Saturday, 31 December 2011

thank you

A friend of mine said to me last week: "It's not the choices that are hard in life. Making the choices is easy. What's hard is dealing with the consequences of those choices.

So if I look back at two thousand and eleven it feels like I should consider not just the conversations I've had, but the consequences of those conversations.

Some of them.

A conversation with the new Chair of a big business that ended up with her saying: “Why don’t we just talk to each other in front of everyone, instead of me making a big speech?” And the consequence of her being reappraised by a few people who'd already made up their mind about what she was like.

A conversation with an ex TV man who's gone creative and invited me to do something at a brilliant event called The Story. And the consequence of
me making a speech, instead of having a conversation with everyone. And sharing publicly some of my work that's been kept under wraps for ages. With a bunch of people I’d never met.

A conversation with a friend that ended up with me not going to Los Angeles.

A conversation that ended up with a woman called Lisa grabbing the Prime Minister by the arm and telling him her story.

A conversation with eleven other jurors that ended up with someone not going to prison.

A conversation with an author in a tent in a field at Latitude Festival that ended up with me realising that sometimes the only work you have to do is to prepare.

A conversation with a producer that ended up with me doing a series on the radio.

A series of conversations with people all over the country when I tried to share some of my best secrets, which ended up with some of my best secrets being put into practice when I wasn’t there. And loving that.

A series of conversations with people about beauty, that ended up with people telling me they’d cried when they heard it.

A conversation with a group of women in Reculver WI that ended up with me realising I was mostly telling them stuff they already knew, but that it can be good to be reminded of things.

And lots of other conversations.

And lots of other consequences.

So – looking back in order to look forward, from a man who tries hard to have the best conversations possible and who certainly doesn't always succeed, I want to say thank you to the people who’ve helped me have some amazing conversations this year.

To be crude and concise: for someone who does dialogue to people, it’s been a year of being dialogued too. Sometimes.

So thank you to the people who’ve listened to me. Really listened to me.

To the people who’ve had the courage to challenge me with probing questions.

To the people who’ve checked they understand what I mean.

To the people who’ve balanced my thinking with an alternative way of looking at things.

To the people who’ve been honest with me and told me what they’re really thinking.

To the people who’ve parked their own agenda and built new things with me, new possibilities.

To the people who’ve had the confidence to let things just fall quiet for a while.

To the people who’ve shared with me the responsibility to look after the health of the conversation.

To the people who’ve had the generosity to temporarily withhold their judgement.

To the people who’ve taken the time and energy to consider their words and help me by putting themselves into what they’re saying.

And to the people who’ve created time and space. With me. And for me.

Thank you.

Here’s to a New Year of a little more.

With a little less.