Have you ever had a situation where the emotion or the practicality and tacticality take up all the space, leaving no room for the words that want to spring forth? Or, perhaps, etiquette dictates one does not express such things in such moments? Maybe there’s just too much to say? For me, it happens a lot. Especially right now.
For so long, I’ve been the invisible hand. The whisper in the breeze. Quietly guiding my team to their own inner wisdom and to truths I prefer to show rather than tell. But, with my leaving lingering in the air, I know I’m out of time. And there’s still so much I want them to know.
Some days, the page serves as the place where the lost words can go. Find refuge and community. Silently reverberate into the universe in the hopes that their vibrations reach their intended audience.
What I want so much to say is…
We can serve as beautiful mirrors for one another, reflecting back and calling forth what is innate. The sacred gifts we’re sometimes quick to hide or slow to see.
You do not have to accept the status quo. If you don’t like something, change it. And, if you can’t change it, think about ways you could influence it. And, in the meantime, play with changing your relationship to it.
Do not believe in impossible. Refuse. Nothing is impossible. Believe that you can and do it. And, no matter what, along the way, you will discover things you can’t imagine.
Do not stop dreaming. It is too easy to get lulled into your day to day and stop daydreaming. Don’t do it. Think of daydreaming as vital strategic time. It is.
Make time for what you want. I’d say what you love but you might not know that yet. Or you may have forgotten. Do something wild just because you can. And see what that breaks loose. When that little spark goes off, what shifts?
Do not lose sight of yourself. Believe in your goodness. And in others’ too. Know that there is always a bridge that can be built and that human connection is the strongest material.
Trust. Extend the olive branch. Realize you never know what is going on for other people. In my experience, at the end of the day most people need a little love.
See fear as a sign. Get curious. What’s going on for you in that moment? Often, it can be a really important cue to lean in.
Do not be afraid of feelings. Or of talking about feelings. Feelings are data. Your lived experience is real. I believe if people were more open about their feelings, with themselves and with others, we’d all accomplish a lot more a lot faster and be better off from a well-being perspective as well.
You have value. In every room. At every table. You have value. And a unique perspective. Never question that. And, if and when you do question it, speak up anyway and watch what happens.
Explore – What is my unique perspective? What do I see that others may not? And how can I convey that in an impactful way?
Consider how to share your gifts. Understand that, often, you may need to lead people to them. It is not because of any lacking on the part of your gifts, rather a symptom of a busy and distracted world. Find a way that feels authentic to you but do not miss an opportunity to ensure people know what you bring to the table and the value you can offer. This goes for contributions you’ve made as well as contributions you’re capable of making. Do this in service of others and the greater good.
Be your biggest advocate. Go for what you want and think of creative solutions to propose to get you there.
Do not believe that vision is for other people. Develop your own. A vision for your role, your career, your life. Anything and everything. This ties into the dreaming – dream and build, build and dream.
Play the long game. The short game can be very frustrating and also very misleading. I’ve failed so many times in the short game. But don’t believe it. The important thing is not to let it stop you and keep focused on the long game. Plant the seeds and keep watering them.
Be the change maker you need. I believe if something bothers you, it’s usually a sign that there’s something in need of a creative solution. The more frustrating it is, the more it likely needs attention.
Do not be afraid to color outside the lines. There is not one set of rules. Make your own rules. Bring people along but know that you can go wherever you want to go. And, by including others, you often get to a place that’s better than any one of you would have gotten on your own.
You do not need permission or an invitation to pursue your dreams or your vision.
Be brave. Not fearless. We ALL have fear. Work with yourself to act in spite of it.
Ask “Why not?” and “Why not me?” great cousins to “What would have to be true…?” Again, nothing is impossible. You’d be surprised how many people just don’t go for it.
Get out of your comfort zone. In at least some area of your life, do this all the time. In fact, start to see discomfort as a sign you’re probably onto something and moving in the right direction.
Do not be afraid to be different. Different isn’t bad. In fact, different can be good. I’ve struggled with being different and I now see a lot of those differences as strengths. There was a time in my career when I tried to hide my differences. Doing that made me feel small and triggered imposter syndrome and shame. Don’t do it. Be yourself. Know you’re special and know that, by shining your light, you will attract the people who see that special. Life is too short for worrying too much about the ones who don’t.
Speaking of, authenticity and vulnerability are secret strengths. I used to think vulnerability was weakness and, again, tried to hide it. I now see that being able to own your vulnerability, move through it and act anyway is true strength and it also has the power to empower and strengthen others. As, we are all vulnerable and there is strength in numbers.
Everyone has things they struggle with. And no one is perfect. Think of this as shared humanity and seek it out. It can be incredibly powerful.
Struggle isn’t all bad. You can learn a lot through struggle. Especially if you get curious and quiet. Ask questions. Your answers might surprise you.
Take breaks. Take time off. And unplug when you do. Life is bigger than work. It’s important to reconnect with that.
When you find you are having trouble seeing the bigger picture, take it as a cue that you need some time away and unplugged… and take it.
Do not apologize for boundaries. Draw them and hold them. Also, be careful not to equate the lack of boundaries with commitment or excellence. I have made that mistake in the past and I realize now that, ironically, I wasn’t at my best as a result. Sure, sometimes you need to push. Sometimes it’s an all-out sprint, but you can only afford to do that when you’re rested and fully charged. Which means that needs to be an intentional focus. See rest, balance and nourishment as a savvy, strategic investment.
Do not be afraid to ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. And, it’s another savvy, strategic investment that sets you up to optimize your situation. When I think back on all the time I’ve wasted in my life spinning my wheels or fearing raising my hand, I shudder.
Do not be afraid to try new things. Even if you might not yet excel at them. Even if you might look silly.
The biggest thing, though, is to believe in yourself. And stretch yourself to expand that belief and expand what is possible. Know that you have tremendous gifts and extraordinary wisdom inside of you. Go to that. Tend to that. And watch things unfold in ways you may not have thought possible.