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Posts Tagged ‘Authenticity’

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 45

May 2nd, 2014 No comments

photo - Version 2This is the forty-fifth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

This post is a week late because I spent the last week in Disneyland.  Entrepreneurs need vacations too (actually, we need them more than non-entrepreneurs).  Make sure you’re taking yours.

The theme this week has really been reinvesting.  My experience with a number of entrepreneurs I’ve met with is the assumption that they shouldn’t have to pay more money to invest in themselves.  They should simply be able to make things go, and the only place really worthy of investing in themselves is their business.  Buying more infrastructure, paying their employees more, generating more capital so as to buy more advertising, and so on.

I think that’s crazy.  As an entrepreneur, you are your business.  You are its lifeblood.

When training leaders, we often say that how the team is being is a reflection of how the leader is being, and this holds true for businesses as well.

When I start working with businesses, the first thing I do is meet with the people in charge of leading the organization, and see how they’re being.  The way the leader is being will always tell me volumes about how things operate organizationally.

If the leader shows up late to meeting, and then dashes off to his next one with only minutes between each appointment, I know that the business is going to be frequently operating by the seat of its pants, likely lacking clear systems and often pushing up against, if not overstepping, its deadlines.

Because of this simple fact, it’s imperative that entrepreneurs invest in themselves.

This week, I hired my second coach.  I’ve admired Steve Chandler for years, ever since my friend and colleague, Lisa Peake, sent me a copy of his book Wealth Warrior.  Wealth Warrior changed my perspective on how I related to making money and generating lasting wealth and prosperity.

It was a big investment — $3,000 for 7 coaching sessions.  That took a couple of conversations with my wife, and even more conversations in my own head.  But at the end of the day, if I’m not investing in myself, how can I expect anyone else to?  And if I’m not willing to invest money in growing the leadership of my organization, how can I expect my organization to grow?

Investing in your business is important.  Think of these as things like buying better infrastructure, buying more computers, buying redesigning your workplace, buying pizza for your employees, etc.  These things are all essential.

As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to put the oxygen mask on yourself first.  If you’re not investing in your own development, your company is going to get stuck where you get stuck (note that this doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t make a lot of money — financial success is only one place someone can get stuck)

Start there.  Put the oxygen mask on yourself first.

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Speaking From the Heart — Part 9

April 13th, 2014 No comments

There’s a danger to practicing authenticity by posting on your blog and Facebook, and I think that that is the risk of self-indulgence.  If we’re not careful, our sharing can simply become a tedious mess of drama and victimhood, without actually demonstrating power.

It’s an easy trap to fall in to, because it takes courage to share the dark parts about ourselves, and when we do so, we get a response that’s commensurate with that.  The feedback I’ve gotten from sharing where I’m at has been amazing.  People have reached out, thanked me for sharing, acknowledged me for the courage, and provided sincere offers of support.

That’s been great.

The risk though, is that I stop being authentic, and instead shift what I’m sharing so as to continue receiving those things.

It feels good when I share authentically and people respond positively to it, but it’s crucial to remember that the reason it matters in the first place, and the reason it feels good, is because I’m actually being true to myself.  The kudos are simply a side-benefit.

I was reflecting the other day that I hadn’t shared anything recently, and felt like it was time to do so.  Then, I thought “Well, the breakdown has mostly passed, I don’t really have anything crappy to share”.

You can see why that’s funny right?

So instead, let’s continue to play this game, and actually allow people (you) to see all of me.  Not just the crappy bits, but also the great bits.

I’ve been in breakdown for about a month now.  I raised my rates in service of both myself and my clients.  I know that sounds counter-intuitive, so let me elaborate.  By taking on exponentially/terrifying results myself, and really committing to them, I’m actually paving the way for my clients to do the same.  Your coach can only take you as deeply as they’ve gone.  It’s not that I don’t benefit from increasing my rates — it’s moving me in the direction that I want to go as well.

