Where are our curious disruptors?

This blog will start with a confession. I am a curious disruptor. One of my favourite questions is why? One of my preferred ways of fixing something is to get disruptive.

Why are curious disruptors important?
They are the people who bring about a change in attitude, culture, and bravery. They are the people that empower. Mainly through their actions and people seeing what they are doing and achieving. But also they bring hope, they allow others to see that the status quo, the “that’s how things are done here” can be challenged and changes can be made.

They are a glimmer of light that confirms to colleagues there can be a different way. They are the people who get talked about and that their successes become the foundations for others to build upon.

Without them we continue on the path of same old same old.

But their greatest importance is their resilience. They will have many failures for the few successes that you see. None of those failures will have had any effect on their curiosity, if anything they will have fuelled it more, made them curious as to why they failed.

So what do I mean?
What is a curious disruptor (my definition anyway)?

Someone who sees an issue, digs around, asks questions (mostly the Why? based questions) and then tries to find a solution. They will make suggestions, gather information, discuss with colleagues, and investigate. They gather information and make recommendations.

They will gather likeminded people around them, in many cases not intentionally, but they will form groups. These may be close colleagues who join their quest, or they may be colleagues from elsewhere in the organisation who want to emulate their good work.

As well as disrupting they will be spreading the word and this will be heard. People who are wanting to know that improvement is what we do here will hear their examples, reach out to find out how they did it. Their curiosity will drive them to deliver their own improvements.

Quite often they will find themselves as accidental role models. I say accidental because in the way of compassionate leaders they are fairly altruistic and chasing the greater good. Wanting to deliver improvement, not necessarily to be recognised as the bringer of change, just wanting to improve situations.

Ok, so you can see the curious element of it, but why the disruptor?
Disruptor because they are tenacious, they will keep raising and discussing the issue and trying to find a route to resolution. As part of this they may identify other issues earlier in the process and pause their original quest to address these issues and deliver more improvement.

They are tenacious and when they find blockers they look for other routes, they add to their scope and they push on. They disrupt all around them, colleagues, systems, processes, established thinking. All of it from that curiosity and mostly from those Why? Questions.

A note of caution
So if all of that has got you excited and questioning if you know any curious disruptors or even if you are a dormant curious disruptor waiting to be awakened I wanted to add a note of caution.

It is a fine line between being a chaotic disrupter and just being chaotic. Don’t lose sight of why you started, that the goals are and that the main focus is on improvement, making things better for those around you be

Lockdown lows

It has been quite a while now since I last published a post here. Well before lockdown in fact. My focus had wandered slightly, and although I have lots of post in various states in my drafts, I hadn’t done anything to progress them. They are all good posts but I had lost my mojo a little.

Then we got to Feb 2020, for me the point where things at work started to get a little bit hectic, and more than a little bit strange as we tried to prepare for the unknown. I work for the National Health Service and all of our focus was shifting from the day to day on to news of a pandemic, national guidance, estimates, projections and (it felt at the time and also still on reflection) guesswork.

My work days became longer, my energy and focus zapped before I managed to get home. So all thoughts of blogging were put to one side, and self awareness, self care and adaptation became the order of the day.

I am not going to lie I have found the last 14 months really trying. Lots of changes in all aspects of life, ridiculous amount of change at work. More stress than usual and less distractions, my usual ways of relaxing no longer available. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate change (such irony as the majority of my recent career has been implementing change projects).

My work location changed from my usual base, to one closer to home and eventually, as with many of us, to working from home, mostly through the medium of video calls. This was a benefit in some ways as it removed my commute, but a massive issue for the same reason – which meant my start and finish times were now covering what was my commute.

In lockdown one, we made a concerted effort to clear out our garage and bought some gym equipment. My morning commute was replaced with a morning workout and I reclaimed some of my personal time back from work. In the evening we finished on time so that we could have a walk around the block before dinner.

During this time we started cooking more meals from scratch, had many restarts of health eating, grown our own food. I have developed a new interest in gardening (though I prefer the landscaping and hard labour elements as I have no patience for the growing and nurturing aspects). I have read a lot, built some Lego sets, drank many new beers and wines. Had takeaway food, coffee, wine, cocktails and beer from local places that I love, in an effort to support them and keep them going.

