A few weeks ago, I was struck by the idea that I was commuting to and from work and not paying much attention to the environment around me. Paying attention to little things has been a big source of inspiration for the posts on this blog. I didn’t want to miss opportunities. I chose to pay attention.
I began to reflect on what I was seeing as I walked, caught planes, trains and cars to work in my own and other cities. Some of those reflections caused me to research the history of particular aspects of our work culture like business attire. Other reflections left me with open questions or new topics of inquiry.
Because my habit is to work out loud, I shared the first of the insights on twitter and added the hashtag #morningcommute. That hashtag is a reasonably busy collection of messages of people sharing content about their morning commute. Like any effort at working out loud, I was sharing thinking in progress with a relevant community in my followers on twitter and that hashtag. Because I shared them in the moment, there was a good chance others would be in the same experience at the time too. I had started noticing more and now I was noticing out loud. Most importantly, I tried to frame each tweet as the start of a conversation. There was more I wanted to learn. Here was this morning’s effort:
What struck me immediately was the extraordinary conversations that began to happen each day triggered by the tweet. That tweet alone has generated discussion on digital tribes, trust and connection in under 30s and the future of work, the coaching of kids sport teams and how we teach people to collaborate, the value of talking to strangers and where to find the pack mentality.
I was surprised to get answers and insights from people around the world. Many correspondents were on their way home or even at the end of their day. Some topics went on for days. Others faded immediately.
With one simple step, my efforts to pay better attention were supported by a global community who helped me benefit in my work and presumably benefit in return. A few people became regular partners in conversation on my journey to work. It reconnected me to people with whom I had lost contact. Even better I learned a lot and the discussions pushed me to consider insights I had missed.
Each of these interactions encourages me to keep going, to pay more attention, to reflect more and continue to share. Sharing a simple moment out loud helped me find a community to support the work of paying attention.
No insight or action is too small or too insignificant for working out loud. The community will help you discover value you cannot yet see. The simple act of noticing might be enough to create a special moment of connection.