Know Your Cue

[continued from Create Flow]

In my post, Step Onto The Field, I inflected two words against each other. I set the word “protected” in opposition to the word, “inclusive.” I wrote:

Showing up is being present with others. It is inclusive (as opposed to protected).

Skip reflected that, “Protected doesn’t feel opposite to inclusive. Yet it is part of what is opposite. Something is missing here.”

Keeping in mind that the post addressed how entrepreneurs’ pitches are similar to actors’ auditions (though this is not what he meant) Skip is exactly correct. When an entrepreneur or actor enters their arena protected, something very important goes missing and what goes missing is any hope of meaningful connection.

When an actor protects him or herself from the audience, they create separation. Hear it: they create separation. They exclude the audience not only from their performance, but more importantly, they bar the audience from meaningful access to the play. They block the audience from participating. And, since stories are pathways for transformation, by blocking the audience from entry to the play, they prohibit all possible transformation.

Over the past year I’ve watched dozens of entrepreneurs pitch to investors and because they show up in a metaphoric suit of armor, they too create separation. They effectively exclude the investor from their story.

In fairness, an entrepreneur’s task can be more difficult than an actor’s task because often investors also show up in suits of armor; investors demand a higher status position than the entrepreneur (whether it is deserved or not). There is armor all around! No one gets to play in this scenario because both are actively creating separation.

Many years ago with Judy I attended a workshop given by O. Fred. Donaldson. His life’s work has been about play (the noncompetitive variety). More specifically, he’s studied how people and animals “cue” each other for play. The cues are universal. His workshop was fascinating because he demonstrated how play is evoked through non-resistance. Resistance reinforces separation. Non-resistance is and invitation. It is like Aikido: with nothing to push against, resistance has no power. It falls away and in the absence of resistance connectivity is possible. Play is possible.

I know this is a gross oversimplification but people are pack animals; belonging is what we desire. In other words, we tend toward each other. We seek to fit. We desire to play. The only way to remove the armor of another person is to remove the armor from our selves. Armor begets armor. Vulnerability begets vulnerability. Armor is a cue to close. Showing up open and available is a cue to open.

For a humorous look at the wonderful world of innovation and new ventures, check out my new comic strip Fl!p and the gang at Fl!p Comics.

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