It wasn’t all bad, although work has been difficult and challenging, I have achieved a lot and currently I am delivering some massive projects. Things that will make a big immediate impact, but that will have an impact for many years. Every day working relationships across my service, department and out to patients and providers have all changed and improved. My stock is worth a lot more and my profile higher than ever.

There have been a lot of things I have learned about myself also.
It has to be said, I am not a great people person. My preference is a small number of very close friends, with a number of sociable friends outside that group. That’s where most of my energy goes. I always enjoy meeting new people, and they drift in and out of the sociable group. But the core remains fairly static.

Truth be told, I am a bit miserable and grumpy, think Oscar the grouch but less green and not living in a trash can, that’s my vibe. I do like people, I just struggle to tolerate them. Which means I am ok with socialising but on my terms. One of which is I really, REALLY don’t like being touched. Huggers who greet people they don’t know with hugs make me shudder.

So in some ways, social distancing has been good for me, no contact, larger distance between tables etc. Perfect. I am dreading going back to ‘normal’. But I have realised I need to be more sociable and I *DO* need to have more people in my life.

My online presence is the total opposite of real life me. Online I am very welcoming, sociable and chat to anyone. This is mainly as there is 100% less chance of hugs socialising on line.

Anyway I digress, that core group of friends has really kept me sane during this weird time. Zooms (never every thought I would enjoy this experience), WhatsApps, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter conversations. Following what people are up to and seeing pictures has been great.

But above all else, the one thing that has absolutely kept me sane and grounded during this time has been walking. Mostly alone, sometimes with my long suffering partner, a few times with friends. I have walked miles, along the coast, in the mountains, through town, on the beach, on the moors. If you can walk it I have. I’ve seen familiar places, new views, sunrises, snow storms, fog, rain, explored, got lost, walked the same route hundreds of times.

Every working day I do between 3.5 and 5 miles before I start work. It is great time to think, process, order, plan and focus. It has helped me reset my headspace and get ready for work and challenges.

As lockdown eases I hope to take some of these new habits forward. Gardening I will have to as it now needs maintenance, walking I have always enjoyed. But I am determined to be more sociable and meet new people (and spend time with them).

I hope lockdown has been kind to you, and as we emerge I hope you have some changes that you wish to hold on to. Have you?

Do you suffer from ANTS?

At this point we may be talking about different Ants, I am not talking about the small, hard working, itch provoking insect ants, no definitely not. The ANTS I am referring to are Automatic Negative Thoughts.

This is something that affects me massively and in conjunction with my Imposter Syndrome can leave me with crippling self doubt and almost incapable of working. Tasks that I know I am more than capable of completing seem impossible. Continue reading

I hate you, but love how you make me feel

Sub HeadingMy relationship with running. That was the real title, but lets face it, that wouldn’t have grabbed your attention half as easily.

Running is something I have never ever enjoyed, at one stage of my life I used to say ‘nothing in life is worth running for, there will be another train or bus, the only reason to run is if someone is chasing you with a weapon‘. Continue reading

Just relax ……

A while ago when I was writing my ‘about me’ for this blog I asked my friends to send me words that described me or sprung to mind when they thought of me. These were then worked in with my own thoughts. This is not an experiment I will ever do again (it wasn’t bad it just made me uncomfortable (I don’t take praise and compliments well)). Continue reading

Finding a new normal.

A few months ago I wrote a post on how I stay grounded when things in my life are challenging. In it I shared with you the steps I take when I feel low and want to connect to when times were good.

The things that I spoke of rely mainly on life being relatively normal, and at that point I had no idea that our whole view on what normal is would change so dramatically, and that life would take such a dramatic turn. Continue reading

The lies we tell ourselves

There has been a lot of Be Kind talk recently, following the loss of Caroline Flack (even though the sentiment was shorter lived than the hashtag) and a lot of it’s OK to not be OK posts.

Most of this sentiment is focussed on us being nicer to others, more understanding, helping others see it’s OK to not be OK. Continue reading