Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Stop Trying to Change the World

Lat night I listened to a lecture by Alan Watts on YouTube titled: Stop Trying to Change the World. It really took me back to earlier years when I was doing a lot of studying Buddhist philosophy, and caused me to reflect a bit.

It seems that I have been running full tilt at trying to change the world for about 7 years.  Seven is significant as I often make major life changes about ever 7 years or if I start something significant it either changes or is dropped after 7 years. Two examples are: my first marriage and time to a black belt and then switch schools and styles.

Before about 7 years ago I never really tried to change the world.  I was pretty easy going and tended to be open to most things. I had an easy life and made the best choices I could with what was in front of me. I rarely got excited or expressed much emotion.  In high school I was so subdued that if you stabbed me with a pin, I would pause to think about it before saying ouch. Really, the ultimate nerd.

Sometime in 2005 I attended a local SPIN (Software Process Improvement Network) meeting.  The speaker was talking about some new concepts in software development in the area that we now call Agile and/or Extreme Programming.  I don't remember what he was calling it, but it caught my interest so I started reading related articles and books.

In 2006 I got the training to call myself a Certified Scrum Master.  I have followed the development in the Agile community ever since.  Used many of the concepts but never got a chance to work in a team that was fully embracing a complete Agile methodology.  However, staying active in the Agile community put me in the place to attend a Agile Philly meeting later in 2006 at Ternary software.  This happened to be, I think maybe one of the first public presentations of a new organizational governance system called Holacracy.

I remember the presentation well, it made a major impression on me.  Holacracy greatly expanded on the fundamental concepts that first attracted me to Agile.  After the meeting I approached the presenter, Brian the founder of Holacracy, and asked how could I join his company. I applied the next day and went through a rather novel and extensive interview process that included a full day simulation.  It was awesome, I learned so much.  This was the first signal that this may not be a good path for me, but I was so over whelmed by the implications of Holacracy and it's value for the future that I ignored my natural tendencies and grabbed hold as tightly as I could.  I tried to do everything I could to implement any piece of Holacracy into my live that was possible for where I was at the moment. And offered to do anything to help spread Holacracy.

So I was in position to attend the first 2 day Experiential seminar, and the first week long Facilitators class, I believe both were in 2007 maybe into early 2008. The Facilitators class eventually became the Certified Holacracy Practitioners class.

I worked with HolacracyOne to try and setup an Into to Holacracy near where I worked in VA, attended the first Washington DC seminar to lend whatever I could to the experience. For maybe a year I was participating in the Volunteer Circle reporting directly into HolacracyOne.  In the fall of 2008 I started a new consulting company I called HelloGovernance (the home for this blog) for the purpose of Holacracy consulting.  This was before the Licensed Consulting Firm policies were created so everything was being created as tensions arise.

In late 2008 maybe early 2009, I attended the first Certified Holacracy Instructor class.  This class was fairly quickly transformed into the current Certified Holacracy Coaches class.  With this Certification and my consulting company, in March I started hosting the first Introduction to Holacracy Webinars.  I saw a need and took individual action to fill it.  In June HolacracyOne started with Intro webinars so I stopped as the need was better filled by H1 and I wanted to keep more focus there than promote myself. I did make a number of sparsely attended public presentations. I found several companies that were willing to attend private webinars.  One company attended an hour long online simulation. It was based on a factious company called Mike's Flower Shop. It actually worked out rather well.

Coaching and training were the areas that long term I really wanted to do with Holacracy.  I have spent almost 6 years working with Toastmaster International to improve my presentation skills and through starting up and mentoring new clubs I worked on my coaching skills. But alas this was not meant to be.  I was doing contract programming which had very little time flexibility and chose that over abandoning my family to energize the HelloGovernance start up I was working on in evenings and weekends.  To much bandwidth to be able to be successful in both.  Still I really learned a lot about myself and consulting.

The effort in 2009 essentially burned me out, so in 2010 I reduced my efforts a bit from Holacracy and started writing Android apps as I had some specific apps that I wanted to use but were not likely to be written by anyone else.  Today I have 2 apps that  well received in their niche markets. Working with Holacracy was still my greatest desire so even to today it is still very much on my mind, constantly searching for ways to contribute of finding a job where I could use it and contribute to the spread of Holacracy.  I have written 2 Holacracy related apps but never published them.

20011 started major health problems leaving me with very little energy to do much more than go to work then come home and sleep.  May 2012 I got a kidney transplant which gave me back my energy.  I believe one of the first things I did when I got a smart phone in my hands after surgery was to respond to a question in the Holacracy Community of Practice.

As HolacracyOne started growing,  I believe I applied for every position. I wanted to help the advancement of Holacracy in any way that I could and the only game I saw was there. 

Never being a fit from Ternary to today, and given that my 7 year cycle is almost up, I am finally getting the message that this is not the work for which I am intended to focus on for the rest of my life.  I think 7 years is giving it a fair try. 

The Alan Watts speech really hit hard.  I so wanted to be involved with changing the world.  I have been elated, disappointed, encouraged and depressed; the greatest range of emotions in my life.  A very interesting journey.  It is time to take the Stop Trying to Change the World path.

I always have ideas to write about in this blog but recently I have not been motivated to actually write them down.  Maybe I will never write here again, who knows, but I know I will always have the ideas.

Holacracy will always hold a special place in me.  As I open up to more possibilities for the expression of my energy, I hope some day to be able to work with it again.   For now I am looking to get back on the meditation cushion as see the world through an even wider lens than the great one I developed studying and working with Holacracy.

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