“I’ve come here with an Open Mind….”

I was attending an event last week run by Coaching Connect, Devon http://www.coachingconnect.co.uk/events-detail.asp?serialno=291

It was my second time, and it was great to see people I’d met previously, people I’ve only met online, and also make some new friends and contacts.

Quite early in proceedings someone asked me “What have you come for – what are you looking to get from today?”
Given the event billing as being ‘an opportunity to develop your business and to network with other coaches and share good practice’, it would have been understandable had I followed one of those guidelines for my answer. However, I also have a philosophy of learning something new from every day and so it was more appropriate for me to answer “I’ve come with an Open Mind”, except that I also added, “…that way I’ll get everything that presents itself to me and probably a lot more besides!”

In the fleeting moment as my words echoed back I noticed (a) the subtle changes in what I’d said compared to the last time I’d been asked that question and (b) the reactions of the person who asked me. And in truth I now have to say that – had I not had an Open Mind at that moment then I would not have noticed either of those things, and the usefulness of them to me.

The openness of our Minds isn’t just about being open to all the incoming sensual information, because essentially that’s going on unconsciously all the time anyway. Its more about our internal dialogue, our beliefs, our ‘agendas’, all of which are filtering the internal experience. When we filter stuff out of the internal experience then there’s no chance of insights, ‘a-has’ and lightbulb moments – those unconsciously driven ‘bolts from the blue’ that pepper the conscious, the intellect, with meanings and linkages to our previously unanswered questions.

So, to get back to the coaches’ forum and my Open Minded approach…

What did I come for? What am I looking to get?
* To interact with interesting and like-minded people on an unspecified range of topics
* To experience a day of discoveries and learnings
* To create, build and foster friendships on a variety of levels
* For fulfilled enjoyment through all of the above

And, on reflection, did I get all this?

Definitely, and in abundance! I certainly got everything that presented itself to me! Plus – as I expected – I got a whole lot more besides. Has it developed my business? Certainly – my business isn’t something I do, it is what I am. And as such I have developed what I am.

Could I have done all this, got all this, if I’d gone with an Agenda? Highly unlikely. I’d have missed the sounds of popping lightbulb moments, I’d have missed all the nuggets and gems proferred by the presentations, workshops and conversations. However, I would have got the sounds of my own voice, the judgements of my own narrow band of beliefs, and the reassurance and comfort of agreeing with my own internal dialogue.

Our Minds can only get broader by removing the constraints and bringing flexibility to the boundaries. And the only constraints are self-allowed and self-imposed internal ones.