Ian Ellison on his Beyond the Workplace Street Wisdom – 24 July 2014

#BtWC Street Wisdom

I pretty much wrote this post on my way home from a fascinating afternoon in the glorious, baking heat of London. This Thursday was the first ‘official’ #BtWC activity to challenge and consider what the future of work could aspirationally be, hosted by @dds180, @ChrisKane55, @KateGL, @davidmicklem and @SimonHeath1.

I was there with Bob Seddon (the newly appointed chair of the @BIFM_UK Workplace SIG), @ChrisMoriarty3 (surely the best surname in the country?!) and about 50 other intrigued participants, keen to learn what #StreetWisdom was all about.

My question, as part of the #BtWC initiative, was “is territory a good or a bad thing?” and my experience was more than illuminating! I’ve written a full post about it here.

Ian Ellison of Sheffield Hallam University

Street Wisdom features in The Sunday Times

When Street Wisdom was conceived, we realised very quickly that its success was only possible if those that participated shared their enthusiasm for it both by facilitating their own events and also by talking about it afterwards. We see Street Wisdom as a ‘movement’ and, as with any political or social movement, we need people to help us spread the word about it. Happily, following a few months of our Street Wisdom Spring (as we affectionately call it), we are now seeing the green shoots of the movement really taking hold. Bloggers who have participated have been blogging and the press is now paying us some attention.

So we’ve set up a new page on our website, ‘In the News’, to share with you what other people are saying about Street Wisdom including press articles such as last weekend’s Sunday Times article. We hope that the content that is on there now represents just the first of many more articles yet to come. Please keep sharing Street Wisdom with your own communities (why not direct them to the new Press page?), ask them to join our community and, above all, host your own events. We hope to be reading more enthusiasm-infused blogs in the coming weeks.

Sunday Times 22ndJune14

Trafalgar Square, May 23rd 2014

Our BIG Street Wisdom event to mark the climax of “Wisdom Spring” was amazing.   Huge thanks to Georgina and of course our generous, Street Wiz volunteers who guided the groups through their experience.    A crowd of new-comers showed up as well as past ‘grads’ who were returning to go deeper and further.   As usual there were some great stories to tell. We have gathered together links to a selection of the blogs and feedback here.

SW drawing of inside head May '14

Simon Heath on his blog say’s ‘I’m not someone who is easily convinced. That I came away from Street Wisdom determined to tell everyone else about my experience and to encourage others to take part is testament to the unobtrusive facilitation, intelligent inquiry and transparent passion of David Pearl and his fellow travellers. A renaissance in thinking is under way.’

He was also good enough to draw the inner workings of his mind…

David D’Souza calls it  ‘ the best development event I have ever attended‘.   Again well worth a read.

Ian Sanders writes ‘I kept an open mind and saw how my surroundings gave me signals. Yes, ‘the street’ gave me a fresh direction on my work challenge; by looking around and being more mindful of my surroundings I was able to see things from a new perspective.’

He has kindly shot a Q&A with David as well.

Kate Griffiths-Lambeth writes ‘I found my time with Street Wisdom a powerful and positive experience, so much so that I spontaneously created a mini Street Wisdom session on Friday for two employees at work, whom I do not know well. I was aware that they both were struggling with different issues in their lives. I felt that they might benefit from time to give themselves space to think things out. It worked brilliantly, all three of us were glowing when we returned to the office and I was delighted to have been able to facilitate the experience for them.’

We had some lovely sketches to illustrate the experience.

SW drawing flower May '14

SW drawing invisible woman May '14

Then there is the post from Nick Hammond published here previously and  Natalie Marsland tells her full story below;

‘We all met in Trafalgar Square. I never really hang out in that area, I must say. But that’s where we would meet our group’s facilitator, Sarah Sansom. With a twinkle in her eye she sent us off on our various tasks, a 40 minute “warm up”, attuning with the environment, London’s streets.  We had been asked to prepare a question, not to find a yes/no kind of response, but an open question…I shall share mine with you.

I asked, “How can I stop fear blocking me from right action?”

A broad stroke but I meant to apply this question across life, love, career, and so I took to the streets once more to see what came back at me.  Using the techniques we had used in our “warm up”, I applied this to my quest. At first it felt a bit overwhelming, but I slowed myself down, kept an open approach to the whole thing and began to see Soho in a different light; the people, the patterns. Where were the answers going to spring from? I did not know…

I decided to take a seat in a church courtyard on Wardour. I went inside the gate and sat. I sat and I just stopped. My question was rolling around in my head, on a loop. It was really beautiful. I’d never been in here before; walked past it hundreds of times. There is so much greenery in London and I let myself be drawn to it.   So there I was sitting in the courtyard, and my gaze fell upon the open gate, which lead on to the street.

“The gates are open. You need to step through.” Um…ok.

That’s what came to me; I have no idea why. Anyway, I continued cruising into Soho and passed the comic bookshop on the corner of Berwick and something. Two books popped out at me, “Adventure Time” and “Beautiful Darkness”. Hmmm; noted.

Next I walked further up Berwick and just sat on a bench for a bit, waiting to feel drawn in a particular direction. I looked across the street and saw a new store was about to launch. It was totally covered in posters saying “Find Me My Mojo”.

My question began to refine itself…”How can I embrace fear and stop blocking right action?”

Again the question rolled around in my head.   By now I had found myself at the top of Carnaby. I was walking past some café chain and in the window two stickers, in succession, read –

YES to adventure; YES to what’s next.

From here I began to practically skip along to the final destination where we would all gather once more.  My last little gem was discovering Soho Radio…did you know this place existed? It’s a tiny coffee joint in front, radio station out back…neon signs, posters, rough around the edges. What a find!

Street Wisdom reaffirmed for me how I get the most out of life, how I access this toolbox. It’s funny because I actually practise what I would call Street Wisdom when I go travelling, yet back in London, the pace can take its toll.   But words, words, words on a page will never replace an actual experience.

All I can say is get involved. Answers are everywhere.’

Jim with his Street Wisdom crew