Recently Mummy shark and I were chatting about a new course she’s starting next month. She runs a brilliant consulting firm that deals mainly with change management. Helping organizations go through (and maximize) the inevitable change in the environments they operate in. I describe her business as a small giant. Vibrant, focused, and good at what they do. She is a thought leader in her field If reviews by her clients are anything to go by.
She told me that this new course will equip her to focus her lens better on people and therefore serving them better in their organizations. I was engaged in this conversation partly because she mentioned the word lens. As a great photographer in the making (positive self-talk is key in these times folks hehe) camera lenses have become important accessories to me. Just like a good wristwatch or golf clubs.
I told her that she’s just given me the story for this week. I’m planning to travel to the Masai Mara next week. I hope to catch what is left of the wildebeest migration. I’m polishing my camera lenses to ensure I catch some awesome shots displaying the delicate balance of life between the hunter and the hunted. In my photography classes last year our lecturer told us that lenses tend to be more expensive than cameras. I found that odd initially but with time (and some experience now) I agree. Of course, you need to be well conversant with your camera to optimize its capabilities. But a good powerful lens will capture shots that even the naked eye is incapable of doing.
The more you zoom in the clearer the details and sharpness of the image. I related the chat with mummy shark with our inbuilt human lenses. If well developed (through learning) we can zoom in on individuals and see beyond their outward appearances. We will have the ability to focus on the lives of those we interact with and see whatever makes them tick. Our human lens will most likely see clearly why people do what they do. We can, therefore, be able to help them from a point of intimate knowledge if they allow us to. I think psychiatrists and therapists have honed this skill of zooming in over time
This pandemic has been one mega lens, to say the least. It has exposed our lives like an MRI machine. We have learned and discovered so much over such a short time. The layers of our lives are being peeled fast and furious. We have been forced to prioritize the need to focus on our personal wellbeing. Most of us focused on our businesses, projects, and organizations much more before corona showed up. Even when we needed to work on self it was in the context of an organization or other structure that we were part of.
I believe this has contributed a lot to the limited knowledge we have of ourselves. And that’s what makes self-exploration scary and uncomfortable. The busyness we escape to (more like addicted to) has been socially distanced from us. Now there are few projects if any so we have become the projects and that’s frightening to many of us. Our internal lens is now turned on us and we have been brought sharply into focus like a deer in the headlights. Looking inwards has become a personal pandemic. It may get worse before it gets better and that maybe the overhaul we need to thrive in the new normal ahead.
I recently enrolled for a leadership program that’s aimed at mulikaing (exposing) both my strengths (the ones I’m aware of and not) and my weaknesses. We’ve had two sessions so far and I approach them with curious trepidation. I’m determined to be the best version of myself and that’s what’s keeping me walking into the expose of my life. It feels like those John Allan Namu underworld exposés we use to watch on KTN. Only that this time it’s about me and my life.
Thankfully I’m in that crucible (that’s what the founders call it) with a bunch of good authentic humans. We shall hopefully lean and glean from each other and in the process expose and activate the brilliance in each of us. Folks as we soldier on I pray we will be more accepting of our shortcomings (and unfinished businesses), interrogate them and make the necessary adjustments. May we summon the courage to stop running from that which frightens us and confront it. That will release its power over us. Zooming in on our inner selves helps uncover the scars life has dealt us. We then wear them as badges reminding us that we overcame and are still here. The scar remains but our perception of it changes. It becomes more enabling than limiting.
Folks, we mustn’t walk this discovery journey alone because we may be overwhelmed by what we find and not recover. We are living in a dangerous world, now even more dangerous with this invisible enemy. If there was ever a time we needed to focus the lens on ourselves it is now. But I highly recommend we do it with people whom you have granted meddling rights over your life. And remember if you focus your lens on others then be comfortable with them focusing theirs on you too. As iron sharpens iron so does one man sharpen another, the Good book teaches.
Industrialist William Durant advises us how to properly focus the lens on people and ourselves too. He says, “Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it”
I’m a guy so it’s difficult for me to multitask between writing an article next week and trying to photograph the crocs having lunch without me being the lunch. Please excuse me for next week. We resume the week after when I return from the bush.