On the path to liberate the hidden artist, this season turns my attention to reaching further outwards. In spring we were galvanising energy and power to move forward; now, it’s time to connect.
With this phase, my world here in the UK is moving into summer. Small changes tell me it’s happening. sprouting leaves are nowhere to be seen on Monday and Tuesday take over the paving slabs; the sky has that heavy blue haze letting us know the sun is settling down into a regular rhythm of glowing; the shadows are warm, breezes are refreshing and everything smells beautiful.
Connection, Compassion and Communication are the next pit stops on this liberating path. The behaviour that comes with this is, fundamentally, connection: not just actions but a mindset of wanting to, and believing we already are, connected.
These pit stops are interdependent, just as the entire path to liberating the artist within is interdependent, as well as reflective. Connection, compassion and communication aren’t just about reaching out to others; they’re about reaching inwards to connect with ourselves, show ourselves compassion, and communicate with the inner selves we need to speak with.
From an organisational point of view, they are perhaps some of the most crucial, and least authentically visited, pit stops on the liberating path. How often do we truly share connection, compassion and communication at work, in a way which gives people the time and space they need to actually do it well?
Businesses like to say they are experts at communication, that they take time to really get to know and connect with customers, that they give a damn about staff. Do they? Some do, of course. But the stories of disconnection between people and their workplaces, cultures of animosity and purposeful miscommunication are more common than the stories of organisations where these three qualities are flourishing.
For individual hidden artists and the ‘hidden artist’ of an organisation, approaching and moving through these pit stops require some learning from the season. A little bit of summer stillness is needed to deeply connect, empathise and communicate with ourselves, those around us and the bigger system or organisation we are in. While spring’s previous pit stops were all about forward and upward movement, these three are about standing in a strong, conscious emotional energy that keep us aware of ourselves and others.
And just like the pit stops on the rest of the path, there are dark sides. The resistance to connection, compassion and communication is real; what if we connect to something within us that challenges our entire world view? How can we be compassionate with those we despise or who despise us? And what if we speak up – and are shunned? Undoubtedly, it’s easier to be disconnected, cruel and silent than risk the vulnerability of personal connection, compassion and communication.
But the path to liberating the hidden artist is a vulnerable one. That’s why we walk it with other people. And these pit stops, more than any others on the path, are about the point where we meet; the point at which I end and you begin.
If we successfully embrace this behaviour of Connection and learn the lessons it has to teach us, the results are paradigm-shifting.
For individuals, it’s greater self-knowledge: of who you are, of how you feel, and of how you can share your highly personal experience with others. Because of the reflective nature of the liberating path, working with this behaviour also brings a degree of self-acceptance: that who you are, how you feel, and how you communicate is absolutely okay. By feeling ‘okay’ with ourselves, we’re in a better position to connect, empathise and communicate with others, improving our external relationships and leading to more creative opportunities.
For organisations, the result is also greater self-knowledge: a better connection to your vision, to your business’ meaningful goals and its extraordinary, potentially untapped, capabilities. There’s acknowledgement too, of what’s not working. It comes without judgement, thanks to compassion. Compassion is not a word that’s used a lot in the workplace, but its power is extraordinary; it releases teams from passing blame, and places them in a better position to communication, which in turn becomes so much easier when everyone is deeply connected to their role in the organisation and feels compassion for the people they’re working with. These three qualities are the foundations of an effective workplace culture – it’s as powerful as that.
The pit stops encompassed in this behaviour – Connection, Compassion and Communication – are wonderful places to spend time in. For me, these are the pit stops where I first learnt how to liberate myself, so they have a special place in my heart and history. I look forward to sharing my experiences and expertise with you this season.
In 2020 I’m crystallising 10 years’ professional experience into my creative consultancy and coaching process, based on the fundamental artist’s tool: the colour wheel.