Working in an Alternative Workstyle can feel a bit like working in the dark. One of the most frustrating aspects I hear is the general lack of feedback….on anything. Often times, those who choose to work in an alternative workstyle are their own bosses, which is great; but it’s not so great if you’re still trying to move your career forward and need feedback to guide you along the way.
When I worked for others, I could usually count on a performance review or two, whether formal or informal. Positive, negative, frequent, or scarce, these bits of feedback helped me find my way.
Without feedback from others, we seek it in the strangest places in an urgent desire to confirm our way. Some check Google analytics seeking solace in website metrics, others compulsively check social media traffic, and then there are others who look outside for “signs” indicating they are heading down the right path.
Someone close to me recommended the book by Martha Beck “Finding Your Way in a Wild New World”. The book is a wonderfully wacky read that can only be recommended by someone close to you, otherwise you’ll think they are off their rocker.
In its essence, the book teaches how to recognize feedback provided in nature (the oneness) in order to navigate through life’s journey (wayfinding). Since, my analytic reports are deceptive and my social media circle is intentionally small, feedback from those sources are rather unsatisfying, and downright frustrating. But since I love the outdoors, and I love to make connections where seemingly there are none, finding feedback by dropping into “wordlessness”, and being guided by “oneness”, seems like a pretty interesting alternative.
The funny thing is, it’s actually working for me. In start-up jargon, our company is a “social transformer”, meaning we are trailblazing with an idea we have. There is no path before us. Yet after reading this book, I’m finding more confidence and confirmation in my decisions than ever before, and actions that seemed impossible are happening at lightening speed.
The other night I was thinking hard about what we were doing as a company, and all the steps that were ahead of us to take our business the next level. I was thinking about all the companies out there that compete with us on some primary or secondary level and how they impact the space we are in. I was starting to feel anxious, perhaps overwhelmed, maybe a little doubtful.
Suddenly, I was interrupted by this very loud, very annoying buzzing sound. I looked up, and not more than two feet from me, a little hummingbird hovered, facing directly at me. It held itself suspended there for several seconds before it took off. Long enough for me to get out of my thoughts, see its presence, and question “why on earth is a hummingbird hovering around my head?”
Deciding to wear my Martha Beck hat, I opted to look up what Martha might think was the meaning of such a unique offering of nature. To my surprise I read Native American cultures view hummingbirds as a symbol of joy and balance. ”Hmm”, I thought, “this is ultimately why we started our company, to help us balance our work needs better.” Reading further, I discovered hummingbirds symbolize “the accomplishment of that which seems impossible.” Bingo.
With that little bit of feedback, my anxiety and doubts melted away. My strategic vision narrowed, and with acute clarity was able to visualize the immediate next steps. I realized that although at times it may feel what we want to accomplish is impossible, step-by-step we make it possible. As that hummingbird took off, I knew in my heart that our business will too.
The next day someone we had met years ago had resurfaced in our lives and is now in a position to guide us through our immediate next steps. The perfect person, entering our lives at the perfect time. Coincidence or Wayfinding?