There is a fire in people’s eyes when they are doing the thing they love, the thing that not only helps them get up in the morning but keeps them driving forward when the days get long and the nights get short.
It is their craft.
To me, being in a place of responsibility is when that fire is at its hottest. The freedom that choice brings unleashes me to excel at the craft I have chosen.
All too often that fire is lost in the grind of nine-to-five jobs. Making it through the day becomes the first priority, and innovation and user experience gets replaced by compliance and legality.
I have seen this many times: team members that come into the office every day, smile and wave at their co-workers, sit down at their computer and code for eight hours, and leave.
Their passion, the reason they got in this business, is a far memory.
Like so many things, this was easier to see in everyone else — the thought that this could happen to me had never even crossed my mind. I love what I do.
But it happened.
In The Responsibility Process, off to the right there is a gray term called quit.
Quit doesn’t have to mean walking out on your job or your family. You can be physically present and mentally in the position of Quit – checked out.
I was at Quit – my fire had burned out – and I was completely unaware of it.
Actually I wasn’t unaware, Scotty had been saying this to me for a few weeks – I was in denial.
I am not sure how it feels for everyone else, but for me Quit was week after week of frustrating conversations.
It felt like all I did was fight fires and stand on the defensive. After a few weeks of this, it turned into pure exhaustion.
During the day I got caught up in the petty drama and started believing people who told me I couldn’t do something – that “I should pick my battles.”
Then in one day, a group of people turned the blaze inside me back on.
The Central Ohio Agile Association (COHAA) puts on an annual two-day agile conference. If you are in the surrounding area and haven’t gone to this event, you are truly missing out.
I was really looking forward to this year’s event for a few reasons. The Leadership Gift™ Program practitioners and coaches that were attending the conference were going to get together for what promised to be a wonderful evening of good food and great conversation.
On top of that Christopher and Scotty were presenting for the first time ever together! If you have ever been on one of the Application Mastery or Q&A Dialog Calls (private to The Leadership Gift Program members) and heard the way they communicate, you can imagine the mind-blowing power they would have on a stage together.
As the day went on, I realized I had lost my fire because I was confused about what my true passion was. It’s not agile (though I do love it) – it’s leading and coaching people no matter what label they wear.
During Christopher and Scotty’s presentation, Christopher said something that gave me goosebumps. He called all The Leadership Gift Program members in the room to stand up and represent the world-wide army we are all a part of.
A world-wide army.
I GET to call myself a member of this army, this community, where I know I am safe. Where I know I cannot fail – I can only learn.
I looked around at Joe Astolfi, Sean Kiner, Mark Bradley, and Tony Piazza and then up on stage at Christopher and Scotty, and it hit me all at once: this is a group that would go to war for each other’s freedom, power, and choice; a group that has extended their hand offering help numerous times.
At one point or another every single one of these people has inspired me, has lit my fire. Even more exciting – I have watched each one of them reignite passion in others around them. It’s what makes them such powerful leaders and mentors.
My passion, my reason to keep going, is to be personally responsible and accountable, and to lead teams to the same freedom. It is the most powerful thing I can do.
A huge thank you to COHAA and Path to Agility for putting on an amazing event this year and already inviting us back next year!
Another huge thank you to Joe, Sean, Mark, Tony, Scotty, and Christopher for creating — and being a part of — this world-wide army that I get to call my friends, my family.
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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