Earlier this week, Kandy Woodfield invited me to write a blog post as part of the #blimage blog challenge. The image she provided is someone standing on their head with the caption “time for a fresh perspective?”.
I’ve been doing a fair amount of facilitation based activity lately. Facilitation is where I shine, where I thrive and where I am truly at my best. It’s a craft and it’s a combination of skills which when brought together create an experience and that remains my focus. How can I help craft that experience as a facilitator?
I’ve also been in discussion lately with other about awards and accreditations and the benefit of pitching yourself against others. How can you know if you’re doing well if you don’t put yourself out there and benchmark against others? What does great look like, and how do you know if you’re doing great? How are you measuring your level of great and is it skewed to be in your favour?
And I’ve been discussing with others about my blogging. I blog regularly and share my experiences, thoughts, insights, practice, and feelings openly. It was remarked to me that as a practitioner this is brave. I reflected that I don’t recognise it as that and understand how it can be seen that way.
For me, my practice started to significantly shift when I discovered social media. I became a quick advocate of this new technology and have remained so ever since. I don’t do social media particularly well, I’m just present a lot on Twitter and my blog. That doesn’t equate to quality. (Not seeking affirmation here). I’m present a lot because I come across such good content that is worth sharing. I’m currently amazed at my number of Twitter followers. People follow me for all sorts of reasons, and for that I’m pretty grateful. It doesn’t always equate to quality dialogue, that happens with a far less number.
What social media helped do for me is offer me perspectives on things I never knew I wanted to have a perspective on, or develop my thinking on. I now have positions on MOOCs, behavioural economics, marketing, recruitment, brands, cats, politics, life, family, religion and so much more because I’ve read things which force my thinking to kick into gear. I’ve read outrageously racist things, deeply sad things, highly offensive things, massively amusing things, life affirmingly beautiful things and all sorts. I don’t care if it’s short form or long form, it’s all been valuable.
This accessibility we now have is so amazing that it informs my practice. I can see the benefits of digital literacy and social media has not just for me but for supporting the development of the workforce. I’m there with it, living it, breathing it, embedding it I all I do. Today in a meeting someone said they didn’t want to fall foul of having their phone on in the meeting. I shared that I’m really easy with it being on. He’s an adult, he’s capable of knowing if a phone alert is important enough to disturb us being together. When our smartphones are such a part of our lives, who am I to determine if you’re allowed to use it in my presence?
It’s not that social media in and of itself enabled me to develop and hone and craft. It’s the many things I became aware of that suddenly became things I wanted to do and be part of. I learned about unconferences. I learned about flipped classroom learning. I learned about memes. I learned about content strategy. I learning about UX. I learned about big data. I learned about Open Space. I learned about Appreciative Inquiry. I learned about lots of things which I wanted to take, investigate further, learn more about and incorporate into what I do.
It’s a long journey. It takes persistence, as Kandy talked about, and it means that as much as I might think my craft is good, I can’t become complacent because I have all these fresh perspectives supporting my personal and professional development.
Yo, Tim Scott, I nominate you for a #blimage blog post with this inspiration…