Today the session returned to Toby Thompkins, and he asked us to consider competition. (It brought to mind the Museum’s upcoming and touchy annual theme - Power - which is more telling about my relationship to the concept than to anything actually insightful.) It was a transformative session for me. As accustomed as I am to acknowledging that personally I have little experience with or interest in direct competition, it never occurred to me before today to make the leap to appreciating that it may have a lot to offer in terms of collaborative, beneficent work.
And it does. Considering specifically not only whom we are competing with, but what we’re competing with, put me in a frame of mind perfect for appreciating competitive edge. It also threw a heap of important considerations my way, illuminating dark corners of process I’d never considered - competition serving to shift a work culture, the verb that you embody in your work, the distinctions between management and leadership.
And competition can be perfectly humble, acknowledging the ever-escalating challenges and need to learn. My favorite quote from the session:
Start every day with a beginner’s mind.
The latter portion of the session was spent in conversation with several alumni and mentors, informally learning about the process and absorbing advice on how to get the most out of it. I spoke with two mentors and two alumni. I could have used more time for it all, but was admittedly also moving a bit slower than most. Never one for cocktail conversation, I.
It was a great day, with a lot to absorb. The next session represents a change of subject and gears. We’re well-eased into the process now, and can use a bit more shorthand and keep things moving, and that movement will be along learning about social media. I’m looking forward to it.