My wife and I ride OneWheels (because we’re badasses, and they’re super fun).

I’m generally the one that is more willing to mess himself up by falling, and consequently, I tend to learn a little faster. The more I’m willing to lean into the fear of falling, the faster I can learn how not to fall.

I’ve noticed that every time we head out for a ride, my wife has fear to overcome. Each ride is a step across the threshold of her fear. When I experience her in her fear, I have a bunch of stuff come online.

I get impatient, wanting her to get over this faster. I want to give her advice, hustling her through the motions so that she’ll learn the same way I did. I’ll withdraw and turn inwards, so I don’t have to be with the way her fear is manifesting.

All of these things are ways of me turning away from the intimacy of being with someone as they move through their own process.

I want to move her along faster because then I don’t have to empathetically feel her own discomfort.

“I can get her there sooner!” the voice in my head screams, as I prepare more advice.

But that advice is really for me, not her.

I need to get her there sooner, because I can’t be with the discomfort of her own process. She’ll get there exactly at the pace dictated by her own tempo.

(As an aside, consider that the much-maligned mansplaining, whether it’s been done by a man or a woman, is really just more of what I’m describing here — and inability to be with the intimacy of growth).

When you are developing someone’s leadership, you are ultimately out on the OneWheel with them. You are standing for them to step beyond the threshold of their own comfort, and begin learning something that is new and foreign.

All kinds of fear will show up as someone crosses that threshold, and that fear has one and only one job: convince us to turn back to the world that is comfortably familiar.

Leadership is developed when you have someone stand next to you as you go through all of these motions, and simply keep their hand on your back, reminding you why you chose to cross this threshold in the first place.

Everything else, outside of that hand on your back, is ultimately about the leader’s inability to sit with the intimacy of this moment. The intimacy of you vulnerably learning how to fall and get up again, and all of the emotional content that comes along for that ride.

Leaders are slow to turn towards intimacy, and quick to seek out new techniques, approaches and skills they could learn to “get people there faster”.

The real shortcut is letting go of the shortcut, and instead, being with people exactly as they are in this moment.

As you practise doing so, you’ll discover that your life, and the lives of those you lead, start to transform.