4i Newsletter Masthead 437

The Pendulum.

Four i 437 Pendulum

My favourite teacher of all time is Colin Blundell, and my favourite lesson, from many he’s taught me, is ‘The Pendulum’.

The idea is simple, (as the best ones tend to be), if you react strongly to something, then almost certainly you’ll swing the other way, to the same degree, when the opposite occurs.

For example, I used to celebrate on a “Wolf of Wall Street” scale when we won new business, and consequently had borderline depression when we lost a pitch.

Neither was helpful.

Colin taught me that you can’t have one extreme response without the other – and hence ‘The Pendulum’. I realised that, to paraphrase Kipling, both triumph and disaster are imposters indeed.

And that there’s always third alternatives.

I’ve found that where life gets really interesting is what you can imagine, and therefore create, in the midpoint.

Take the new business win/lose example. If at one extreme of the pendulum’s swing, we position ‘Win’, and at the other ‘Lose’, what happens in the middle?
It isn’t neutral, or status quo – that’s not how a business pitch works.

There are many possibilities, for example:

  • Learning
  • Improvement
  • Change

A good friend of mine was badly let down last week. Someone she trusted reneged on an agreement.
Before responding, I suggested she put the issue onto the pendulum.
On one side was Trust, and on the other, Distrust.
What came out in the middle, as she swung between these two surprised me.

It was forgiveness.

“I forgave myself for being a poor judge of character.
I forgave the person, who let me down, for her flaws.”

One of the most profound pendulum moments came with a coaching client who couldn’t make his mind up between a new job offer or staying where he was on matched terms.

I got him to stand up and swing from side to side, (yes, as ridiculous as it may sound, this process works best when you actually sway from side to side, keeping in mind one of the two possibilities at each extreme point, and then stopping after a few minutes in the centre and see what comes to mind), and what followed was to take neither offer and set up his own business.

As is quite often the case with the pendulum, the swing is revealing and rewarding.

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