Yesterday I was giving a webinar and talking about some core Art of Hosting practices. We spent a while covering the four fold practice and then looked at the way in which various archetypal organizational paradigms play out in different organizational settings. I was trying to emphasize the idea of “practice” so that the participants would know that there is no right way of doing this work but rather the work itself is engaging in a constant practice, a constant searching for mastery.
Towards the end of the call a participant reflected that all of this was rather too much to take in all at once. She wondered aloud how she would be able to implement it all.
This is a common problem with learning, I find. Somewhere along the line many people imagine that being in a learning situation – a class, a course, a webinar or so on – means that they will receive a direct transfer of skill which they can then go and apply. While there are some kinds of learning that work like this, most learning, especially as it applies to leadership or facilitation is rather an invitation to practice, meaning that you begin and develop a competence over your craft in application.
So how to begin?
The advice I gave our participant yesterday was to begin by noticing first of all. Take two weeks and notice where the four fold practice appears in your own life, what you do unconsciously to become present, to participate in conversation, to host space and to co-create. Make a list of places whee you do this and notice how you do this. Raise your own natural practice to the level of conscious practice so that you can use that as a basis to extend it in new ways.
Beginning a learning journey helps to set a learning cycle into practice. It starts with noticing, with acting and then with reflecting before repeating again. I sometimes think that beyond any particular skill that can be learned, the skill of active reflective learning is perhaps the most important. It is how we create a learning journey for ourselves that has the possibility of taking us to mastery.