Creating yourself as who you want to be can be anxiety provoking; you have no idea what your fullest potential looks like; it’s all unknown. Are you curious and courageous enough to endure anxious moments of not knowing for the sake of finding out? Are you willing to be fierce in your discipline, enough to practice 100% accountability, living into integrity, and aligning your actions with your highest truth? Can you be compassionate with yourself through this exploration, allowing yourself to fumble and be humbled by this amazing process of realizing your highest self, highest truth and highest potential? Can you be courageous enough to reach out for handholds, supports and resources that allow your strengths to be experienced by you?
Posts Tagged ‘Courage’
A client of mine in Toronto, Frank, is challenged in this moment with an interesting dilemma. His project is stalled due to a number of factors outside his area of responsibility. He’s in a “wait and see” place, and what he’s finding is that he’s experiencing a lack of motivation, a sense of inadequacy and he’s questioning his competence.
“Something must be wrong with me or the way I’m doing my job.” Frank says, as he’s struggling to find what’s missing in order to get some momentum going for his project. “On the one hand, I know there’s nothing for me to do but to wait for decision makers to take the next step. On the other hand, though, I keep wondering if there’s something I can do, or something I’m not doing that’s precipitating the stall. I feel unmotivated and I don’t know what to do about that.”
What Frank is calling unmotivated stems from thoughts and beliefs that arise in this period of incubation for the project. In our coaching session he and I discussed the life cycle of essentially every living thing on the planet, including relationships, corporations and projects. By viewing his project within a natural and normal cycle of being, Frank was able to draw from a reality that allowed him to take his proper place in the unfolding of his project. At the same time, he couldn’t stop himself from asking “Am I doing something wrong? What’s mine to do here? Is there something I can do to hurry this incubation period along?”
Frank’s questions are good ones. First things first, though. One of Frank’s fears is that people are going to find out or decide that he is inadequate. So, in circumstances such as the one he currently is finding himself, the first thought that comes to mind is How am I being inadequate that is contributing to the stall out this project?
Frank’s boss has acknowledged him for his leadership role in bringing the project to this level of completion. He’s been clear with him that he’s done everything he can and now it’s time to wait for others to do their part in order to bring about the next level of the cycle of the project. So, by all indications, there are no inadequacies on the part of Frank. This is one choice-point Frank finds himself at: Can he let go of his fear of inadequacy and allow himself to experience the full capacity of his competence? This is an important step in him defining himself as a leader.
The second question: What’s mine to do?, is the next step. At first, Frank could find nothing to do while waiting for others to do what’s theirs to do; however with a little prodding he was able to come up with a list of five tasks that would be valuable to consider.
- Make a list of all the smaller projects and tasks that have not been attended to while he’s been focused on the larger project and take actions towards completing them
- Take time with individual members of his team, connect with them, perhaps provide some mentoring and supervision – something he’s unable to do when caught up in the momentum of the project
- Meet with others in his company to talk about these types of dilemmas, perhaps brainstorming what’s possible to move projects like this along, as well as openly exploring what he may be missing, as well as provide support for each other when things are not going as planned
- Find projects outside the workplace that provide fulfillment when fulfillment isn’t forthcoming in his work
- Realize that he is more than the fulfillment of his project, and that he needs to explore other meaningful ways to bring fulfillment into his life.
For Frank, and so many of us, this last item is really important. We’ve forgotten that we are not our projects. We are not our degrees, certifications, job titles, our bank accounts, our successes or our failures. We are beings engaged with the life experiences we currently find ourselves in. We are here to be curious, to explore and experiment with what we know and what we haven’t yet discovered about ourselves. Fulfillment comes from courageously stepping into that adventure – for Frank, the adventure is exploring who he is in the midst of nothing to do. That’s it!
Frank’s final question: Is there something I can do to hurry this incubation period along, is also important to consider. Frank is conscientious enough to ensure that he’s doing everything he can do to keep the project moving, as best he can. He is now in the dilemma of being with patience and understanding that some things take the time they take; you can’t pull on a seedling to help move it along to becoming a tree.
