We are proud to welcome guest-blogger Cathy Laffan back to the blog! In her last post, Slow Down to Grow, she wrote about slowing down to allow yourself to grow. This week she considers how taking risks can lead to growth.
When the opportunity to take a risk arises do you take the risk or shy away from it? Do you see risks as a chance to grow or fail?
Earlier this year I got an unexpected phone call from someone I barely knew. The caller offered me the opportunity to speak at a conference on a topic that is very important to me. A rush of several emotions came over me; I was surprised, flattered, excited, validated, honored, and frightened all at once. Despite not having any experience speaking at conferences, I knew I wanted this opportunity so I accepted and this started a journey of growth.
After my initial excitement wore off, procrastination set in. Although I knew it would require quite a bit of time and effort to be prepared, I found myself operating ‘below the line’. I was justifying why I was procrastinating. I was also approaching the speech preparation from The Control Cycle. I evaluated what I needed to do, I sought advice from others, and I imposed deadlines on others and myself that required compliance.
I thought I was in control.
Then deadlines weren’t met and further evaluation led me to Lay Blame on others and shame on myself. Initially I didn’t see that I was stuck operating from The Control Cycle but I certainly knew I wasn’t going to be successful if this continued. The risk I took by accepting the speaking opportunity was manifesting as anxiety in me that felt a bit like being at the edge of a cliff.
The conference organizer sent an email outlining key milestone dates leading up to the conference. The email helped me realize I was not operating from Responsibility. I sat back and looked at The Responsibility Process poster and the diagrams of The Control Cycle and The Power Cycle. I began Looking for the truth. I chose to forgive myself for justifying, laying blame, shaming and being stuck in The Control Cycle, and then I got clear about what I wanted to do to be prepared and make my speech a success. Then I trusted myself to do it.
Ultimately my speech was a success, I felt great doing it, I enjoyed the entire conference experience, and I look forward to the next speaking opportunity. What did I learn about myself? I learned that taking risks can lead to growth, that the risk may bring discomfort, and that feeling discomfort and confronting the problem using The Responsibility Process and The Power Cycle is the path to growth.
Cathy Laffan is a member of The Leadership Gift™ Program and recently accredited as The Leadership Gift Practitioner. She is a Managing Director with 24 years of experience working for a leading global financial services firm. She has 20 years of experience in the project management field and is certified as a Project Management Professional.
A champion of flexible work arrangements, Cathy has been working remotely full-time for 4 years. Cathy is also a Toastmaster and has earned the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader designations from Toastmasters International.
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