“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Nelson Mandela
Here’s something I’d like to share with you: As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been working really hard on myself lately, consciously exploring what I have to offer the universe, and using this knowledge to develop myself professionally.
My inner circle doesn’t quite know what to make of these changes.
Though I have tried hard to include them, sharing in one on one conversations and group meetings my thoughts and encouraging them to also explore what has been a very rewarding process for me, we’ve hit a very major red flag, one which I have no intention of ignoring.
While my inner circle is proud of me, supportive, and a little bemused at the new developments unfolding, the general consensus, the visceral reaction is— “You make us all look sick.”
Ouch. It’s important to note that these sentiments were stated, not in an accusatory way, but as a general state of affairs. And before you clamour about how terrible that is, consider instead how great it is that we have lines of communication in place where this sentiment can be expressed without censorship.
Because I can trust in their love and acceptance, I can discount what my defense mechanisms hear, (which is, “Gettin’ a little big for your britches, ain’tcha?”) and focus on the emotions that provoked their reactions, which is, “I’m trying hard, too, but your results make my efforts look paltry by comparison, and that makes me feel worthless.”
Now, the temptation here is to say, whoops, sorry, I’ll just hold back until everyone catches up — but no coach would or ought to allow that. From a leadership perspective, it’s totally counter productive to slow down the progress of the team to let everybody “feel better.” A leader has to use this challenge to focus everybody on greater things, by holding my progress up as an example of what is possible.
It turns out that leader is me. My dad told me yesterday that I was “chairman of the board.” Literally.
Part of this process of self-knowledge has been coming to understand that where I lead, others will naturally follow. As far as I can tell, they follow not just because the path I follow is parallel with their own, but because they become excited and impassioned by my vision. My self-confidence is slowly catching up to this realization, and I am striving to be worthy of this trust.
So there are a lot of things I wish I’d done differently in the last week or so. I was concentrating so hard on defining my vision and putting it onto paper, that I was irritable and unresponsive to the needs of others. I could have responded with more sensitivity to the pressures that the others were feeling, instead of demanding that they impart the same care and attention to planning and research that I was.
Basically, having come to grips now with my defacto leadership role, I can really start to develop my skills in this area. I have a lot of ideas of how a leader ought to act… here’s my chance to put it into practice. My personal challenge here will be to suppress my irritation at being interrupted when I’m trying to concentrate. It’s hard for me to get down to brass tacks, so when I’m in the zone, I get ferocious about being interrupted. But I can make some changes going forward that should improve the situation.
I’m looking forward to shining in my new role.