The curate’s egg

Day 34: Friday 24 February

I was tempted to leave this page deliberately blank.

But that would be lazy and hiding.

The truth is, today was good and bad. (Even if I feel mostly bad)

The good

In my Reach Out practice I caught up with two wonderful architects, had a long and thoughtful discussion. About practice, about what we see and about the challenges. Also about the mindset of the profession. There was a part of the conversation that acknowledged the inability of the profession to recognise the things they need help with or even that they’ve got a problem. In a way it was affirming, in another it allowed me an excuse as to why I’m struggling.

That doesn’t sound good I realise and it’s true, it’s a big hurdle that I seem to be constantly facing and not sure how to get over or around.

But there was also a little light in that gloom.

Some understand there’s friction, and write that off to the typical challenges of the profession that’s beyond their control – not to mention taking the time to understand what causes the friction. That’s a way in. Showing them that there’s a solution to a problem they haven’t identified.

One of the problems is in the disfunction of architectural offices. Whether that’s poor time management, a compromised culture, with numerous challenges around psychological safety, which we seemed to keep looping back to in the conversation. There’s many skills involved in delivering psychological safety: leadership, trust, communication, difficult conversations, feedback, and so on.

It’s a way in, but important not to call out poor practice but instead the friction of practice. Not sure what that looks like. Not sure it’s even possible, but maybe there’s a little light in that crack.

The bad

I’ve really been spiralling.

I’m all up in my head.

Feeling frustrated, flat and frankly a bit angry with myself (and probably the world if I’m honest). Angry that I should be able to help myself. A crisis of confidence.

(A crisis I know is stupid because I’ve had two conversations in the last day, I’ve contributed to with insight, constructive ideas and helpful coachly input. It wasn’t one way. And yet…)

Lot’s a writing but so little insight. I don’t want to hide in the writing, and know I have a tendency to do that. I’ve done similar exercises to those I’m trying out, in identifying my story, what my Why is, my audacious idea, etc. But of late I feel like nothing new comes of it. Like I’m missing the big idea, the answer or that the emperor has no clothes. A bit clueless.

Wanting someone to point at the page and say “Michael that’s it! This is the answer. You’ write’ve already written it down! Can’t you see it?”

It’s really fucking with my head to the point where I can’t think or write and I’m just forcing myself to do so here.

Thanks god it’s Friday.

The week review

So clearly not a great week.

The metrics in my review reflect that.

I didn’t focus on the business.

Also symptomatic of the challenges I face.

Maybe it’s the week I had to have.

What have I learnt?

More to the point what did I need to be reminded of.

There’s always value in reaching out to connect with interesting and thoughtful people. They don’t need to give you answers but the conversation will stimulate thought, force you to talk about what you do, be a little vulnerable and maybe just see something you hadn’t before. Saying stuff out loud is different to writing it down.

If I didn’t care about this, it wouldn’t upset me.

To face these things front on. If I hadn’t chosen to I might have continues on the drip drip drip of progress, and not acknowledge the leak. At least by working through this I can make a firm decision rather than stalling and hiding.

One thing I came up with and I don’t know if it’s true or not is perhaps I need to go big and I’m hiding (and failing) in going small. I don’t know what that looks like either but it feels like it’s worth digging into.

I need to keep going to find out.

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