Jessica Soroky continues her series Leadership is a Choice.
to live by choice, not by chance
to be motivated, not manipulated
to be useful, not used
to make changes, not excuses
to excel, not compete
I choose self-esteem, not self pity
I choose to listen to my inner voice,
Not to the random opinion of others.”
I have come across this on numerous occasions and every time it brings me to a halt. It stirs something deep inside of me and reminds me why I choose every day to live life at choice, powerful, and free.
I am constantly amazed at what people are capable of turning into a weapon.
Recently, someone pulled me aside and made a comment I can’t get out of my head, “For someone who claims to live above the line, and believes in choice so much I must say I don’t agree with your choice.”
I made a stupid choice, admittedly, but it took a day or two to be able to admit it was a stupid choice and to own the consequences. When this comment was made all I could think was, “I choose to live by my choices without the need for your approval.”
The agreement with my choice isn’t what bothers me, I don’t make choices hoping those around me agree. What is living in my head is the part of the comment “for someone who claims to live above the line…”
I can’t help but feel the desire to defend myself while simultaneously fighting the urge to beat myself up looking for what I did to create or attract someone thinking that I walk around “claiming to live above the line”.
The person making this comment doesn’t read my blogs. If they did they would see dozens and dozens of examples of my failures – dropping below the line.
I have said it once and I will say it a million times – I am not perfect. I am human and I choose to live a life on a journey of self-progression not a journey to perfection.
I am not shooting for the day when I can stand up and say “Hey guys I am 100% responsible 100% of the time each and every day.” I am focused on the present moment and where I am mentally in this single point in time. I have come a long way and have a long way still to go. WE ALL DO!
I believe we associate perfection with titles and create expectations of other people that are impossible to live up to. Look around you, at your boss, your bosses boss…the higher the title the more expectation that gets put on them, but they are normal people too and fail just as frequently as you do.
They make mistakes, they have wins and successes, personal situations distract them, and they even pull late days to hit deadlines just like anyone else. I wear my coach accreditation proudly and it does not mean I am perfect. I may teach and coach someone about personal responsibility, choice, creation, and attraction, but the entire time I am working with them I am learning too.
I choose to never stop learning, to never believe I have reached the peak of what I am capable of understanding.
Am I defending myself here? Yes – because I am below the line and very much in justification trying my hardest not to ascend to shame. So I choose to write to process, to forgive myself, and to let go.
I am also hoping you will let those around you off the hook and allow them to be the imperfect beings they are. This includes yourself – when you drop below the line don’t beat yourself up. You are not “wrong” or “bad”. Instead I say, “Congratulations on your awareness!”
The only question I would challenge you to answer when you realize you are below the line is – “What are you getting out of being where you are?”
I’ve written before about being aware when you are below the line and even being aware when you aren’t ready to move out of it. That’s perfectly ok – there have been many times (including this one) when I know I am below the line, I know I am choosing it, and I know I am not ready to climb above the line.
Can you limit the impact of where you are mentally on other people? Maybe go for a walk, or ask permission to respond later. Find out what helps you process and practice it – practice it for as long as you need. When you are ready, choose to let it go and get back above the line.
And now, after writing this, re-reading it, and letting it live in my head for a few days I am ready to choose to let it go.
Jessica Soroky, CSM
Jessica is a Certified Scrum Master with over three years of practice in agile delivery and seven years of team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of nonprofit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.
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