Wikipedia defines the term “walkabout” as “a rite of passage where male Australian Aborigines would undergo a journey during adolescence and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months. In this practice, they would trace the paths, or ‘songlines’, that their peoples’ ceremonials ancestors took, and imitate, in a fashion, their heroic deeds.” An alternative term in Wikipedia refers to a Walkabout as a “disambiguation.”
When’s the last time you engaged in “disambiguation”?
Oh, and you don’t have to be a male.
Folks tend to take personal and professional stock of themselves each December. You know, what they did and didn’t “achieve” or “accomplish” in the past year. It’s “natural” (?) in the sense that the fiscal year is coming to an end, the tax year is coming to an end and people are going to be evaluated by management. In other words, you feel as though you are self-evaluating. Yet it’s pretty much all about how you measure up in someone else’s eyes.
January becomes a clean slate. If you are in sales, it’s all about “forget what you did last year and the accolades you earned – what have you done for me lately?” Yikes! I’m only as good as my last sale in the eyes of management? If you are in a technical field, it’s more like whether you were able to not only bring in but also manage projects on time and at or under budget… especially last year. It’s a measurement of not only your technical acumen but your “people” skills. You know, that right-brain left-brain interface that is hardly a natural place for most engineers .
Again, your sight line is focused on someone else’s idea of how you should be measured.
What is your own horizon, your own personal benchmark? How can you determine your personal benchmark, even your starting point?
How ambiguous are you? To yourself?
Walkabout. I’m taking a week in February to do a lot of technical, sales and, yes, spiritual reading. I need to catch up…. not with my reading… but with myself. Where am I at? How has the sum total of everything that I have accomplished in 2009 affected my perspective and approach to business and life moving forward in 2010? After all, I’m the only person that can write my own Operating Manual. I can’t write it if I don’t take the time to understand just what type of equipment I am operating.
Disambiguate. I’m taking a week in February to learn best practices about becoming better at planning and conducting Webinars. And I’m going to be composing a theme and game plan for lacing these webinars throughout my blog. I’ve got some great business associates online who are tremendous thought leaders in their own right. When we guest blog or conference call it’s synergy. There’s a lot to offer to our online communities.
Marinate. I’m taking a week in February to mentally marinate some new paradigm thinking regarding how decisions are made and how the traditional and consultative sales processes may be incomplete. I’m studying innovation, its sources, how to encourage my customers to embrace the risk associated with innovation and discover who, within their organizations, are true innovators.
Find your spiritual coordinates. I’m taking a week in February to reconnect to the Who is responsible for the journey that I’m on and that we all are on. As far as I know, we all have only One Ultimate Reporting Relationship. Sometimes we lose sight of this factor when we are chasing someone else’s performance goals.
Whether you have 30 minutes per week or a weekend a month or a week per year, go on a Walkabout. Every year. While I have been blogging about how the new global economy will force businesses to recalibrate, we all should recalibrate each year. It’s not just a matter of taking stock of our successes and failures – usually economically or professionally related.
Disambiguate yourself. I am. Let’s take the time to clarify, define and, quite frankly, get to know ourselves. We will make ourselves less ambiguous, more consistent and clear to others. Our thoughts and ideas are not compartmentalized but are stored in readily accessible areas in our brains where they can be combined and recombined for innovative strategies and solutions.
Walkabout. Something you need to decide to do rather than being forced into a situation of self-evaluation by your bosses. It’s your operating system. No one else. You write the operating manual.
Think about it. What is the value of disambiguation in your life?