This period of time is growing Frank. He too is incubating, and something is happening within him, just like his project, that, when its time, will automatically generate the beginning of the next phase of the cycle of life. This just may be the very thing required for the project to begin to get some traction. Everything is interrelated. Frank is growing the project, the project is growing Frank, and a greater cycle of growth is being generated that is way beyond our imagination. There’s more to all of this than meets the eye!
To state the obvious, there’s no question we are living in turbulent times. The winds of change are creating upheaval and instability, leaving chaos and confusion in its wake. The almighty dollar upon which we’ve built just about all of our institutions, including religion, as well as a sense of security and stability is rocking and rolling like those areas around the planet that are experiencing earthquakes. Everything is getting shaken up.
In the workplace, job security is getting to be a bankrupt concept. And, if you manage to keep your job, most likely you’ve taken on the work of those who have lost theirs. More stress and fewer fulfillment.
Naomi, a client of mine in San Francisco used to love going to work every morning. Now, with a new CEO pressuring the very small staff to produce way beyond their capability, the strain is such that she experiences overwhelm, frustration and, what we normally call depression. “What’s the point?” Naomi asks, rhetorically. “I used to love my work, but now I’m thinking of leaving. It’s all too much?”
As a sailor who crossed the Atlantic Ocean, I could see the changes on the surface of the water that tells us whether we’ll be experiencing turbulence or calm seas. We could see miles off in the distance any sea change that was coming our way. We could prepare appropriately and settle in for any turbulence.
Though I fly frequently, I am disconcerted by any turbulence we experience in the air because it is invisible, generally speaking. I look out the window intending on discovering that which is the catalyst for my discomfort. As an analogy, I find that these instabilities we are currently experiencing is much the same; where or what is the instigator of all of this turbulence in all of our institutions, our solar system, in the Universe at large? I find it fascinating!
The invisible catalyst is a known entity to those who know. For most of us though we feel victimized by the unseen forces that have wreaked havoc to our lifestyles, our sense of security and stability. We are losing our ground of being that we thought was us! Every aspect of life is getting a good shake up. The question I pose is what is our role in this shake up? How do we be with the devastation of our life paths that lay in ruin? Is there a way to create stability in an unstable environment?
Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide!
In any work environment, each of us brings with us, on a daily basis, a sense of un-assuredness. And, with that comes stress, worry and perhaps a less then calm and serene demeanor. We feel helpless and powerless in the face of these turbulent times. Like Naomi, the heads of institutions are bringing in the sails, battening down the hatches, throwing access baggage overboard. We are always wondering if today is the day that we walk the plank.
So what’s the solution? Well, since, on a spiritual level, there is no problem, then there’s no solutions required. What is required is remembering who you are in the first place. Who were you before you were a business person, a member of a cultural or religious tradition; before you were a man or a woman? It takes a lot of sifting through the myriad identities that we’ve overlaid upon our essential nature, however, by remembering who you really are, you come to find the calm sea within, realizing that, like Shakespeare says we are merely players on this stage we call THIS LIFE. We can leave the behind our roles, identities and characters. In doing so we come back to the “me” underneath it all.
I googled spirituality in business, again, and found more articles and blogs that share the degree to which business people are engaging in spiritual conversations in the workplace. I’m not making this stuff up, attempting to convince you of the paradigm shift within which we are immersed. I am encouraging you to see how disempowered you can believe yourself to be in this moment, or, you can cultivate awareness and awaken to how empowered you are to empower yourself and others.
Our business institutions are the spiritual centers now. It is where we practice the essential truths of our religious and spiritual traditions. Its where we practice acceptance of what we cannot change, courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference; its where we practice compassion, for there but for the grace of God go thee; it’s were we deliver ourselves from evil for the sake of well-being of every being on the planet as well as the planet herself; its, as Mahatma Gandhi said – being the change we wish to see.
Turbulence? You bet. It gives us the opportunity to discover clarity of knowing there is nothing to fear but fear itself (I’m so grateful for all of those who’ve created these incredibly wise statements.). Discovering, recognizing and acknowledging this Truth is essential to the journey. With this in mind, enjoy the adventure!
