“I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.” Georgia O’Keefe
I have found – in my own life and work as well as in the lives and work of my clients, colleagues, and friends – that so often it is what I “know” that gets in the way of what I have to learn.
I may “know” how to approach a task or a person, and I may be completely wrong. But my “knowing” stops me from being open to possibilities and new ways that may work better. I may “know” the cause of a problem or situation, and again, my “knowing” closes my mind to new truths and other ideas. I may “know” the best way to write or paint or connect with others, and again, my “knowing” may limit my abilities. What I’ve been taught, what I’ve “known” all along, may get in my way over and over again.
I’ve witnessed clients throw out what they “know” about someone or something, and be willing to start anew. Solutions and opportunities appear to come out of nowhere. Teams let go of how they were taught to engage in the past and develop new patterns of connection and collaboration that serve them (and their organizations) much better. People walk away from what they’ve been taught was right and wrong in the world, and find new possibilities and relationships with others that they might have written off in the past.
Things seem to go much smoother when we forget what we “know” and start anew, but it can be so difficult to do. It requires the willingness to slow down and reflect, to be thoughtful and intentional, to look at what you “know” and actively choose to look past or around it. The other day a colleague shared with me a wonderful question to pose to myself when I’ve decided I “know” something, or when I’m potentially making up a story about someone or something. “Do you know it’s absolutely true?” she posed. And as I sat with that question, she posed it again. “Do you absolutely know it’s absolutely true?” That question, or ones like it, can open us up when our mind is set by what we “know.” I’ve decided to use it as often as I can. I’ve decided to continually start anew.
How have you decided to start anew? Where do you need to?
Next time you “know,” start anew with a fresh perspective.
To see how coaching can help you start anew, contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.