Trust me though, it would have been a lot easier to stay comfortable and not face the fear and breakdown that I have over the last month.

As a result of setting that new goal, I’ve been confronted (rather than rehash it, just go back and read about it here if you’re interested).  My fears have been running rampant, and I’ve been in breakdown.  No fun, no joy.  Things just haven’t been that great.

But this week… This week I generated my breakthrough.  On the heels of a powerful weekend training new coaching and witnessing transformation in the moment, and in tandem with Bay working through her own breakdown, my breakthrough magically popped.  Suddenly, the struggle dropped away.  I asked for support, and I got it.  I got a ton of it.  I got it from all over.

I asked for support from my teammates, and talked with them over the phone.  I reached out via e-mail to one of my favourite authors and coaches, Steve Chandler, and he not only responded, but set aside two hours to talk with me on the phone.  (You know what I definitely wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t set such a crazy confronting goal for myself?  I sure as hell wouldn’t have randomly decided to reach out to one of the world’s foremost coaches and asked him to talk to me on the phone).

I showed up on my call with my coach on Thursday, and things were just… different.  Suddenly, I realized that it didn’t matter, and not only did I have an intellectual awareness of that fact — I actually GOT that it didn’t matter.  Things were going to work out, and I could trust that one way or another, I was going to be just fine.  All I really needed to do, instead of clenching and trying to control everything, was to relax and allow some trust.

“It sounds like you’ve had a breakthrough in trust, Adam”, my coach, Jolynne Anderson, said to me.  She was right — and all it took was three months.  During our call, I told her “You know, I really want a new client now.  I’m ready for it”, to which she replied “Yah, I get that — and how you’re being right now?  It’s time.  You’re going to generate clients from here”.

From there, all it took was one day.  One powerful two hour conversation with someone, and boom, the rest happened by itself.  I didn’t need to push anything on him.  All I needed to do was be with him, and trust that that was enough.  We went deep, and I gave him powerful, high-flame coaching.  We got to the bottom of everything that was currently creating his chaotic hectic life the way it is.  Once he saw what was possible, it stopped being a question of whether or not he wanted to work with me — it was a question of whether or not I was willing to take him on as a client.

And so there it is.  What’s clear to me is that none of this would have come about if I hadn’t made a crazy declaration right at the start.  All of this is based around the power of declaration and commitment.

It isn’t until we actually declare and truly commit to something that transformation can happen.  without a goal you’re really willing to pursue, it’s just easier to turn around and go back to what is comfortable.  For three months, it would have been much easier to go back to my old rates and lived comfortably on them.  But that’s not the game I’m up to playing, and it wouldn’t serve my clients to have me doing so.

This is about more than just me — and it’s about more than just you.

I’m sharing this here, because it’s important to play a bigger game.  It doesn’t just impact you — it impacts the world around you.  I hope that my breakthrough inspires you to create one for yourself, because that will in turn inspire the other people in your life to do the same.

Play bigger.

Please.

We need you to.

Speaking from the Heart – Part 8

April 3rd, 2014 1 comment

Time to put myself out there again.  My intent here is to actually own my own stuff as it shows up — not to be melodramatic about it.  I believe that we all experience these sensations from time to time.  It’s okay to have them, and the more we share and allow them, the more they can flow through us.  So here’s where I find myself today.

I’m bouncing in and out of fear like a pinball machine. I’m in breakdown (so I do declare) and realize I have been here for about three weeks, if not longer.

I need reassurance that I can actually achieve the big goals I’ve set for myself, and have a story that that reassurance ultimately needs to come from within — so what’s the point of even asking for reassurance?

My teammate, Brian, in San Diego, reflected to me that just because I’m on a journey to generate that trust and reassurance from within doesn’t mean that I don’t need some externally to support me as I move forward.

