What We Notice

At the beginning of a project or intervention, we should ideally have a plan about what we will be doing, how we will be doing it, who we will involve and what goals we will try to reach. This may seem very logical, have a rational flow to it and make sense. However, in practice it is not such a straight line.

As we are experiencing the day-to-day developments, the details of our interactions and the nuances of the ups and downs in our communication, it may seem messy and disorganized. It is easy to lose sight of the original goals and our intentions when we first started. This is when it is critical to take a moment to step back to reassess our original plans. It is important for several reasons.

One reason is that new information may become available to us that may cause us to alter our original plans. This can be a minor shift, a change in a sequence or timing, or a radical shift to creating new goals and abandoning our original plan.

Another reason may be that we just need reminding of our original intentions as we get caught up in the mayhem and minutiae of day-to-day events. It is easy to lose sight of the big picture when we are focusing on each turn in a conversation.

One example that may further illustrate these points is a project that I have been involved in for about 16 months. We had a plan to start with and that included a needs assessment up front to jointly determine the focus of the project and the necessary steps to take to complete it. This in itself was challenging because some people involved wanted more clarity up front and it was difficult to reach that point of comprehension until more information was obtained. This is somewhat of a Catch 22 as information needs to be gathered before clarity can be arrived at and this information cannot be obtained until a direction requiring clarity has been set.

After 16 months of a winding road, the first seven months being very confusing to live through, I can see the path and the rewarding development of relationships. The project we are working on with a diverse community is proving to be more enriching than I could have expressed at the beginning. I knew it could be good if we were able to survive certain turns in the development of our coming together to work effectively with one another. I did not know the details of which ways it could be good.

I like to think of the progression as moving in a forward spiral direction. A key ingredient in being able to stay with the flow and see it through to completion is trusting in the process and the people. I think we need to believe that if we stay focused and at the same time open to new possibilities, in addition to, elevating our relationships to priority status, we can move forward in this spiral trajectory. I noticed that we developed fondness for each other through appreciating who we are for what we are. While sounding like a cliché, if we are really open and trusting it can become a reality.