharing constantly is an unrealistic goal. In order to know what to share, you have to witness it. In order to share with context, you must take time to process the experience.
Challenge the assumption of immediacy and deadlines. I firmly believe in sharing as much as you can when you can. There are, of course, barriers to sharing many things. But that which can be shared, I believe, should be if it proves informative or useful to others. But that doesn't mean it needs to be shared right away. Having worked in a newsroom for the past three years, and in deadline-based jobs prior to that, I am used to deadlines being sacred. But those days have more or less passed for me. Sometimes, deadlines can be wonderful constraints, but other times they can be horrible barriers to synthesis and creative expression.
Do you find experience getting in the way of finding ample opportunities to share? If so, let us know in the comments.