So here I sit, on the verge. Bags not quite packed, talks not quite prepared. Just how I like it. Tomorrow I will be in wonderful Vancouver. Somebody sold me such a cheap Winter Olympic package, I just had to go and see the games, though I am getting a little suspicious after seeing Michael Buble in some sort of closing ceremony that there might be a reason for the bargain price of the tickets…
Talks not quite prepared… Hmmm. We spend so much of our time urging clients to prepare prepare prepare, yet in my case, if I do this, I become stale. I get bored. I forget what I think I am going to say. I know what I will say, but I don’t know. It is a fractal idea from Chaos Theory – the same but different, sort of like old, but unique. I often do not know what is going to come out of my mouth 10 seconds before I go on.
Recently in New Zealand, I was waiting in the wings of the convention centre in Wellington, due to give the keynote to a very large and august gathering of the great and good in career development, when I suddenly decided (5 mins before my cue) that it would be a good idea to get a technician to climb a ladder behind the stage and give an impromtu mime to my off-stage commentary. It was not rehearsed, I had no idea whether it would work and get a laugh, but I did it. (and thanks to the technician who so happily supported me).
What was I thinking of? In the cold light of day it is the act of a crazy person to suddenly take such a risk in front of getting on for 1000 people, at the beginning of a conference. Well I think I got away with it, if the feedback immediately and later was anything to go by, but what if it failed.
There is a line here between preparation and being able to be on the edge of chaos, where things can radically alter and re-configure with little notice. This is where I believe creative tension and originality occur – being out there, taking risks, but always doing so from a sound foundation of experience/knowledge/achievement. I think being on the edge of Chaos is where “flow” occurs – being in the zone, in the moment, feeling comfortable and alive in the buzzing, booming world. My friend and colleagues Norm Amundson and Roberta Neault will talk about this topic at the conference in Vancouver next week. I hope my keynote does not scare away or disappoint too many. I hope it is sufficiently on the edge, but also grounded in evidence, ideas etc.
Well it is out of my hands. It only remains for me to have fun, because it is the only way I know to make a presentation fun and engaging. On the edge of chaos talking about the Chaos Theory of Careers. The topic: Slow Shift, Fast Shift, Deep Shift.
I hope I have time to visit the artists on Granville Island, they always inspire me. I am lucky indeed to be heading for such a wonderful place as Vancouver. It inspires me with it’s warmth, artistry, tolerance and openness to new ideas, a place that flourishes from being on the edge of Chaos in the most positive way.
If only I can find a sucker to offload my post-winter olympic tickets too…