My coaching practice is full, and I’ve never felt more like my client game is in breakdown. I judge myself as not being a powerful enough coach for at least a month now. And, I can own that when I do, I quickly pave over the feeling by finding the things that I’m doing wrong. I set up complimentary sessions with new people, but those people aren’t really interested in powerfully moving their lives forward. They’re tourists — curious about what I do, but not so much in creating breakthroughs in their lives.

I can see the pattern, and yet don’t seem willing to choose something else.

I’m practicing slowing down, and it makes me want to run faster than ever before. “There’s more to do, I’m not doing enough, hurry up and get new clients you useless piece of shit, why the fuck can’t you generate anything, augh!” is how my inner voice rages away.  It’s an all-out war inside my head; a battle between peace and tranquility and my judgments and stories.

I’m sad. I’m sad that I am not experiencing joy. I’m sad that every bit of success feels fleeting.

My projects sit derelict, like half-constructed model airplanes sitting in my room as a child, and my metaphors feel like melodramatic facebook posts.

I’m embarrassed to share this with you — not because I’m having these thoughts, feelings, body sensations, etc. — that’s natural.  I’m embarrassed because I can see that I’m currently unwilling to let go of them.

You know what’s funny?  It’s the judgment about being unwilling to let go that is keeping me stuck.  What I can see is that if I simple let myself be where I’m at, things would start to slide forward.  As long as I hang on to the judgment about where I am and who I am being, nothing can shift.

I guess what I want to enroll *you* in is actually noticing where you do the same thing yourself.  Where do you find yourself in a certain place, and then rather than empower wherever you happen to be, judge and resent yourself for it?

Don’t bother sharing it with me though, I’m going to be over here kicking my own ass for where I’m currently at.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 41

March 28th, 2014 No comments

IMG_2853 - Version 2This is the forty-first post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

The theme for this week has been all about hanging outside of my comfort zone.

It’s not that this is new information for any of us.  We’ve all seen the image on the internet pointing out your comfort zone, and a space outside of it, which is labelled “Where the magic happens”.  But that’s fine — this series isn’t about providing you something brand new, as much as it is to chronicle my own journey in the hopes that you take something away from it.

I started preparing to deliver our training this past weekend and was instead presented with a different offer: head over to the other room where we were starting a new program, and begin acting in a different position.  I was moving up — and that meant stepping in to leading a new team, meeting that team, showing up as a leader in a room full of new participants, and taking on things I’m not comfortable doing.

The thing I noticed is that this is what is next for me, but my gut instinct was to resist it.

“Maybe when I’ve learned a little bit more.  Maybe once I’ve watched someone else do it a few more times”.

The same things I hear my clients try to enroll me in when we look at what is next for them to take on in alignment with the lives they really want to be leading.

Seriously, the exact same stories.

How embarrassing.

As I sat there, trying to strategize my way out of feeling intimidated and like I wasn’t good enough, I had an awareness come over me.

“These people don’t know that I’m worried, or scared.  I want to be a certain way so as to hide that from them.  But I don’t need to.  I can just show up the way I show up around anything I’m comfortable with, and let whatever happen, happen”.

And it was that simple.  That doesn’t mean it was easy (more on this over at Evergrowth’s blog soon) — but it was simple.

The way I show up when I just let myself be authentic is connected.  Open and witty.  Insightful and brilliant.

All there really was for me to do was trust that it would be alright, that those qualities are always available, and to connect with the people in front of me.

And that’s all there really ever is to do when you’re willing to step outside of your comfort zone.

Speaking from the Heart – Part 7

March 17th, 2014 No comments

I don’t relish sharing this — I have a story that sharing about the dark side of things like despair makes me sound like a downer and someone more focused on complaining than moving forward and being responsible in their life.  Nevertheless, now that I’ve started down the path, here’s Part 7 of my ongoing foray into vulnerability.

As I sat and meditated tonight, I got present to something I don’t want to be with: despair.

