The speed awareness course that I wrote about last week focused on stopping distances.
Since then, I have been thinking a bit more about reaction times – because that is the part that, as a driver, you control. Once you put your foot on the brake pedal, it is all down to physics.
It also reminded me of the sequence that I was taught when learning to drive: Mirror > Signal > Manoeuvre.
Yet, even before looking in the mirror, there is the thought or intent to move the car in a new or different direction.
So the whole sequence looks something like: Thought > Intent > Mirror > Signal > Manoeuvre.
And that got me thinking about work.
How often, in business, do we start by looking in the mirror – and we expect to be inspired by looking at the figures of last month’s performance?
How often do we start moving things before we signal to the wider group affected by the change?
In today’s frenetic online world of tweets and likes and such things, the opportunity to act without thinking, to press the “Buy Me Now” button before remembering you already have enough (books, clothes, food…<insert your particular collection obsession here>) for your needs.
How often do we act before we think about the consequences?
How often do we manoeuvre before thinking?
And what about this strange word, Manoeuvre. Is it spelt right? And what does it really mean?
I looked up the second part of the word (oeuvre) and found this:
OEUVRE = A work of art – Synonym = Work
Etymology: Today’s word was borrowed so recently from French, we have not yet resolved its pronunciation in English. It devolved from Latin opera “works,” the plural of “opus.” Sanskrit apas “work” and German üben “practice, exercise” derive from the same ultimate root.
The interesting thing, I find, is that holidays a good time to move out of work mode and into work of art mode. It allows you to look at your life as the creation of a series of works of art and puts a different emphasis on the process or the day-to-day grind and allows you to review your creations in the past year and those that you wish to create in the coming year. I always have a small notebook handy so I can jot down ideas on new works of art. Notebooks are much more fluid than a smartphone. Not sure yet whether an iPad is as good. Don’t think it is.
So, basically, before you start the next round of your Man-Work (or Woman-Work), it is best to take time to think. Think about signalling to those around you that you are going to create this new work of art – and even before that it is worth looking in the mirror to check there is no one behind you that is going to get in your way. Oh – and before ALL of that, it is worth thinking about the implications of changing direction and creating new works of art that might affect other users of the road you have chosen.
Have a great holiday if you are still to go – and hope you got inspired if you have already been! In any case, think before you man-oeuvre your life towards the creation of your new works of art!