In a conversation I had last week with a good colleague, he shared, “I’m an artist. I just live that artistry out through the arenas that are my job, my family, and my community.”
I immediately related to the comment. I also feel that I’m an artist living out that artistry through the arenas of family, my hosting work, my coaching, my writing, my hobbies, and more. There was something freeing in it. Something attractive in it. Something independent in it. Something centered in it. Less of being driven by seemingly unending external circumstances. Less leaf being blown by the wind. More of a core that emanates from within.
That part of our conversation lead to a shared observation in our respective work with groups and teams. We both work with leadership, dialogue, and change. When that work is going well — when people gush with gratitude and the desire to do more of it — it is usually because people have just had the experience of being able to be themselves with one another. Even for a moment.
It is a beautiful “aha” to watch — “Wait a minute; I can be me here!”
I know that the fear of such freedom in many working contexts is distraction and lack of focus. Surely, if we create conditions where people can be themselves it will lead to less productivity, right?
I want so suggest that this distraction may be true some of the time — conversations do on occasion run away with themselves — but it is not true all of the time. Further, that losing that momentary feeling of “ok to be me” is like cutting off the fundamental artistry that is most needed in most professional settings. It cuts, chokes the core that is then expressed through the arena of a project, a role, a team commitment.
Yes, this last statement is rather utilitarian. Fair enough. I’ll all for getting things done in a good way together. But, maybe it is enough on some occasions to do it simply because it creates energy and life. Creating energy and life is, after all, an artistry, no?