The Ark: Business Principles – Truth and Trust
Regular readers will by now know that I am working through planning a new business and some of that planning is taking place in real time whilst I am out and about, rather than just when I am sat at a desk.
Yesterday I read a blog post from @SAHDANDPROUD. I have been reading That Spencer Bloke’s blog for a few weeks now but have not, as yet, commented. I feel the pain he describes in some of the posts and I laugh with him at other posts; yesterday’s post though collided with something that is very important for me in a business TRUST. I have been on the receiving end of a breakdown of trust professionally and so if I am going to run a business it is essential for me that stakeholders, customers, staff and volunteers never feel a breach of trust. I wanted to reply straightaway to Spencer but I, like him, think about stuff and analyse, however sometimes that thinking happens in unusual places.
Today, quite by chance, I discovered a Labyrinth that I had no awareness of but which is readily accessible to any member of the public in Dundee. Until a few years ago I did not understand how a labyrinth differed from a maze; then I visited Holy Island in the Firth of Clyde for a Tai Chi retreat and found a small labyrinth which I walked several times.
Generally a maze offers a series of possible paths to the centre, some of which are dead ends or wrong turns. Labyrinths normally have one path that is walked from the start to the centre and back again; in Christian traditions they are often described as an alternative to making a pilgrimage and in many cultures they are seen as an opportunity to meditate.
So I started to walk the labyrinth and was thinking about the important aspects of my business plans when ‘That Spencer Bloke’ appeared in my head! It is quite frightening having a total stranger pop into your head in mid-contemplation …
… since the labyrinth only offers one path, I did not need to think about which turning to take – I just had to trust the path would lead to the centre. Because one trusts the path to take the lead and show the way one can concentrate on just the next step.
For most of us when we take a step we trust that our muscles, ligaments and bones will hold us up and we will not fall over – but we don’t ask our body this every step, it involves unconscious trust; consequently if we do lose our balance, wobble or fall we lose a little confidence because our trust was misplaced? however we quickly regain that trust unless the fall becomes a regular occurrence.
On the way to the centre I did not notice the rose quartz stone (slightly below centre here); on the way out the sunlight caught it and it glittered at me. Same path, same stone but different impact. Yet if you look at the whole photograph the pattern of the pebbles looks fairly constant?
And standing in the centre the paths all look as if they are just concentric circles, yet their twists and turns made them much more ‘intertwined’ which you only appreciate from walking the path as it takes you to towards the middle then back to the edge before veering centrewards again.
It took me around half an hour to walk this labyrinth from start to centre and back to start; I focused on keeping my steps even and rhythmical and only looked at the whole from the start and again from the centre. It did occur to me that I could do my Tai Chi (Daoyin Poem) in the centre but I was feeling a little overlooked to do so.
Spencer, especially if you never have, I would like to suggest you find a labyrinth near you (there are websites that list them by location) and when you have a little time go and walk a labyrinth. Don’t start off meditating just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other; keep your eyes down instead of trying to work out where the path is going and trust yourself not to fall and trust the path to lead you. As you build up your trust in yourself and the path you will be better enabled to start to trust others.
I tend to trust anyone until they give me good reason not to but sometimes I have to take a risk until I know whether there really is good reason to not trust and that requires me to trust myself. We each need to be honest about our trust in others – that can only start by being honest about our trust in ourselves. Sometimes telling a truth leaves us exposed to hurt – but not being truthful leaves not only us exposed to hurt but everyone else too.
I have a reputation for speaking honestly, even if it not what the listener wishes to hear. I do not speak without thinking and I do not speak the truth to deliberately hurt but everyone can trust what is said. I am able to do so because I trust in my judgement of what is true; only when you trust yourself Spencer will you be able to trust anyone else.
I will be building this labyrinth experience into my business planning and considering it alongside ‘forecasting’ as a business tool.