Despair that things won’t “work out” (whatever that is).  Despair that, in spite of my best efforts, things are going to fail.  I have despair that even though I’ve asked for support, it doesn’t matter (and frankly, the places I’ve asked for support are pretty flimsy).  Despair that even if I do get responses to my request for support, I can’t fit it in, so what’s the point anyhow?

I don’t have enough time.  Even if I did, I’d just fill it up with more stuff.  I don’t have time to support other people, and I don’t have time to request support, let alone accept it if I was to receive it.

It’s a setup – and no wonder I feel despair.  Inside this context, there’s no room for anything else.  It’s Ouroboros.  I am simultaneously creating my own trap, getting inside the prison, locking the door, and then trying to figure the way out.

So here’s what I can distinguish:

  1. I’m not happy with the way things currently are.
  2. When you’re in a pattern, the thing to do is to notice your pattern, and choose anything different.
  3. Inevitably, I don’t choose something different (“But I really DON’T have time!”)

This work is infuriating.  While working on this last week with my coach, I got supremely furious.  I was confronted by the pointlessness of it all.  What does it even matter?  There’s no room for anything, and any time I clear space, people are going to ask for more of my time.

Now we’re back to despair.

My default is to go back to more doing.  Maybe if I do a bunch more, that will solve the problem?  Maybe I’m just not doing enough — if I did just a little more, and achieved just a few more results, I’m sure that would remove me feeling this way… right?

It won’t.  Because it never does.  It hasn’t for the last 35 years.  My survival mechanism wants to tell me that “wait, listen Adam, this time it’s different.  This time this thing that you need to do really WILL make the difference”.  But I know it isn’t true.  It’s in black in white, in those three steps up there.

Time to seek out some support.

Speaking from the heart – Part 6

March 5th, 2014 No comments

Let’s talk about sex.

Not because I want to — specifically because I don’t want to.

I don’t like talking about sex at all.  It makes me feel uncomfortable.  It’s taboo in society to even have a conversation about it.  These days, kids learn more about sex from internet pornography than they do from conversations with their parents or their peers.  (I’m making that up, but it sounds accurate, doesn’t it?)

Growing up, becoming an adolescent male, sex was embarrassing and highly desirable.  I was filled with hormones, and those hormones led to loads of embarrassing situations.

Sometimes I was attracted to girls that had a crush on guys that would pick on me.  So that sucked, because it enforced the story I had that those guys were better than I was.  It ended up just being easier to repress that attraction — so I did, making my sexuality, at least in those areas, wrong.

Sometimes I would be attracted to someone and share it with my Mum, slyly, and she would tease me, gently.  There was no harm in it, but it made me embarrassed that she could so easily see through me being coy.  So I learned to hide that part of myself – to shut it out and keep myself flat and level.

Sometimes I would be out with my family and we’d be walking through a crowd, and my Dad would laugh, and say to my Mum “Did you see that?  That guy just checked that girl out from head to toe.  He wasn’t subtle at all!”  Other times I would hear girls talking about guys being creepy, or how obvious it was when a guy my age looked at another girl (and sometimes that was also said with a healthy amount of scorn, because they resented the guy looking at that girl instead of themselves).  So I learned that it was wrong to consider other women attractive, or even looking at someone I find attractive. It became safer to look at someone attractive with scorn.  “Pfft, what a slut”.  At least that was acceptable (that was the story I created).

By the time I got to the age and maturity where women were willing to even consider sex with me (it took a while!) I was a big huge ball of wrong, shame, and control.

And this is where Bay entered my life.

My stuff grows more and more clear to me each week as I continue to work on it.  Out of all of the lessons that I put together as a child and an adolescent, I reached the point where there were parts of me that were simply unacceptable.  It was not acceptable that I found women other than my partner attractive.  It was unacceptable that, when watching TV, I would sometimes get turned-on because of what we were watching.

