I started using the term “brain-trust” in 2003 while working on a case for support for a proposed non-profit. I was working with a powerhouse of a businesswoman who made stuff happen. It seems like she knew everyone in Seattle and how to get them to accomplish great things. It was she who taught me “the more people in the brain-trust the better” which I have used ever since to express my need for gathering information and, with the right people, collaborating.
But recently I have begun to question where some brains seem to be leading us. For example, in the age of BIG DATA…maybe all this desire for counting is making us a little crazy. I mean seriously…say this outloud: “we are googling analytics”. That seems slightly odd, doesn’t it? I wonder…while we are busy looking at the graphs – how many sessions, users, bounces, conversions, and clients……are we forgetting our SELVES and possibly, even each other? Do we really need to measure everything?
I came across Seth Godin speaking to a group and reminding the audience that the Industrial age, when we counted products off the manufacturing line, has slipped away and we are, instead, in the revolution of CONNECTION. “The question, as we move from an industrial economy that cherishes compliance to a connected economy that prizes achievement, is this: Are we supporting this shift with a culture that encourages us to dream important dreams?”
And to do that – you have to be willing, as Godin said, to create a culture where it is safe to fail. Safe to let the analytics hover wherever they may – so that I might let courage stand right next to fear and cheer her on.
It reminds me that I when I am creating for the sake of counting clicks and conversions – I need to check in and make sure I also have a metric for the most important action: connecting. After all, just because I can type and you can type back doesn’t mean we are connecting.
Which brings to me to one of my own personal SuperPowers… noticing the subtle shifts in the body – that can only happen when I make time to meet you face to face. Those moments of somatic truth – that tell me to wait, or ask another question, or breathe so you will too – are reserved for the places where we meet in real time and share a physical space as well as a mental one. It is only in person that I am able to use my experience and skill in being deeply present and noticing when the body tells me what the mind is still considering. And it is this connection that makes the difference for both clients and colleagues.
So, the next time your desire to work on your business makes you want to check the analytics, check your calendar instead and ask …who can you reach out and touch? Who can you take a walk with, scribble notes with on a napkin over a cup of tea? Who can you dream big dreams with? And most important, are any of those people ones who will encourage you to make products that have meaning and do marketing that matters?
If you can’t be face-to-face, do the next best thing, be voice-to-voice. This past week, I spent time with 4 of the 30 doulas who have purchased my Childbirth Education curriculum platform. I listened to their fears and hopes and used one of my other SuperPowers…listening deeply. And perhaps my favorite one….asking the right questions. Sometimes the questions bring silence. Sometimes tears. And this is where I give gratitude that I am able to witness the next moment…the moment when truth begins to smolder and inspiration sparks. And then the flames of creativity heat up.
This is “the zone” for me…where my mind moves quickly and that above ground perspective comes in. As a result, a so-so flyer or poster became a stand-out one. A general marketing plan became a laser-like strategic plan. Language and messaging changed to recognize and highlight value and, as result, we FEEL valued.
Recently, I coined the term, “Heart-Trust” to refer to that group of people (usually within my very small brain trust) who I trust to do a heart/soul check-in with – – that essential activity of holding the whys of my business goals up for a reality check –to see if they balance with the rest of/all of me. Choose these people wisely. They need to be the kind of friends who would, as Brene Brown says, “move a body”. The heart trust is where I can be especially vulnerable and authentic without fear of being judged or misunderstood.
If you are lucky, like me, you might find some of your Heart Trust people come from your Brain Trust.
Here, I get critical, honest feedback combined with sophisticated skill and elegant experience.
That is a powerful combination.
Who is in your heart trust?