A Search for tidiness

A Search for tidiness

Over the past few weeks we’ve been having some building work carried out on our house. I wasn’t looking forward to it and I didn’t enjoy it; it caused a lot of disruption and it unsettled me. Thankfully, it’s coming to an end now, but as I’ve found myself searching for clarity and tidiness I have realised that, curiously, it’s not just been in the house. I’ve been wrestling with a strong inclination to understand what I am bringing to the work I do, and I wonder whether when one area of life is unavoidably messy I compensate by seeking order elsewhere. Even if that is the case I think it’s a helpful process to sift and sort, so I’ll share a little of my thinking.

I’ve recently taken part in a few one-to-one tutorials, the purpose of which have been to help the people towards their coaching qualifications. However, when I’ve sensed some emotion behind what is being said or written, I have asked gentle questions which have stirred people to open up about their feelings. Very quickly the sessions then moved beyond straightforward tutorials into something much deeper.

Is that my role? Is it what I am paid for? Is this what the organisations which employ Space2think expect? I then ask myself whether we miss something out of our offering to commissioning organisations which Rob and I are good at and which we do quite naturally. Perhaps there are also other ingredients that we bring which we are struggling to name, but which people really appreciate.

I guess we are a relational company, rather than transactional, and it is hard to break down a relational way of working into discrete tasks. But I know that when I’m working with someone I feel more fully alive in those moments when truth emerges. Honesty seems to bring release and freedom and provides an opportunity for me to encourage and support. It prepares people for the work they are employed to do.

Which takes me back to this question about why we are employed: are we employed because of what we do or who we are? Perhaps it’s a bit of both. We are commissioned to do a task, such as guiding people to qualifications, but in that process we work with what is being presented and maybe that’s what is expected – even if it’s not articulated. Our work is a blend of the artistic and the scientific, the creative and the experimental.

Each programme we deliver is unique because of the people who take part, and human life is inevitably often messy. The end result of accepting and working with that messiness is generally more clarity, more tidiness and something new that can be enjoyed for a long time – just like with the work that has been done on our house. Perhaps I have more in common with a builder than I ever would have thought!

Would it be helpful to sift and sort through what other’s expectations of you are and what you actually do/bring?

By Andy Howie