None of those things are actually bad.  They come with being a human being.  The problem wasn’t that I found other women attractive, or that sometimes I got turned on when there was a naked woman on TV — the problem was that I was not able to own this part of myself.

I had basically fractured myself into two parts.  The part of me that felt all of the things that I felt, and the part of me that I was able and willing to own and share with the rest of the world, including my partner.

As a result, intimacy (including but not limited to sex) became impossible.  There was no room for me to actually be myself, because I couldn’t even own that.  I would carry on the façade as long as I could, but eventually we would inevitably stop having sex, and then intimacy altogether.  There was simply no room for me to be both myself, authentic and vulnerable, and intimate.

In some relationships this leads to the situation where one partner cheats on the other partner.  For me, I cheated once on a girlfriend when I was much younger, and felt so horrible about it that I vowed never to do it again.  So instead I’d just shut out my partner, turn to internet pornography and meet my own needs.  It was perhaps less “morally reprehensible” in the eyes of our societal views, but what I can see is that it had no less impact on the health of the intimacy of my relationships, nor the mindset of my partners (“What is wrong with me?”, they would ask, wondering why I had shut them out).

I was shut down everywhere.  I couldn’t even admire someone who was beautiful, because that was the part of me that was wrong, and as a result, I learned to stifle the impulse.

But, as I’ve said before, humans are not like a set of plumbing, with multiple valves we can turn on and off.  If you cut off your energy in one place, you cut it off in other places.

What there is for me to do now is to start owning these parts of myself. Own them as simply facets of me, wholly and complete.  There’s nothing wrong with being lit up by someone who is beautiful — what there is to do is to take that energy and share it with the person I love.  It doesn’t mean that she isn’t important, or that I don’t find her attractive; the energy is my own, and I get to choose where I provide it.  What has changed is that I’m now choosing to provide it to my partner, instead of miserly guarding it for myself (where it was safe, but ultimately empty).

What does that look like?  It means sometimes sharing with Bay when I notice myself following the usual pattern.  Oh look, now I’m denying myself any access to anything that might be arousing, because that way I can control myself.  Oh look, I just opened up google and typed in “sexy nuns”, and then quickly shut down the page.  Oh look, this time I did the same thing, but took a little longer to shut down the page.

It’s not Bay’s responsibility to immediately accept what I share with her.  Unconditional love doesn’t mean that we don’t get taken out when our partners share something we don’t like.  We may very well struggle to be with a part of themselves that they’ve spent most of their own lives rejecting (after all, they’ve been struggling with it…).  Our job as partners is to hear it, notice what it creates in ourselves (and what it reflects in you that you cannot own), and then take that on.

In this way, relationships can be the ultimate ground for personal growth — but it requires stepping into your fear over and over.

I don’t love sharing this with you, because I’m not yet ready to fully own that that is who I am.  But I am sharing it because this is the process by which I do begin to own myself, as a powerful leader; one replete with wisdom, arrogance, kindness, judgment, humility, grace, foolishness, wit, defensiveness, and yes, sexuality too.

Thanks for reading and sharing in my process.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 37

March 3rd, 2014 No comments

photo - Version 2This is the thirty-seventh post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

The theme for this week has most certainly been breakdown.  The teams I lead as part of my ongoing coach training have been struggling to generate what they’ve declared, and that always drives up people’s stuff.

People’s stuff being driven up isn’t a bad thing.  That’s a hard thing for most of us to actually come around to accepting.  When people have their stuff driven up, it’s actually a gift — it’s an opportunity for them to really get clear on what they can’t be with, get coached on it (if they choose), and practice coming from a different place.

The challenge is that when other people have their stuff driven up, it drives my stuff up to.  When other people show up triggered, I get pulled in.  You’ve experienced this too, where one person getting hooked and taken out by something ultimately derails an entire meeting, leading to everyone feeling frustrated and annoyed.

