I know something important about you, something that you have in common with every leader, high-level expert, every friend, and parent. You are a Wayfinder.
You may argue that what you do is not Wayfinding ; you’re an expert, and you know what you’re doing. Make no mistake: I understand that education and experience got you to where you are today. But there’s more, because nothing truly, fully, adequately prepares us for things like parenting, trust-building, finding a life partner, managing a team, and for making complex decisions in volatile, uncertain, ambiguous environments.
We act like we know what to do (and often, we do know, but this “often” is sooooooo far from “always”). It is our jobs to know what to do, so we use what we know, and hope for the best. What we are really doing is Wayfinding, which is an intuition-like approach for getting to your goal through uncharted terrain. We are figuring things out as we go along.
The bad news is that Wayfinding is uncomfortable for analytical thinkers for many reasons. The other bad news is that there is simply no approach other than Wayfinding to make your way through uncharted terrain, whether it is physical terrain, like an open ocean, or social terrain, like a senior leadership team.
The good news is that we are already Wayfinding, and generally doing ok. The other good news is that we can get better at Wayfinding.
Much like Polynesian explorers, who were trained to use their whole body as an instrument, to pay attention to emotional and visceral sensations, to recognize subtle patterns and cues, we can train our sensory awareness, self-awareness, other-awareness and situational awareness to be better at Wayfinding.
Being better at Wayfinding means experiencing and causing less suffering as we move through uncharted aspects of our lives, past the programs we were prescribed to us in childhood.
What exactly does it take for you to be better at leadership, at relationships, at noticing, at responding? What does it really take to be better at your job and to have better relationships? It’s this: you’ve got to get better at Wayfinding. Get better at figuring things out, rather than at knowing more. This means having new tools, techniques and approaches for figuring things out. Get better at Wayfinding by learning to utilize all of your body to sense, to perceive, to respond.
As many of you know, when I work on a new program or think through strategy for a client, I start by baking. Some of you go for a run, a swim, or a bike ride; you cook or clean, you crochet, shoot hoops, or play a game of tennis when you need to think things through. As I make my way through the perfect gift that my Grandmother gave to me, many of the recipes in her book say: “Put as much flour as the dough takes” or “Add just enough sugar so that the dish takes so that it doesn’t taste sweet”. The funny thing is that by now, I know exactly what she means. Not because my Grandmother ever showed me the exact amounts for each recipe, but because by various means I’ve developed a sense for the right amounts. I wayfind through my Grandmother’s recipes.
Wayfinding is an approach to moving forward past the point where formal, definite, concrete, explicit data and expertise ends, and there is seemingly nothing else toward which you can orient yourself.
In the coming months, I’ll be sharing more of the “how” with you, helping analytical thinkers become better Wayfinders. Are you interested? What would be most helpful to you in this area? Please, send me a quick note and let me know.
For now, please, join me for the next class I’m teaching:
Intuition for Analytical Thinkers: Myths & Science.
Monday, 7/30, 7-9p.m., at The Game Cave NJ in Hawthorne, NJ
I’ll also be co-presenting at the Academy of Management conference in Chicago on 8/13/19. Please, ask if you want to hear more. If you want a personal approach for faster results in better Wayfinding, let’s talk about customizing a program for you together.