Grief Helps You Reweave The Fabric of Your Life

First, recognize that job loss—like any event that tears at the fabric of your life story—triggers grief. The purpose of grief is to help you re-weave the story of your life together. Many people are familiar with the five stages of grief first described by Elisabeth KüblerRoss in the context of understanding patients dealing with terminal illness. The five stages she described are: Shock and denial, anger, bargaining, depression and detachment, and acceptance. Not every person will go through all five stages, but it is helpful to recognize them.

The reason why job loss feels so damaging is that your work structures a lot of your daily routine. For many people, their job also provides a significant source of your identity. Moreover, work also provides a social network, a steady paycheck, and critically, a predictable routine.

Art Markman & Michelle Jack, Why losing a job deserves its own grieving process


Minding The World Within

…our argument for a mental world does not entail or imply that the world is merely one’s own personal hallucination or act of imagination. Our view is entirely naturalistic: the mind that underlies the world is a transpersonal mind behaving according to natural laws. It comprises but far transcends any individual psyche.

This notion eliminates arbitrary discontinuities and provides the missing inner essence of the physical world: all matter—not only that in living brains—is the outer appearance of inner experience, different configurations of matter reflecting different patterns or modes of mental activity.

Coming to Grips with the Implications of Quantum Mechanics


Adapting To New Ways of Being While Still Being You

IQ is the minimum you need to get a job, but AQ is how you will be successful over time.

Natalie Fratto

Fratto says AQ is not just the capacity to absorb new information, but the ability to work out what is relevant, to unlearn obsolete knowledge, overcome challenges, and to make a conscious effort to change. AQ involves flexibility, curiosity, courage, resilience and problem-solving skills too.

Amy Edmondson, a professor of leadership and management at Harvard Business School, says it is the breakneck speed of workplace change that will make AQ more valuable than IQ.

Edmondson says every profession will require adaptability and flexibility, from banking to the arts. Say you are an accountant.Your IQ gets you through the examinations to become qualified, then your EQ helps you connect with an interviewer, land a job and develop relationships with clients and colleagues. Then, when systems change or aspects of work are automated, you need AQ to accommodate this innovation and adapt to new ways of performing your role.

(Penny Locaso) suggests three ways to boost your adaptability: first, limit distractions and learn to focus so you can determine what adaptations to make.Second, ask uncomfortable questions, like for a pay rise, to develop courage and normalise fear. Third, be curious about things that fascinate you by having more conversations rather than Googling the answer, something “which wires our brains to be lazy” and diminishes our ability to solve difficult challenges

In a TED talk, (Otto Scharmer) recommends remaining open to new possibilities, trying to see a situation through someone else’s eyes and reducing your ego so that you can feel comfortable with the unknown.

Seb Murray, Is ‘AQ’ more important than intelligence?


Proactively Challenging Our Perceived Reality

We’re entering a future where IQ and EQ both matter far less than how fast you’re able to adapt (AQ).

Natalie Fratto

There’s no question that change can feel stressful, but Fratto says you can stave off that stress by working on how your mind processes new information.

One of the most helpful ways to cope with change is to think about what could happen before it actually happens, Fratto notes.

Active unlearners seek to challenge what they presume to already know, and instead, override that data with new information.

Natalie Fratto

When you think about reaching a goal at work, you probably reflect on what has worked for you in the past, and try to mimic the same process that helped you achieve success beforehand. Fratto says this thought process is common, but it could be holding you back from adapting to potential changes.

Fratto says we’re too focused on exploiting our current workflow, when we should be using exploration — “a state of constant seeking” — to see what’s around the corner.

Rebecca Muller, How Improving Your “Adaptability Quotient” Can Help You Succeed


Validating Our Experiences & Ourselves From Within

Psychologists Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow had major influence in popularizing the idea of self-concept in the west. According to Rogers, everyone strives to reach an “ideal self”. Rogers also hypothesized that psychologically healthy people actively move away from roles created by others’ expectations, and instead look within themselves for validation. On the other hand, neurotic people have “self-concepts that do not match their experiences. They are afraid to accept their own experiences as valid, so they distort them, either to protect themselves or to win approval from others.”

Self-concept, Wikipedia


The Adventure of Our Lives

Stepping off the edge of the known world and into the unknown.

For many of us, it feels like we’ve entered unprecedented times, with change now occurring at an accelerated pace. In reflecting upon this all and putting it within the context of my life’s work, I’ve suddenly realized what we are being asked to do and how it gives this unfamiliar, epic experience a sense of familiarity to it.

What we are being asked of by life is to be the explorers and pioneers of our time, just as our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents may have been, yet within a completely different contextual realm of experience.

In effect, instead of exploring, pioneering, and settling new lands at the edge of our world around us (like my parents did taming the northern frontier of Manitoba back in the fifties), we’re being asked to explore, pioneer, and settle new “lands” at the edge of our “world“ within us.

