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Time Travel: A Non-Linear Expedition to Resolve Stuckness

Dr Who (316350537)You do not need a Tardis (for you Dr. Who fans), a circle of stones (for the Outlander fans), or a Delorean (for the Back to the Future fans). You can travel across time whenever and wherever you are. And there is no risk to the fabric of the space-time continuum.

However, it may lead to dismantling reality as you know it. If you are prepared for the risk, are ready to put in the work of rebuilding reality, and can handle getting a little dizzy, we can begin.

Set aside all your distractions. Time travel requires focused attention and an investment of time. I think you will find it worth the investment.

What do I mean by time travel?

Time Travel is a method for assessing a person or human system over time. When we are assessing any system (human or otherwise) we can only see it in the present and then extrapolate the past and future with information gathered from the system and its context, along with some educated guesses to fill in any gaps and reconcile inconsistencies in data. As with many dances, sometimes you have to take a step back in order to move forward.

Useful methods to use in conjunction with Time Travel are Futuring and Visioning. In Futuring, we look at external trends, particularly regarding what is happening in the context of the person or system that is stuck. In Visioning, we look at more internal aspects, such as goals, dreams, and internal driving forces. With any of this, there is a past-present-future dance that must occur, and that dance is rarely linear.

What is the purpose of time travel?

Time Travel is used to help people and systems get unstuck. When I work with people who are stuck, I try to help them discover how they got there. In all likelihood, something they did in the past that was working well for them at the time is no longer as useful. This applies to systems as well. A business strategy or process that helped a small business succeed may no longer be adequate once they become a medium or large business.

In discovering why the person or system is doing something that is keeping them stuck, they gain the knowledge to move forward with new strategies and processes, taking into account what is still useful from the old strategies and processes and respectfully discarding what is no longer useful. Sometimes, merely asking the questions is enough to shake a system out of stuckness. However, more often than not, it takes more thorough exploration, reflection, and discovery to find the pathway out of stuckness.

When is time travel necessary or advisable?

Short answer: It is important to regularly reflect on where you are, where you came from, and where you are going. Repeat forays into time travel are advisable, so long as you do not go from being stuck in the present to being stuck in the past or the future (for more on being stuck in the future, read my article about future-tripping).

Time Travel is often vital as part of a holistic intervention to help a system out of stuckness. In some cases, it is a minor part of the intervention. In others, it may be the bulk of the intervention, especially if self-reflection is not a regular habit of the system.

Long answer: The long version would take up more than its fair share of this article. Contact me if you would like to hear more about it.

Who needs to be involved in time traveling?

Ideally, all key stakeholders are involved in time travel. For a business, that would be the employees, long-term customers, and anyone else with a vested interest in the system. For individual people, it may be their family units, their work-teams, recreational teams, or others who may be impacted by changes in the particular area of stuckness.

At a minimum, people directly impacted by the stuckness and the interventions will need some level of involvement. Those indirectly impacted can be kept in the loop via notifications, but they do not need to do the time traveling unless they hold some information that may be key to understanding the system’s stuckness. It may be enough to interview them in the data collection phase in order to hear their perspective and incorporate that into the rest of the time travel dialogues.

Where should you go when traveling through time?

To the root of the stuckness. To the long-tails of the stuckness. To the orbiting debris around the stuckness. Basically, anywhere the stuckness gains life, has an effect, or attracts distractions. This may feel similar to going down the rabbit hole to Wonderland at times. Perhaps it is more of a wormhole than a rabbit hole.

Either way, explore where the stuckness takes you. Use your discernment to determine if you have scope-creep or if this wormhole is actually going to take you towards discovery. They look the same a lot of the time, which can make the process difficult and nerve-wracking if you are expecting a quick, easy, and linear process.

Even the pros take a wrong path now and then. If you find yourself going the wrong way, do not fret, you are in good company. Even if the exploration did not turn up the information you were expecting, you can learn something from it and then move down other paths of discovery.

Wormhole travel as envisioned by Les Bossinas for NASA: a time travel expedition

Happy travels! Feel free to contact me if you are in need of someone to facilitate your Time Travel expedition. I enjoy a good wormhole adventure, especially if there are snacks.

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