Stories: a field of encounter
Last week I read a newspaper article of a company called Zintenz. The owner, Leo Kaniok, gave up his job because he found an old bag filled with pages and pages full of stories from different mystical traditions while moving his father to another home. His father collected the stories, but never used them. Leo, working as HR manager at COA, (the Dutch organisation responsible for the reception, supervision and departure of asylum seekers) tried to focus on the positive instead of the negative in meetings, but mostly his colleagues couldn’t get away from the drama and chose to stay in the negative. He used one of the stories in a meeting, which was a wonderful metaphor. Now they understood what he meant and they started to focus on the positive instead (big chance I’ll use it once in another blog!). Struck by the power of the metaphor, he decided to do something with the stories, followed his heart and started Zintenz.
Now stories create a field of encounter, recognition, a place to meet. And the funny thing is, that you will always hear something different in a story than I do. Because it meets you where you are at that moment, the things you are dealing with or recognize because of different personal experiences. One of the other stories was about three frogs. I loved it. It goes like this:
Three frogs decided to play a game. They wanted to climb a mountain. The entire frog community came to watch the three climbing the mountain. All of them where yelling: “they’ll never make it!” “How ignorant of them and how foolish!” The first frog hearing all this stopped before even hearing the starting signal. The other two started climbing. And still the other frogs where shouting: “You’ll never make it!! You are acting as fools!”. The second frog now started doubting as well. All those frogs together would probably know more than he did on his own. He as well stopped climbing. The third frog continued climbing and after a while he arrived at the top of the mountain. Everybody was looking at each other, stupefied and surprised he made it. The frog stood there, at the top of the mountain enjoying the view in silence. He was deaf.
Now of course I have people around me who don’t understand the how and why of my vision or ideas of how the world works. Of what I’m doing here. Of these stories. Who wonder why I’m making the switch from my safe, controlled, well known, broad communications network to transformation consultancy. And that is ok. It is not for them to understand, as we all have our own truth. 7 billion of them on this earth. But I am also very grateful to have family and friends who believe in me. Who are asking me for more. Who encourage me to expand what I’m doing here. Who discuss different blogs with me looking from their perspective. And by now I’ve also learned things take time. Time for all of it to come together. As Paolo Coelho once said “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” So don’t ever give up your dream, but go for it! And yes it’s a tough ride, because hey, if it would be easy, everybody would do it!
Thank you for reading my blog again! Inspired by stories and the field of encounter it creates, I will organize the first WATT (Who’s At The Table) night soon! A personal encounter with an inspiring person, who will tell about his or her vision at the world, the business he or she created and the lessons learned on the way. What do you think about inviting Leo Kaniok? Let me know. Of course I’m looking for the right location to facilitate this idea. All the details will for sure follow. I’d love to meet you there, so keep in touch!