The crazy thing about my career is that my job is to actually be with people’s stuff.  My whole career choice exists in service of having people taking on goals or projects that they can’t see how to create, and then standing for them while they struggle.  You know what happens when you struggle?  It gets messy.

So.  When my team is in breakdown, it’s challenging for me to stay in altitude and avoid getting drawn in.  My default is to go to blame, or frustration.  I get cold and distanced and become a calculating business man.  It’s no fun for anyone, and it’s especially no fun for me.

The thing is that breakdowns are always the juiciest moments of opportunity.  I’ve been through enough of them myself to know this, and, it’s my work.  Invite people to create breakdowns and on the other side, the breakthrough.

But I don’t like them.

I don’t like breakdowns myself, because they feel terrible (right?).  Breakdowns are great for other people, but not for me.  That’s how I’d like it to be.  But it isn’t — and living like that wouldn’t be in integrity with who I am and what I do.

This Friday, while working to support my team-members, I got an e-mail that the Clipper (our mode of transportation) had a mechanical failure, and we would no longer be able to catch it down to Seattle.  An alternative was available, but it required getting to the terminal two hours earlier.

All I wanted to do was tell everyone messaging me to shut up so I could solve things.  It didn’t matter that half of the people messaging were actually doing so in order to support me — when I’m hooked, I don’t care about any of that.  Just get the hell out of my way and let me do my thing.

It’s kind of funny.  When people are struggling in their stuff, I lose access to compassion for them.  And I do the exact same thing with myself.  When I’m struggling, there’s no room for support or any of the other garments that compassion wears.  I get cold and distant and shut myself out just as much as I shut anyone else.

So what this week ultimately provided me was the opportunity to be present to my stuff and choose something different.  Instead of pushing people away, open up and allow them in.  Choose to create connection and compassion with people struggling in their own stuff.

Look for the breakdowns.  They’re how you know you’re growing.

Speaking from the Heart – Part 5

February 19th, 2014 No comments

Working on relationships is hard.

Over a year ago now, I distinguished that the way I tend to do relationships is 150%.  I show up with a ton of energy and drive, pushing at the other person and with a ton of criticism and judgment about myself, themselves, and everyone else in the mix.

That kind of structure doesn’t allow a lot of room for the other person’s process.  It also creates situations where people feel disempowered or like it doesn’t matter what they do.

“Adam’s going to barge in here anyway, so what’s the point?”

Bay and I have been working on the intimacy in our relationship for years.  It’s something actively work on, except when we don’t.  Intimacy is terrifying for me.  It’s way easier to meet my own needs, and keep myself totally safe and precious.  If I don’t open up, I don’t have to be vulnerable, and that keeps me nice and safe.

It also keeps me perfectly stuck where I am.

I hate awkwardness.  I don’t know why but I’ve avoided it like the plague for as long as I can remember.  Filling every single minute in conversation (to the detriment of any connection that might be created with the other person) was way better than a single minute of silence.

Again, 150% in a relationship, even when it is simply about conversation.

This pattern would show up everywhere – I could never be around girls in school because it was so painfully vulnerable and awkward.  Maybe if I was high or drunk it would be possible, I thought to myself – but that didn’t help either, it just caused me to retreat even further into myself.

What I realize is that creating anything really worthy of who we are requires vulnerability.

A friend of mine once said that you can’t force vulnerability, only set the table for it to come.  But I don’t believe that’s the case – there’s always an opportunity to drop in to your heart and share more than you currently are.

That’s the path of growth.

I don’t relish sharing this stuff, because it’s scary, and it’s vulnerable.  But the fact is, sharing it is what releases it’s hold on me.  Opening up the kimono and sharing all of me is what lets people in.

Welcome in.

Speaking from the heart – Part 4

February 13th, 2014 No comments

So Bay gave her notice at her job!

That is amazing.  It’s been a 7-year process, including a pitstop for an MBA, before she reached the point that she was able to pull the trigger and step courageously into what the future holds for her.

