[Listen to me read this reflection here]
A few weeks ago, I booked a one-way ticket and moved to Portugal.
The first question I most often have been asked is, ’why Portugal?’. To which my response is something along the lines of, ‘it’s Portugal’.
After exchanging smiles and a brief laugh, the second question I am most often asked is ‘what about your work?’.
Living in a different country, continent and culture over the past few weeks has both inspired me and challenged me in unexpected ways.
In the face of change, I believe it is important to let go of what was, to make space for what might be.
The pandemic has been an unplanned and unexpected phenomenon that has changed how we work. It has forced the letting go of so much, and that space has been filled with new unimagined ways of work.
Packing up and moving spontaneously to another continent and country has also been an unplanned and unexpected phenomenon in my own world of work.
So what has changed for me?
Meetings. I have accelerated the shift towards an asynchronous culture, meaning not having to fill my days with meetings. In the past few months, I have consistently spent less than 2 hours per week with internal meetings. How? One word: Loom.
Delegation. I have become more aware of how much more I can delegate to others, and also stop doing altogether. There is much that I realize others are better at than me at. And much more that does not need to be done in the first place.
Ownership. I have been impressed with how people around me have stepped up and have taken greater ownership for different parts of the business. Without the crutch of asking me, people are making more decisions independently. I love it.
Flow. I have enjoyed being in a different time zone than the centre of gravity of my business. It has opened up several hours in my day, every day, to get into flow state and do deep, important, thoughtful work without interruption.
Value. The most valuable thing that I can do is to work “on my business”, versus “in my business”. I have dreamed of this for over a decade, and now for the first time, feel that it is happening. A lot of positive factors have contributed to this, and moving tipped the balance in this long desired direction for me.
Without a doubt, there have also been challenges. I have gotten time zones mixed up more than once and missed client calls. I have found myself often working late into the evening, and feeling groggy and frustrated the next morning. Last week, I had lost internet connection unexpectedly, while working from an apartment by the ocean in a remote town, which upended an entire day of client activity. I have noticed the boundaries of when work starts and ends in a day have become even blurrier for me.
Sudden unexpected change is revealing of who I am, and how I am.
These are some of the qualities that I have been tested on during the pandemic, and during my recent move. So have the people I work closely with everyday.
These same qualities are also needed to succeed in life and work. I hope to continue to cultivate them by challenging me and those around me.
Adaptability, resilience and openness all help me continue to flow with the future of work, not against it.