The ability to have access to the information you need when you need it is crucial for productivity, effective collaboration, and creating your best work to contribute to the world.
I used to stress so much about how to organize all the “information” I collected and work I produced.
Where to store it? How would I find it when I needed it?
I tried every system, process, and tool for “knowledge management.”
They were either too simple or too complex.
Finally, I found a better system.
What if You Didn’t Have the Information?
My physical journals, notes, books, etc are in a storage unit in NYC. I’ve been living on the road for 9 months. I have over 7,000 notes in Evernote, but I haven’t opened the app in over 6 months.
Evernote is the black hole of my information.
I had previously been afraid of traveling without my “stuff” that I use for reference.
How would I work without my beloved books to pull from the shelf? How would I have what I need when I needed it?
Turns out I didn’t need them.
I have continued to write and publish a daily blog. I’ve offered coaching on trains, in car rides, in cafes, and in workshops with no notes, no slides, no outline.
I have led full-day programs from a few bullet points on a post-it note.
Information Is Not Knowledge
What I’ve learned through this is that I don’t need to manage “information” because I turned information into knowledge.
Information = data, research, notes, reports — the external stuff
Knowledge = what’s embodied in you.
It isn’t theoretical. It’s a product of lived experience.
Whatever issue arises in a room, I’ve been able to access my vast repository of knowledge to address the issue it in a way that creates space for deep healing and catalyzes transformation.
These moments are profound for my participants and for me, and deeply humbling.
To see that the storms I’ve weathered are now providing nourishment to grow flowers in other people’s soil gives purpose to previous experiences.
The Body’s Second Brain
In those moments I’m not tapping into my mind’s memory in my brain, but rather the body’s physical memory.
The body’s gastro-intestinal system has its own nervous system, called the enteric nervous system. This is known as the body’s “second brain.” Among other things, it stores physical memories from our lived experiences.
This second brain is already encoded into our language:
- gut instinct
– trust your gut
What this means is that my knowledge isn’t taking up “brain space” in my mind; I’m not marinating it in my thoughts.
It lives within me, in this second brain.
It is me.