Introducing “Grey Matters” Blog
Here I will post my blogs, musings and learnings on leadership and coaching, a series I’ve
called Grey Matters. This has multiple meanings for me and hopefully for you also.
Grey as in not black and white, right or wrong, good and bad, left or right. As I become more tolerant, compassionate and empathetic I have become more and more curious about the personal story of everyone I meet. Our stories are as unique as our fingerprints and always interesting if one is courageous and compassionate enough to ask a few open questions. I find people are often very happy to tell their story to a good listener and I have yet to hear an uninteresting story. As I listen my views may be either reinforced or challenged and I have a personal contract with myself not to judge (which does not mean to not disagree) and have an open and compassionate heart. Listening well is a skill that takes practice and is so rewarding, for both the listener and those being listened to. In the fast paced social media driven world we live in it seems no one has time to listen, but when you do it is so worthwhile. As I actively listen and reflect I am more convinced than ever that almost every view and opinion I have lies somewhere on a spectrum of grey.
Grey hair reflects my ageing years and maturity, with a little more wisdom and experience to offer. In the last few years my desire for learning seems to have been supercharged. I have become fascinated with how we as humans think, feel and behave. I have been delving in to psychology and neuroscience and the more I learn the more I want to learn. As a dyslexic with a very slow reading speed I have been frustrated in the past by my inability to consume the information I want to, but two things have changed that for me significantly. I have discovered both podcasts and audio books. Now I can do most of my “reading” and learning through these two brilliant resources and have a system that helps things stick! I listen and when I hear something I want to note and remember I make a voice memo on my phone or watch and later I transcribe these voice memos to my daily journal. This three step process - listen, record, transcribe - has really helped me retain so much more information than I ever used to.
Grey matter references my brain itself. What is fascinating about the learning referenced above is my new understanding of how we can actually change the way our brains work, and that our brains wiring is changing with every interaction we have in life. This is a genuine game changer. The old nature or nurture debate is evolving and it’s definitely both! Genetics give us our DNA blue print and now epigenetics reveal that other factors can influence the dominance of various genes. The fact that, after a half hour meet up for coffee with a friend, your brain has literally rewired as a result of that chat is somewhat mind blowing (pun intended). This knowledge challenges me to be a little more thoughtful about the various healthy verses toxic situations we all put ourselves in, as they may influence our developing thought processes, values and beliefs. I certainly encourage everyone to practice their own critical thinking and not be afraid to question things that don’t sit right - listen to your gut, because it’s actually connected to your mind.
Grey matters, finally, is a reference to issues that are important for those, like me, approaching retirement - what I like to call “pretirement” - and who might be facing an existential crisis as their career comes to an end. So many of us identify as what we do rather than who we are. I’ve been an optometrist since 1987 but for most of my life I have not identified as an optometrist, rather it’s the job I’ve done, along with several other jobs - training director, IT director, entrepreneur and coach. How may of you, if asked the question “who are you?“ would answer “I’m an optometrist, accountant, lawyer, executive, consultant, doctor, engineer etc. Is that who you are, or is that what you do? Take the profession away and what are you? Who are you?
In this blog I will be sharing more about my own journey and particularly the things that have helped me along the way. I’ll share about some of the latest thinking and research on leadership, personal development, team building and more.
Many of you will have faced or are facing similar challenges that I have over the years and may like someone to help you on your own quest of discovery. I can assure you it’s an exciting place to be and I’d be delighted to share that with you.
If you’d like me to listen to your story please reach out via the contact page and let’s arrange a chat.
Thanks for reading,