Have you ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed and not really known what caused it? I experienced exactly that, the other morning, after waking up abruptly with a feeling of dissatisfaction and self-doubt. Although part of the dream was about a major life decision I’d recently made, the following day I started to unpack what was really behind that unsettled feeling in my stomach. It wasn’t the dream itself …it was the realisation of what the dream had triggered in me; subconcious thoughts and perceptions about myself that had manifested in my dream. And, in being completely honest, thoughts that were totally disconnected from reality!
This prompted my thinking. How damaging is it for people everyday to wake up with these perceptions based on wild assumptions that are so deeply ingrained that they have become FACT. I sat with this idea all day, letting it brew to see what meaning I could derive. And then I came to a profoundly simple realisation. I have a choice. From which prompted the following questions:
- What does having a choice really mean?
- What does ‘choice’ have to do with ABW?
What does having a choice really mean?
What I realised was that I have a choice on how I perceive reality and how I want to show up in the world. When my mind wanders and lays down doubts and fears again, I have a choice to not let that happen. I have a choice on how happy I want to be, on taking personal responsibility and for the thoughts I have that dictate my actions.
This realisation felt liberating….and yet at the same time, terrifying. What a huge responsibility, I kept thinking…but wait, no…What a huge privilege. Many of us walk through life on autopilot looking at all the external factors and categorising them into what makes us fulfilled and unfulfilled. Thinking that our feelings and moods are a direct result of these external factors. However, age-old wisdom has always been shouting at us to turn that conversation around and ask ourselves the deeper questions around how we live with more intention and on our own terms – how we break the cycle of automaticity to live more authentically.
What does choice have to with ABW
Well, plenty. Our clients are often surprised at how far reaching the impacts of ABW are…how they touch on the physical environment (obviously), technology, and more importantly and maybe less obviously, the behavioural change. The reality is that once you move into your new space, the real work begins. A choice is created on how to break through automaticity, new decisions need to be made on how to show up differently, and hopefully better, and it all comes down to one thing – personal leadership.
To me, personal leadership in an ABW environment is the key to unlocking the ability to make some really powerful choices:
The choice to lead
Stop waiting for others to lead. Yes, leadership can start at the top, but each and every one of us is a leader if we choose to be. We’re always looking for someone else to have the courage to lead the way. Why not take the leap to lead the way we want to be led?
The choice to change the way you work
That means not immediately pointing the finger elsewhere or identifying all the external factors that get in your way of change. It means taking a true look at what you can do to personally show up better and create the future of how you want to work.
The choice to commit to action
Be specific around what behaviours you want to change. Once you put it out there in the world (or at least, to your team) you are better able to hold yourself accountable. And once you’re accountable to yourself and others, your team will follow your lead.
The choice to be in the ambiguity of change
It’s a brave and sometimes lonely path but allowing yourself to be vulnerable can be the most authentic thing a leader can demonstrate. This means not always having the answers and not always being in control, but rather, having trust in your and your team’s ability to figure it out along the way.
You have a choice
It all begins with awareness; the direct and confronting realisation that you have a choice. The choice to become your own personal leader and embrace the positive impact that this will have. Once you have that powerful awareness, the rest is up to you. So how will you show up?