For many of us though, this is going to be an exceedingly difficult adventure to undertake. Why? Because we aren’t even aware that these inner worlds exist and don’t understand how they fundamentally help us (and also hinder us) in perceiving our world and our very sense of self.

Therefore, until we can accept that there is a much larger “world” beyond the horizon of our conventional minds, we will continue to lack the capabilities and capacities to tackle these wicked problems which are much like dragons emerging from off the edge of the known world to wreak havoc upon it.

This is going to require us to have great courage, authenticity, and creativity going forward. That’s because we need to be real creative to openly step towards the very things we normally defensively step away from and avoid. In the process, we need to learn to drop our shields, armour, and masked helms, giving us the mobility and broader vision to make possible what previously seemed impossible.

In effect, the way forward isn’t about trying to know everything, having the certainty that we know all of the answers. Rather it’s about being comfortable with not knowing everything and embracing the uncertainty of the unknown by asking the right questions. In doing so, our questions become quests that lead us on an adventure within a wilderness that we truly want to step into and explore, pulled along by something much greater than ourselves.


Wayfinding Through Our Inner Worlds

All these groups appear to rely on mental imagery for wayfinding.

Yet having a sense of place – something a GPS device will never give us – is still important. The need to know where we are, to feel safe in our surroundings, is part of the human condition. We feel this most intensely when the cognitive processes that keep us orientated go awry. The dread experienced by many Alzheimer’s patients comes from their sense of dislocation from places they used to know and a past they can no longer reach. Being lost in the wilderness triggers a comparable terror. People who have been truly lost never forget the experience. Suddenly disconnected from all that surrounds them, they are plunged into a relationship with an utterly alien world. They often believe that they are going to die.

The hippocampus even drives aspects of our cognition that, on the surface, have little to do with physical space.

The hippocampus is a universal map-maker, as good at helping us navigate our inner worlds as our outer ones.

When we don’t know where we are, we lose a sense of who we are.

Michael Bond, We Are Wayfarers


Don’t Know Where We’re Going

I don’t know where we are going now
I don’t know where we are going now

Dakota, Stereophonics

On Doing Our Part

There was a meme going around which really kind of put me in my place which was like ‘Your grandparents went to war, and you’re being asked to sit on a couch.’ Like, get the fuck with it. I talked to a couple friends who are in the workforce like cops out there sleeping in their garages, working 20 hours a day; nurses coming home and not being able to hold their children because they’re afraid they’re going to contaminate their families, then going back to work. You hear that stuff and it blows my mind because it makes me feel like I have such privilege to be able to sit around here while these people are beating themselves.

But what makes me insane is seeing that the beaches in fucking Miami are still flooded with these fucking idiots. Dude, they’re dumb fucks and it pisses me off and it really makes me insane because that’s actually the problem right there. We gotta remember our grandparents and parents have survived way worse and we can do our part here.

Sebastian Stan, On ‘Idiots’ Crowding The Beaches In Florida During A Pandemic

What It’s Like Being A Canary

Breaking free from your cage when you’re dying to feel alive and learning to fly to craft your own nest—your newer vantage point of your world.

Illustration of Canary in the Coal Mine Idiom (State Department/Doug Thompson)

In reflecting upon my last post, I was reminded of how someone once described me as a “canary in a coal mine”. In effect, I have the ability to see social patterns (i.e. culture) that can be jeopardizing to an organization and its people in turn but are often invisible to them because they don’t have the sensitivity and awareness to see them.

Of course, they joked, the canary unfortunately “dies” in the process.

And for the most part, that was symbolically true with regards to my own life, as I often reached a point where if these negative patterns weren’t addressed by the company, I found it soul-crushingly hard to stay there and see how it was affecting people, so I often quit because I couldn’t take feeling and sensing that pain on a daily basis.

In other words, the longer I stayed there, the more I had to internally shut down and compartmentalize almost my entire self, my humanity, otherwise I’d go nuts in the process. It was like being on a raft on a river approaching a huge waterfall but the people steering the raft were “navel-gazing” to a specific point in the distance, completely unaware of what was happening right under their very noses.

For the most part, this is what the past two decades have felt like for me, not just with regards to being within organizations, but with regards to being within society as well. Reality has been changing continuously, giving us warning signals, but many of us have been stuck in our bubble of beliefs, our constructed reality, oblivious to what’s been going on under our very noses.

Nevertheless some of us have been seeing these signals for some time that a new world is emerging, and communicating with others of similar vision that we need to update our maps and social constructs (i.e. institutions) to better align with the present reality of this new world arising before us.

That’s why we all need to start breaking free from our own constructed cages now, no matter how safe they may seem to be, and start learning to independently fly into the greater wilderness of the unknown.

That’s because life is no longer scripted like a superficial TV commercial but rather is now a deep, unscripted adventure. We each need to craft our own nest now, a safe sanctuary within the wilderness which we can launch our explorations from to get a broader view of this new world’s landscape before us.