Pedaling through Surprises

As independent professionals, things pop up in our inbox which are unexpected.  We often have to weigh in a short period of time if we move forward or say “no.”

Just a short time ago, something interesting showed up.  We said “yes” because we were curious, and the adventure began.  The request came in to give a talk in less than two weeks at a major financial group. They gave us some possible topics their audience may be interested in.  We picked the one that we felt was probably the most challenging around influence, buy-in, and alignment.  We pitched our take on this topic from a mobility mindset and they rapidly agreed.  

We spoke to the organizers in an online call to better understand their group and their needs.  We got to know how their group learns, how they like to engage, and what helps them connect to the learning.  The organizing team emphasized they connected to failure stories, the lessons to learn from them, and the culture around online interaction. Bascially chat was good and breakout rooms always scattered participation where most would drop.

When we were introduced to the audience, we realized the organizers identifed us as the headliners. For just a brief moment, both of us were thinking “What??? A Keynote!!!!” We often say “Prepare to be Surprised”.   So what prepared us for an accidental keynote?

Unpacking in the form of rehearsals is how we prepared for this space we were holding. We unpacked goals, intentions, and our memory — thus it was slightly different each time we practiced. We varied our delivery, the inclusion of pertinent thoughts, or metaphors to support it.  We knew the path we wanted to take, but we would take different steps each time. 

We designed an experience where we shared stories about rickety bridges of influence — invited them to react to a story, gave some of our own analysis, and invited them to consider how they may take different steps.  We moved from our rickety bridge stories to an example of building a strong bridge of generative influence.  

Our “strong bridge” story came from the Future of Work 24 Hours conference. The volunteers were placed on a strong foundation of a vision and how they can impact the conference.  They were then coached throughout the preparations to walk in their own mobility as a team and individual.  Every volunteer explored new skills, new roles, and new ideas.  

We continued the keynote by sharing with our audience how to hold space for generative influence, alignment, and buy-in. All were provided resources to support their journey towards it.  

It was a difficult session as there were video connection issues and horrendous audio echos for both of us.  We had no idea how the audience was receiving us, but we had good interaction in chat.  We decided to push through the ick.  We found out later that the audience experienced very few issues.

As we reflected on the experience, it reminded us that holding space balances many things.  Balance becomes a foundation, just like when learning to ride a bike.  Look forward and pedal.  In this pop-up keynote, our intention was to hold a generative space for learning and inspiration to keep pedaling.   When balance becomes a habit, you can ride anywhere.

Journeying in Mobility,

April & Mark

P.S. Want to learn how you can keep pedaling? We have two opportunities coming up! You can join us on October 28, 2021 for our next journey on Holding Space for Open Space or at the UnMute conference where we will share our Curating for Needs journey.