Yes, there is a black swan for too many meetings:  CALMNESS.

Calmness?  Yes, calmness

How? Or what makes me think so?

There is black swan inside of us all
There is black swan inside of us all. [Photo: Pixabay]
Well, maybe you, too, at times experience an inundation of meetings. Some are more useful and purpose-driven than others, some of them are a waste of time and simply boring.  In either case, a couple of weeks I have found myself looking at my weekly calendar. It was packed with meetings, end to end.  Safe for a short lunch-break I was booked from 8 AM in the morning until 5 or 6 pm in the evening.  I realized then that, while it was me being responsible for accepting the many invitations and, of course, setting up some of those meetings myself, I could very well be close to a breakdown due to overwork or lack of energy. It was ok for a week or two.  However, just the prospect of continuing this burden tensed up my body, mind and heart.  Something had to change.  But what? And how?

In my upcoming book “Human Business” I am writing about the magic of reframing, i.e., asking different, expansive questions to existing problems.  So, I thought, why not walk my own talk? Let me come up with a different question to the challenge of a surplus of meetings and scarcity of creative time.

The obvious question was, how can I manage my time better?
Ok, well, this didn’t really help. After all, I think I am pretty good in time management.  This was not the issue.  And that question would certainly not move me to action or break a thinking pattern.  What I wanted and needed was a break to breathe, to relax, to calm down, find my inner peace and ensure my energy not being drained by meetings.

So, the following question popped up in my mind:

How can the overflow of meetings help me become calmer?

For a moment, I was quiet, I stopped.  This question actually raised new questions:  How could this be: meetings and calm?  That’s a paradox!

When I shared this question – which by then has already become my personal challenge of the month – with my wife and peers, they all said, “Aha!  Well, tell me what you will have found out.”

Their reaction, and the question, made me smile.  But I was serious.  I wanted to find out how the overflow of meetings can help me become calmer?

The paradox not only shook me up, it generated new insights

Today, a couple of weeks after I first came up with the question, I still haven’t become an expert in the topic I admit.  However, these are some of my insights:

  1. I asked myself what “calm” means to me, where I can find it and how it benefits me and my surrounding.  Calm, I found it, brings me closer to my inner core, to my true being.  It is actually part of me all the time.  Except when I let myself get distracted by outside circumstances or my own silly thoughts.  I don’t have to look for it in places or actions outside of me.  It is always within me.  – Simple? Yes. And maybe that’s why it is so easy to forget and live.
  2. When calm is inside me, outside distractions or circumstances cannot really disturb it.  In other words, when I am not calm it was me who left this inner state and got sidetracked by other things.
  3. Corollary, it is up to me to choose my own state of being.  I can remain calm, or find my inner calm and attend meetings.  Or I can go to meetings, let them move me away from my natural state of being and become tired.
  4. [space for more insights]

There is a black swan inside of us all

This episode and the paradoxical question, how the overflow of meetings can help me become calmer?, showed me that most of the answers to the questions that seem to paralyze and hold us back are within us. We just have to find the right questions, by reframing the original question.  It opens new thinking spaces we can explore and that can help us escape limiting belief patterns.

There is a black swan inside of us all.  But, let’s not forget, even a black swan is still swan.  No more, no less.


If you want to find out more insights and ideas how to live and work in today volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, have a look at my new book (written in German): “Human Business“.