Embrace disruption. It has within it a wealth of richness and opportunity. As Hilary Clinton once remarked, “Never waste a good crisis.”
I remember a professor saying he resented the interruptions of his students whilst he was doing his work – until he realised the interruptions were his work.
I love the work of Margaret Wheatley. I was introduced to her by Jim McNeish of Cantle, and her writing is inspiring. Meg argues that the universe in general and organisations in particular are programmed towards order and balance, not chaos, and that if left alone, will become more ordered, though not necessarily how we human beings would want or like of course. Read her Leadership and the New Science, and A Simpler Way. (They’re masterpieces on the latest thought about how organisations work in the light of quantum physics. Eye-opening, and maybe a little disruptive?!)
Now to the essence of this blog: Disruption is essential to healthy life and growth; it is massively beneficial and needs to be understood for what it is. It is the collective name we give to the rockfalls in our journey that develop us… or as a motorbiking friend once remarked, the adventure doesn’t really begin till the breakdown truck arrives! At that moment you decide to go on or turn back.
At a recent meeting in our church (we met in the pub that night) we asked people whether they would want to NOT have those difficult experiences, the disruptions, in their lives, now knowing what they brought. Unanimously no one wanted to be without the lessons. All had found the value of the pain, the trauma, the life-altering catastrophe, and received it.
Do I think that all disruption is 100% good? No of course not. However, reading the stories of holocaust survivors, those who have come through the death of loved ones or profound physically disabling injury, the subtext is that there is some percentage of benefit, however small, and it is the determined choice to ensure that ‘good’ comes out of ‘evil’ that makes the man or woman a better person.
No need to volunteer for catastrophe this week then, but when the disruption hits (for the person determined to live life at the boundary rather than the centre, it’s not a case of ‘if’) soften your heart and pay attention to what we call in coaching the ‘good learning’ available to you. That ‘good learning’ will change the direction of your life for the better if you let it. Better or bitter, is a matter of personal choice.
At some time in the future, when you are able to look back from a safer place, don’t be surprised if you find yourself breathing a barely perceptible but honest …