Have a Minute to Think – Juliet Funt – GLS21 Speaker Spotlight
If you’ve been to the GLS before, you may remember Juliet Funt, CEO of WhiteSpace at Work.
If you haven’t yet had the joy of hearing her charm, energy and wisdom, the extract below provides a taste!
She returns this year with brand new leadership insights from her new book…
A Minute to Think by Juliet Funt
Something is missing in the fabric of our work and lives. It’s possible to get it back.
I never learned to make a fire when I was a kid. It’s not one of the core skills of growing up in Manhattan. Did I learn the art of trick-or-treating floor to floor by elevator? You bet. Could I masterfully fold and tilt a slice of Ray’s pizza so all the grease slid onto my napkin before I ate it? By the age of three. And of course, I learned to nimbly sled down a five-foot Central Park slope between a garbage can and a mound of black snow. However, as an apartment-dwelling kid, unless something goes terribly, terribly wrong you never learn to build a fire.
As I grew up, fire-making skills continued to elude me. I gave it a try on beaches with bonfires or camping with an outdoorsy boyfriend, but I never mastered how to get the flames started.
Many years and three kids later, my husband, our boys, and I went to a little cabin near Big Bear Lake, not far from our home in Los Angeles. The journey there was a typical boys-in-back road trip alternating between two games, “Which Would You Rather?” (lick a street after a parade or eat a toothpick?) and the ever-popular escalating competition of “Does This Hurt?”
The cabin was worth the drive. Tucked into a beautiful woodsy area with giant windows, it had a wide, stately stone fireplace calling for something to be ignited. The boys were so excited at the prospect they were bouncing. Unfortunately, we had no wood or expertise and my husband had run into town, so I did what city folks tend to do in any area of knowledge lack: I found a coach.
On the round, doily-topped table at the Three Bears Lodge was a little sign: text for firewood! drop-offs in ten minutes. (It was right next to an unforgettably titled newsletter from the local chiropractor called The Spinal Column.) I whipped out my phone, sent the text, and with a comic speed that made us feel like he’d been waiting around the corner, Charlie arrived. He had the fashion leanings of a lumberjack and the chill-i-tude of a surfer. He told me and my chanting, bobbing, amped-up, pyro offspring that when starting a fire, layers are best: a little paper first, some dry pine needles over the grate, then a few chunks of fire starter, followed by two types of wood—softwood to catch quick, and hardwood to burn long. But he forgot to mention one critical ingredient: space.
We carefully constructed a dense pile of every fuel source known to man and then hurled matches at it unsuccessfully for twenty minutes before my husband returned.
After a glance at our compact pile of charred wood, he lovingly extracted the mangled matchbook from my hands and began to redesign our stack. He fluffed the pine needles, staggered the fire starter, and “tee-pee’ed” the wood to create the perfect passages for oxygen to feed the fire. And then, with exactly one match, it was roaring. The boys roasted a whole bag of marshmallows, and I learned something valuable.
It’s the space between the combustibles that fire can’t live without.
The space is what makes flames ignite and stay burning. However, we forget this law of nature in every area of our lives beyond the hearth—especially at work. Our schedules are packed like the last moment of a winning game of Tetris, and our brimming minds overflow into dozens of insufficient note-taking apps. There’s no oxygen to feed the fire. We strike through matchbook after matchbook, desperately trying to ignite our brilliance to the fullest, but the resource we really need to elevate our work is a little breathing room.
Without space we can’t sustain ourselves. The full fortitude of our professional contributions eludes us. We miss game-changing, breakthrough ideas that fail to grace us with their presence because busyness is barring the door. We miss human moments of serendipity and connection that should occur in the in-between moments of life—because in-between moments no longer exist.
To hear from Juliet, book into this year’s Global Leadership Summit Online Experience.
There are six dates to choose from:
- GLS Cambridge Online – Thursday, 14 October
- GLS Stoke-on-Trent Online – Tuesday, 19 October
- GLS Manchester Online – Thursday, 21 October
- GLS Carmarthen Online – Saturday, 6 November
- GLS Norwich Online – Friday, 12 November
- GLS Portsmouth Online – Wednesday, 17 November
These events will run from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm and feature carefully selected talks with facilitated process time. Your GLS SEB ticket will include more content than ever before through the coming year:
- Access to the GLS21 online events (attend as many as you like)*
- Access to GLS webinars (Jan-Jul 22) featuring more GLS21 talks
- GLN Partnership subscription, including access to GLS online learning
**Every person needs a ticket. More details.