If self-deception were a skill set, it would be at the top of my skills on my resume. It took my first real problem to help me become aware of my own deceptions.
There are so many quotes out there that say things like,
“It is good to be lost, for it is the only way you will find yourself.”
I have heard those types of sayings for years, always believing I understood what they meant. It was however just a belief — having been truly lost for the last few months for the first time in my life I now know what it actually means.
Over a year ago, I thought I was lost. I was a typical woman in the woes of a bad breakup from a long-term relationship. I was trying to convince myself it came out of nowhere and lived in a vicious cycle of shame and blame. I repeat, I thought I was lost then.
I was heartbroken, sure, but I look at it now in gratitude for opening the door to the next chapter in my life and the chance to truly get lost so that I could find out exactly who I am.
With the help of a small group of powerful people, things turned around over the next 12-18 months. I began to focus on my career and my personal and professional growth by putting all of my energy into studying software development methodologies, facilitation, leadership, responsibility, and coaching. I was at peace in my groove, feeling more powerful then ever.
On a Tuesday morning in early August I walked into work like any other day. The mood around the office was noticeably different, and two hours later my internship was ended and the peace I thought I had found was gone.
I was lost.
I lived in denial for hours, peeking my head into blame every once in while. They gave me no reason for letting me go actually, telling how great of a job I had done, just that internships can end at any time. So it must not actually be true I thought – and back into denial.
I have to find my next contract – making a jump to obligation. This took over my focus so much so that it knocked me completely out of alignment with everything else. I talked about this in my post last week.
For almost three months I lived below the line, lost in a self-destructive cycle. I had to stop evaluating myself and the world around me before I could take a look internally and start solving the problem.
The power I felt wasn’t from the Power Cycle (an important cycle of thought in the mind when we are operating from Responsibility — something we learn deeply in The Leadership Gift™ Program). Instead it was rooted deep in the Control Prison. I had been thriving off of the authority power I had been granted by association from working as the right hand to the CIO and the organization transformation coach.
I had become very good at teaching responsibility to my teams, but when I was faced with my first real problem, I had to ask myself if I can practice what I teach.
During a recent webinar for the third core module in The Leadership Gift Program I attended, much of the conversation centered around the difference between wants, needs, and demands. I knew what I need: air, water, a shelter. Those were easy, but what do I want? What do I demand? What do those words even mean?
Listening to the other participants on the call, the conversations that followed in our online community, and guidance from my mentor eventually lead me to a breakthrough.
I had been demanding responsibility from everyone around me without demanding it from myself! If I want to be in a power cycle, I need to demand responsibility from myself before I can demand it from someone else.
I began writing down my wants, needs, demands, and my intentions. The act of writing them down, declaring them to myself, was very powerful. Then I paused and looked at the past 18 months for the first time instead of evaluating it. I was in the Control Cycle (i.e., stuck in evaluation and advice in order to feel in control of my reality) for a big portion of that time. And, it is not right or wrong, it is just true.
I am always trying to find a way to keep things in my face, so I’ve stuck sticky notes with those declarations around my mirror. On my front door, so I see it before I leave every day, is one note that says, “I am free, powerful, and at choice.”
What would you write on your sticky note to remind you of your wants?
Jessica Soroky, CSM
Only 21 years old, Jessica is already a Certified Scrum Master with two years of practice in agile delivery and 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 non-profit 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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