From: Julia W. Boulder, Colorado
Dear Dr. Rosie,
I’m curious how you’ve prepared for this New Year? Did you evaluate and assess how things went for you in 2010 and make a list of what you want to have happen in 2011? What process did you follow to make this coming year better than the last?
Look forward to seeing you at the next Colorado Wonderful Women’s Retreat in February.
From: Dr. Rosie
What comes along automatically for me with the end of a season, a cycle or a year is a process of questioning of what I could have done differently and what am I willing to consider doing differently in this upcoming period of time. Our economic situation is just one element of many that makes it seem imperative that I rethink things so as to allow life to turn out the way I want rather than have it turn out the way it could, if I don’t shift how I’m being or what I’m doing. This usually gives me a sense of control over my current situation and lessens the experience of being at the mercy of something outside myself. In just these few sentences I’ve revealed a couple of values that will enter my evaluation process and the planning I’ll do for 2011 and beyond.
You see, Julia, what influences our choice-making process more than anything else is the values that we live into; the values that we align with and in many ways make sacred, which will have us choose what we choose to choose for this upcoming year to turn out the way we want.
The values I want to live into are perhaps different than what I’ve always believed to be most important. Stability, Security, Safety and Control (SSS and C) have been primary values that have kept me stuck in beliefs and in actions that don’t really serve me anymore. I’m not wanting to replace these with their opposites but I may want to modify my list to include values that I’ve ignored or been afraid to acknowledge. The SSS and C values too often have limited me from acting and allowing more of what I’m wanting to occur in my life. And so I want to ask myself what are some other qualities that I want as much as or more than SSS and C.
Freedom, Fun and Flexibility are three values at the top of my list when assessing projects I take on. Courage and Allowing are also very important. Love, Kindness and Generosity have become more important as I mature. And, for those who know me well, they know that Nature and Beauty are also very close to the top of my list.
Courage is becoming more important to me as I continually push the edge of my comfort zone in order to practice walking my talk. Integrity and Accountability are also really important to me and in order to be accountable and in integrity I have to be courageous enough to be-with the various forms of discomfort that are going to surface as I ignore those parts of me that want to resist this, in service to my old values of SSS and C.
This creates a dilemma in that I have to continually be vigilant, observing my natural inclination to avoid and distract myself, even go unconscious of my actions, in service of SSS and C. I have to continually be vigilant of not only my actions but the thoughts that fuel those actions, the ones that judge, criticize and hinder any movement towards those values that bring about a fulfillment of my spirit but contradict the belief that Safety, Stability and Security are essential. To live into my truth I continually have to practice being death-defying. I’m not into extreme sports unless you include taking leaps-of-faith an extreme sport.
So assessing my values and re-prioritizing them is a big practice I take on at the end of the year.
Another practice, Julia, is to make a list of regrets; what I did or didn’t do over the year that had things turn out the way they did. There isn’t anything to fix, heal, change or convert here, nor necessarily to forgive. Looking at this list lets me see where I didn’t act according to my highest good or my highest truth. I can sit with myself or with my coach and discover what survival strategies were in place that had me choose to choose what I chose. I ask myself what was I serving that created the regrets. What was I afraid people might find out or decide about me – or what I would find out or decide about myself? What was I afraid to discover about me? What would I have to face if I were to discover something about myself I wouldn’t like or respect? These questions allow me to go beyond the basic list-making of New Year Resolutions and become ever more resolved to transform my choice-making process to ensure the outcome I’m wanting.
There is a part of me that doesn’t want to be so accountable and responsible for creating a bigger, better and different 2011. I want to appreciate all I’ve done to make 2010 the year it was; to remember where I was courageous and brave, where I allowed myself to be vulnerable in service to my highest truth and highest good; where I pushed myself to be generous beyond my means, knowing that the abundance of the Universe is always showering gifts upon me. I want to acknowledge myself for all of the stretching and strengthening I did this year to become who I am and to be the foundation of who I’m becoming.
If I can follow through with these three practices, Julia, I believe I will be ready, perched on the edge of my nest, like a fledgling eagle and make the leap into the ethers anticipating the exhilaration of what’s to come.
May your year be filled with courage and daring acts of being you!