By Poppy Cumming-Spain
On Tuesday Nick’s dad, Mark, came in to run a session on finding insights about brands. Nick put the feelers out around a month ago, to see if anyone was interested. I remember the session sounding intriguing, but by the time we got to the session itself I’d largely forgotten what the premise was.
Most of us felt pretty apprehensive and skeptical before the session began. I don’t think we understood what we’d signed up for. If I’m honest, I’m still a little confused by it all now. Effectively, what Mark taught us was a left-field way of finding insights. The whole session mainly surrounded communal energy and our ability to sense it.
In the first half of the session, we paired up to take a look at personal goals. Mark explained what we needed to do but, seeing that we were all a little nervous, Nick offered to demonstrate first. We watched Nick write a personal goal on a piece of paper and place the paper on the floor wherever it felt right. He then had to position himself in relation to the goal, allowing his body to be drawn to the ‘right’ place. Once he’d found his place, he needed to settle into it, tuning in his senses and feeling the ground beneath his feet. Once Nick was ready, he needed to vocalise what he was feeling and invite Mark (the ‘resource’) in by stating that he allowed his to be the resource he needed. It was then up to Nick to tell his resource where they needed to be or allow them to find their natural place in relation to him and the paper. From this point onwards, they both spoke of the way that they felt and moved around when they were driven to. It seems that the goal is to reach the paper if you can.
When it was my turn, I had Nick as my resource. My goal was ‘respected writer.’ Right now, I don’t have a lot of respect for my ability to write well, and I often feel like others don’t either. I’m pretty sure self-doubt is the curse of the creative that I’ll be battling for the rest of my life in some way or another, but I was interested to see whether I could make it to that paper. It became clear early on that my ‘resource; was a hindrance rather than a help. When Nick was nearby me my body was flooded with heat and stress, I felt pressured, and I couldn’t even look him in the eye. When he moved away, I relaxed, and I was able to move towards my paper slowly. I tested myself a number of times by making him come near me, and each time the same thing happened. Heat, stress, tension. But, I made it to my paper. And once I was there, he moved towards me and stood to face me. I could look him in the eye, and I felt comfortable. Once I was standing over my paper, feeling like a respected writer, I could face my resource. I’m pretty sure that my resource was my subconscious. I’m acutely aware that my fear that others doubt my ability is likely a projection of my feelings (although it may not be). All of this might sound crazy, but it felt so real. Nick was feeling things that I felt and vocalizing them before me. It felt like we were connected and having the experience together, sensing energy and responding to it. Weird, right?
Once we’d all dealt with personal goals, we focused on brands and bigger questions. During the brand sessions, someone would choose and allocate a person to represent different levels of brand purpose (like current purpose and founding purpose) and the brand’s customers. It would then play out as above with the various representations moving and responding to each other, talking the room through how they were feeling with Mark’s guidance. It was amazing how effective it was. Everything made total sense for the brand we chose, without speaking to any member of the organisation we were able to tap into its purpose using instinct. It was like we were tapping into a communal source that was beyond us. We also decided to ask what our year’s relationship with the advertising industry would be. This took longer to delve into and probably left us with more questions, but it was certainly interesting.
In all fairness, we knew that the session would solve nothing. In the beginning, Mark told us that there should be no judgment and there would be no resolutions, it was all about awareness.
Speaking of awareness, I’m quite aware that this all might sound like confusing mumbo-jumbo. It isn’t. I’d urge the other members of John, if we’re lucky enough to have Mark in again, to take part. It was such an enlightening experience that I’m determined to repeat. If you’re not a member of John, do some research into Organisational Constellation and go to a session if you can. You’ll be surprised what you’ll find out.