I’ve been moving in and out of fear and possibility.  So has she.

We’ve had some really weird jogs, where she starts out super empowered, and I’m struggling to see what’s possible beyond my concern that the pain in my tooth is now going to lead to our bankruptcy when we don’t have dental coverage.

Then, as Bay talks about what she sees for herself, I start to see things a little differently.

“Wait a sec, you could just buy dental coverage, dummy”.  Oh yeah, that’s right!  Then I start to get present to what is available to us.  The wide-open world.  Anything is possible.

Then Bay starts to hit some bumps, just after half-way through our run.  And then I’m up, and she’s down.

It’s wild, this ride!  I fluctuate in and out of possibility and terror almost on an hourly basis.  When I’m scared, I feel like a shitty husband because I’m not being supportive enough.  And when I’m excited, sometimes I feel like a shitty husband because I’m judging Bay for being in her process and having her own fear.

Oh dear.

There are so many things I want to create in the world, and so many people I want to inspire.  The words of Christopher [ McAuliffe, one of my coaches and mentors] keep ringing through my head:

“Adam, I don’t know anyone else more poised for success than you.  It’s ridiculous that you spend so much time worrying about it.  And because of the fact that you do, it has you playing tiddly-winks.  It’s a small game!”

First of all, tiddly-winks is a shitty game.

Second, the pattern I’m in with Bay, seeing possibility and then not, is a reflection of where I’m at in general.  Fluctuating in and out of being present to my vision and purpose on the planet, and then back looking at the fear I have of failing.

Is this how Gandhi or Mandela felt?  Did they ever question what they were up to?

Judgment: I’m arrogant for asking that question that way.

Anyhow, this is getting melodramatic, which isn’t my intent.  My intent is simply to open the kimono, and share what’s inside.  To let people in, and see if I die when I’m vulnerable (so far I have not).

One of my current practices: Notice where fear or embarrassment shows up.  Then step into those areas.

Here we go…

Speaking from the heart – Part 3

February 10th, 2014 No comments

I got some great reflection today.  I’d been in conversation with another coach (outside of AC) and had been pushing her, via e-mail, to make some declarations.  My intent was to be a stand for her.  To have her play a bigger game and step in to what might be possible, instead of hanging out in the realm of the predictable.

I hadn’t heard from her in a while, so I sent her a quick e-mail amidst the other things I was doing.  My e-mail was short and to the point.  I didn’t put a lot of thought into it, but rather, simply jotted down what I had in the moment and fired it off.

She responded bluntly.  She told me I was coming off as pompous, arrogant, and like I had all the answers.  That my e-mails were demanding and bossy.

And you know what?  I was embarrassed!  Embarrassed about how I had come across, and embarrassed that I had done something wrong.  I felt like an ass for how I had presented myself.

My default was to go to my safe place of survival mechanism.  Make jokes, ignore what I was feeling, be goofy with Bay.  But then I stopped and really took the time to let myself feel embarrassed, and it was a gift.

Not a gift like the kind you open up on Christmas day.  But a gift like having a good cry.  A gift like really letting yourself be angry.  I really allowed myself to be embarrassed.  And on the other side of that, I was able to see that everything that happened was actually a gift to both myself and this other coach.

An opportunity for me not to beat myself up, but simply to have made a mess and now to get to clean it up.  An opportunity not to practice regret, but to be grateful for the reflection I’d been given and to see what was next for me.  An opportunity to actually let myself feel embarrassment instead of doing my default of joking through it and never letting it penetrate past the surface.

What I want to enroll you in is in creating breakdowns everywhere, and cleaning them up when necessary.  Life isn’t about playing it safe.  It’s about swinging out and swinging big.  You might have to look like a fool or an ass at times, but it’s how you grow.  It’s how we learn.

Play big and embarrass yourself.  It’s how you know you’re moving forward.