Thinking, being alone and saying thanks

Ok, so I am often accused of thinking too much and sometimes I think too much about things which may not seem important to most people, but what isn’t important to you or others may still be important to me – this blog has developed into a place where i can share my thin king regardless of whether anyone actually agrees with it or makes sense of it, I wrote this blog to release my thoughts, to capture them and to time stamp them…this process allows me to move on, to reflect on what I have seen, heard or experienced. Without this blog I’d probably and in all serious have a serious problem.

However this post is not about that, it is about one thing I have come to learn recently – that sometimes when you think, you often push yourself into isolation and into a lonely place, especially if your thinking is so far removed from your peers, friends, colleagues and even your organisations and that you need people around you to help your realise you are not alone.

Now I’m not suggesting my thinking is that far removed from my current employer, well not now anyway…although it used to be and it was the reason why I had planned on leaving and seeking pastures new, pastures where my thinking could develop and grow and be challenged by others in constructive ways and not through ignorance.

It is in this loneliness that you start to seek out likeminded people and seek new opportunities, for me I found other blogs, other twitter folk but more importantly I found real people who were prepared not just to listen to me, but to challenge, to nudge and to encourage my thinking and to help me realise that not only is it ok to think differently but it is also part of the role of a leader to encourage people to share their thinking and to find new opportunities and to shape new futures.

I’m going to acknowledge 4 people, they are not the only 5 people who have helped shaped my life but I want to say thanks as they have stopped me feeling alone and have encouraged and challenged my thinking – in no particular order:

One such person who contributed to my journey and his contribution can not be under estimated is Martin Howitt. He put up with sitting directly opposite me for 2 years, day in day out…I don’t remember getting much real work done but I do remember thinking, drawing pictures, reading frameworks, researching, talking, discussing, more talking, listening, lots of listening, reflecting, conducting thought experiments. It really was the best 2 years of learning and self discovery I’ve done in the last 20 years.  I want to say here that I respect Martin a huge amount and if it weren’t for his friendship, I would have felt even more alone at a time when I felt very vulnerable as a person individually and professionally. For this I say thanks.

Another person who has also played a huge role is my current line manager Tony Parker. When a line manager believes in you, trusts you, empowers you and reminds you that you need to “step up” to the challenges ahead and you can’t rely on others, I can truly say it makes a huge difference to how you see work. Everyday is exciting, regardless of the context you work in, you don’t see the future budget position as a negative but instead you see opportunity to be involved in what will be the most significant shift and change in the future of local public services in generations. This is priceless and when you know your thinking and your judgement is valued it makes all the difference. For this I say thanks.

Another person is Catherine Howe from Public-i. Catherine much like Tony has shown me a level of respect and trust that I often question “how did I earn this respect and trust?” But I know that she has challenged my thinking, stimulated my thinking, validated my thinking as well as believing in me enough to allow me to work for her for a period of time and to learn and experience new things. I respect and admire Catherine a lot, she is simply the kind of person I can spend hours and hours talking and listening to (There are in fact many people in this type of list ) It is important to me to thank Catherine for the opportunity to explore a new style of thinking, to look at something from a different perspective. For this I say thanks

The next is actually a group of people. My team at Devon Russell, Matt, Sam, Patrick and Tim. They are a great bunch of people, they have helped me learn what it means to be a manager, a leader, a facilitator and most of all a critical friend. They make me proud as they are positive, enthusiastic and most of all passionate about what they do and helping to challenge the organisation in how it manages it web and digital presence. They make coming into work enjoyable, fun and most of all I feel part of a team. For this I thank them all.

Last but certainly not least is my wife and family, whom without their love and support none of what I do, think and care about would be possible. On the bad days and yes there are some, they know how to cheer me up, on the good days and yes there are many of those, they enrich it even more with their fascinating stories and tales from their days at school or out and about. But the most important thing they do for me is love me for being me. For that I say thanks.

I guess what I want to say is that sometimes you will feel lonely and you will feel isolated but there are many people who you can connect with who can help take that loneliness away.

As for organisations, the challenge for them is to stop people feeling lonely, to stop those people who have been thinking feeling lonely, those people who are having great ideas feeling lonely and those people who can’t or won’t say anything for fear that they will left alone, from feeling lonely. We need to encourage people to tell their stories, to stop feeling lonely and to keep thinking.


8 thoughts on “Thinking, being alone and saying thanks

  1. Hi Carl, love the fact you’re acknowledging those who keep you being you. Just recently there seems to be a surge in people (at least in my life) who aren’t feeling too confident about themselves, who are feeling isolated within organisations and teams, and who are struggling to make sense of it. I really like this post, it feels like a very honest reflection, and serves as a reminder of the need to pull together as a team, to accept and to challenge.

    I read this post from @revdancatt today, addresses some similar thoughts I think, if you’ve not seen it you might be interested

    Keep on thinking and rising to the challenge Mr H, it’s worth it.

    1. Thanks George,

      I’ve realised that i’m not alone and I could thank a lot more people. I’ve certainly sensed that others were feeling the same, that is why I felt I needed to write this post.

      Will check out the other post as well..

  2. Great post Carl. I’m a great believer that if you are open and honest, which with a post like this you obviously are, that you will earn respect and also trust. Attributes that will take you far.

  3. Thanks for the thanks Carl.

    I should be slightly defensive and add for the record that I felt I worked pretty hard during that two-year period. 🙂
    Nevertheless, it was a period where I managed to scope out a lot of areas that I wanted to think more about in the future. In those areas where you may feel you made strides, it acted to sort of open me out, if that makes sense.

    More one long conversation than an accumulation of hundreds, and I think we are still having that conversation even today.


  4. Thank you Carl for such a lovely blog entry, I’m not naive enough to think that I am the only one struggling at work or having career problems but this blog has really hit the nail on the head for me. It is nice and reassuring that even those who I see as mentors and inspiring people have moments of loneliness and struggle to be heard or understood. You’ve now really helped me feel a little less lonely and a bit more confident in what I am trying to achieve with my employer, I just need a different angle.

    1. Thank you for you comment Stacy, I think it is important for everyone to acknowledge that these things happen and that we should focus on trying to stop this from happening. I wonder how many people have left local government or any organisations due to the fact they felt isolated or lonely in this context.

      Keep pushing and it will get better.

Leave a comment or share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.