Please Do Disturb

Do Not Disturb.

It's the only option that a hotel or office doorknocker gives you, but if you hope to refresh or reinvent yourself, your work, or your organization, it is the absolute wrong message.

Instead seek the opposite as suggested by one of my favorite authors, Meg Wheatley: Please Do Disturb.

In this compelling essay, she reminds us that the complexity of life will not heed the certainty we convince ourselves that we possess.  The only way to create a compelling future for ourselves and others is if we engage with difference daily and directly.

But as I noted in my TEDxIndianapolis talk (which I am available to present in keynote and workshop form), as we become more proficient in our work and more pronounced in our beliefs and assumptions, we often begin to narrow our range of inputs, experiences, and relationships … the exact opposite of what is required for innovation and rejuvenation.

So as you contemplate your efforts and ambitions, make sure you disturb yourself.  As ad agency exec Andy Law reminded us in his book The Creative Company,

“I need to remind people to give something up, to sacrifice something. I am constantly telling people that giving up what they’re attached to will take them to someplace far more interesting. Giving up something helps people create space in their minds that will allow them to take on new things. Holding onto things all the time makes people—and companies—afraid to change."
  • What might you need to give up to seize the opportunities your current situation presents?
    What are you hanging on to that may impede you from creating/realizing your preferred future?
  • What rituals or routines in your organization are close to becoming ruts and how might you disturb them without those who most value them finding you to be merely "disturbing."
  • What thoughts, ideas, or people do you find most disturbing?  Why is that and what can you learn from it?
  • What simple habits will you embrace now to allow yourself to be disturbed in intentional and delightful ways?

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