In 2016, I had the privilege of being in coaching relationship with one brave soul after another. Together, we experienced the incredible freedom that comes only in the tailwind of a great act of personal courage. Similar to the aerial dancer who flies from one tethered safety line to the next, these acts of courage often contain a breathtaking “no hands!” moment.
Growing forward always involves that confronting moment when we know we can no longer hold onto what’s been. We must let go of “the way it is,” leave our comfort zone, and take an untethered step out in the direction of what will be now. The vulnerability of that moment gives life to strength and courage that we may not have known we possess. How exhilarating!
I am grateful and blessed to have supported leaders journeying into and through that bold moment this past year! I’ve summarized below accounts describing some of the terrain we’ve crossed together and the essential shifts that resulted. I hope you will be as inspired as I am to get a glimpse of what’s possible!
We bravely faced our fears of failure and admitted our over-controlling behaviors.
Situation: A client was stuck in unproductive thought patterns and behavior patterns towards co-workers and direct reports.
Shift: recognizing and releasing self-judgments and unrealistic self-expectations. Learning to relate with compassion and acceptance towards oneself, which naturally led to relating more compassionately towards others. This has fostered more positivity, trust, and openness in relationships (both at work and at home).
We bravely faced self-imposed conditions and limits on one’s worthiness, i.e.: “I’m not valuable unless…” “If I don’t do _____, then _____ will happen.”
Situation: A client and small business owner was overwhelmed with busyness and exhaustion, which was taking a toll in important relationships.
Shift: Recognizing the fears that were driving behavior (fear of disapproval, of not getting things done, of failing). Shifting the inner conversation from one that placed conditions on self-worth, to one that is self-supportive and self-accepting. This is leading to the ability to honor one’s own needs and take better care of oneself physically and emotionally.
We bravely faced the uncomfortable truth that how we are regarding ourselves and our performance is not the way others’ may perceive us.
Situation: a leader was unknowingly perceived by peers as territorial, defensive, and lacking confidence.
Shift: Took responsibility to be intentional about one’s presence and one’s impact on others. Began asking the question: how do I want to BE in this meeting / conversation / relationship? And then self-managed thoughts, words and actions to make that so.
We bravely faced the incredible dichotomy of letting go of control in order to experience peace-of-mind.
Situation: a client was faced with life-changing circumstances that were neither desirable nor within her control.
Shift: Discovered deep inner strength, enabling a rich journey through frustration, fear, anger, and sadness into acceptance and hope in new possibilities.
Wow, huh!? Do you see yourself in any of the situations described above? There are typically common themes surrounding our individual stories.
Onward! 2017 with Intention
At the end of every day, we have a story to tell. We write that story moment-to-moment, through every decision made, each word uttered into our relationships, and how we choose to see or regard the people in our lives. In the situations above, change happened because individuals were ready to honestly look at the current story they were existing within. And upon realization that the story was not one they wished to continue, they tore off a fresh sheet of paper and began drafting the next chapter by reflecting on questions such as these:
What comfort zone am I hanging out in that is no longer serving me?
What unhelpful or unproductive thoughts am I giving my mental energy to?
What have I been tolerating that it is time to say no to?
What positive qualities am I ready to own and to express freely?
What must this next chapter of my story include? What are my non-negotiables? (i.e.: higher priority on my physical health, more authenticity or speaking what is true for me, invest more of myself into my relationships, practices that enhance my peace-of-mind, etc.)
When I look back on my work and life in 3-months, 6-months, etc. what do I want to see? How do I want to feel?
How about you? What are you ready to invite more of in your life this year? What is the untethered step awaiting you? I would be honored to support you as you ready yourself for that bold moment! Here’s to a courageous 2017 together!
All best wishes,