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What are the questions that don't get asked any more?

Question Of The Moment

How do we refresh and renew our practice?

A way to think about what we do in the world is as “a practice”. This emphasises the pattern and continuity in what we do and it can be used in a wide range of settings – a doctor has a practice and so does a yogi! In the case of a doctor “practice” brings together professional life within a community of patients. Practice then has some of the old meaning of “a church” – a place, a community, a shared activity -, but in a secular setting. This combinations of meanings is similar to those that occur when we say a consultant or a leader “has a practice”.

The advantage of thinking leadership or consulting “practice” is that it separates it slightly from ourselves. The distance can be useful because it acts as an antidote to becoming too introspective and it reminds us that others are immediately involved in our activity. To ask, “what are the practice implications of x or y?” is to put our inquiry into a realm that sits between ourselves and the consequences of our actions in the world.

We are supported in taking a cooler and more dispassionate view of what we do from day to day. How is what we do seen in the world? Such a question of practice associates it with concepts such as “approach” or “style” and encourages us to make inquiries of others – what do they see? It is often easier for others to engage around “our practice” than the more tender subject of “ourselves”.

We can also look at our practice ourselves, holding it out in front of us as a separate concoction of activities and effects. How energetic and up to date is it? Does it need to re-discover its mojo? The distance from our egotistical selves, the inclusion of others and the recognition of worldly consequences adds breadth and even depth to our inquiry. Helps to keep us up to date through the medium of our “practice”.