Have you ever felt like you are standing on the edge of cliff and if you dare take that next step something totally amazing will happen? That is where I am in my life right now. In the last few weeks, many fascinating things happened around me and there is this strong feeling I am merely a step away from doing something that will totally change my life. So what does this feeling have to do with the title of this post? I invite you to read on to find out!
Many amazing things have been happening all around me in the last few months. Things ranging from my really great and supportive triad in the Tribal Leadership approval process stage to all the blogging around Tribal Agility. I am in an interesting discovery process right now and I am rediscovering a part of myself that I ignored for a very long time.
The Tribal Agility blogs allowed me to connect with Dave Logan, one of the authors of the Tribal Leadership book. More importantly though (sorry Dave!), they allowed me to put together and verbalize some of what I learned around how to combine the knowledge I acquired Tribal Leadership Intensive classes and how I work with Agile teams.
I came out of the Intensive class with a basic understanding of the concepts but I did not understand how to put them into practice. It took me over a year after taking the class taking time to notice to see that I finally got it.
The dirty little secret of my blogs since September is the person who is writing them. Before I share more on that, let me say I am one of those serial achievers in life. I succeeded at many things because fortunately, I was always in jobs that allowed me to live my life with passion and just dig in. My various job roles and personal experiences also stretched my abilities in all sorts of directions.
What took me a long time to realize though was the personal cost of reaching all those achievements. While I had opportunities to have fun and do amazing things, the person that did those things defined himself by his ability to do them. He had a continuous need to find bigger challenges just to prove to that he could beat them.
Imagine the size of the challenges you need to feed such a beast! How long could you feed it? Personally, I fed it for close to twenty years and I probably still throw the occasional steak down the stairs to feed it to be completely honest. To come back to one of the personal costs, I learned to put aside the part of myself where emotions, fear, doubt and uncertainty live. The achiever side was very effective at suffocating any of the occasional appearances of this “weaker” side.
In the last year two important things started happening. I started noticing the more vulnerable side is much more present and I also started realizing the achiever side is reaching a plateau. I understand now they need to come together if I want keep going higher. You can only imagine how much chaos this is causing me and my belief system right now but seeing this other side wants to come out and play, I needed to find a way to let it breathe. Since September, the more authentic and vulnerable Steffan is the person writing the blog posts. I noticed this changed the tone of the site and creates nice freak out moments for the achiever, with posts such as this, which exposes the vulnerable side. Creating that space is allowing them to co-exist more easily now.
How did this change happen? I am not sure yet but I believe coaching and working to help develop people needed more empathy than the stronger side of me could muster. I selectively started tapping the strengths of my emotional side when it was a necessity and eventually the genie escaped the proverbial bottle and now it refuses to go back.
Back to that feeling I was talking about earlier about taking that next step. These days, I see this new person standing right in front of me which is a combination of the achiever and the emotional. This person can break through the achiever plateau and achieve even bigger things by using the strengths of both sides. Here is the thing though, I realized lately this person really scares me because he feels like a stranger right now and I do not know what it means to be that person. What happens if this person is weak? What if I lose the abilities of the achiever? What if I do not like this person? What if I cannot live up to the image of this person in my mind?
This person right in front of me is just standing there right now waiting for me to step into him and breathe life into him. I am realizing lately that much of the journey in the last year was making my way to find this person and see him up close. The positive is that I am much closer to taking that final step than I was a year ago. That last step though feels like a complete leap of faith, similar to taking that step off that cliff and discovering an invisible rope to prevent me from falling and lead me to the other side.
There are times when I accidentally step into that person for a brief moment in time but when I realize where I am, I take a step back. The effect this person seems to have on people overwhelms me and startles me which makes me the step back. I had such a moment today speaking with a client. We were speaking about what is going on in their organization and as I wear multiple hats working with them, the person told me the question was for the organizational coach in me. In that moment, we spoke about many things including many topics around Tribal Leadership and I stepped in naturally into my Self. As I was speaking, I could feel the passion and authenticity coming through my words and I could see how my words were inspiring this person to want to take action. There are times though where I hear the call to step forward and I desperately want to get up but I feel paralyzed by fear. The fear of stepping into my Self, exposing my true Self which I know gives people hope and then risking complete failure is too much for the achiever in me to handle.
So here I am a step or two away from stepping into my true self and becoming someone that will have tremendous impact, inspire passion, influence people and potentially make their world a better place. All I need to do is find the courage within myself to take one big leap of faith that will allow me to transcend into the inspiring leader hidden inside me.