In February, I wrote my first blog in a seriously LONG time and reminded myself that I am going to write these blogs as if no one is reading them.
Does that feel scary? Obviously yes!
But the only way it gets less scary for me, is if I keep doing it?
What are you doing that feels scary and you are doing it anyway?
Take (self) care,
For those who don’t know me well, I am a notorious overthinker and can rapidly come up with worst case scenarios. I will create an exit strategy just as fast as I will generate a thousand options for what is possible. I am actively working on pausing and asking myself “what if it all worked out?” This requires me to take a huge exhale and to really let myself sink into the possibility that despite a lot of data pointing the other direction, that the equitable futures we spend our days imagining are truly possible.
At this point, you might be thinking “well, duh – isn’t that your job?”
Here’s the thing, it is absolutely my job to offer lots of options AND seeing them come into action hasn’t always been a part of my job.
So when something actually comes to fruition sometimes I have trouble believing it is actually happening and giving myself credit for any role in it. I can get overwhelmed with grief that this reality didn’t feel possible before and now that it is here, I wonder why I didn’t believe it to begin with.
This happened to me recently.
Two weeks ago, I came back to my regular life after our first DIA Relational Retreat. I have been imagining this retreat since last year. We have actually had 2 other versions of retreats before and learned a lot from each of them but this was different.
The biggest difference being the purpose of the retreat.
I worked with Mathura guided by her work on Dismantling the Master’s Tools to truly understand the purpose of why I wanted to gather.
Words and photos don’t really do this process justice. Mathura and I have worked together for nearly 5 years and this latest iteration pushed me and it was only possible because of how much I trust Mathura to hold me with care and accountability. We had clear roles and boundaries, we both had to commit to the process and we needed to be honest and vulnerable.
This is all so much easier said than done.
I am still unpacking how much I could stretch and open beyond what I am typically capable of as well as how unbalanced I felt when I did.
We gathered with the purpose of building stronger relationships between the people who influence me as a leader and deepening their relationships with me and the organization.
Simply put, I was craving validation that each person we are currently working with knows what they are getting into being on this journey with me.
I was so nervous to share this at the retreat and even now. I was telling myself a story that leaders are supposed to look like they have all the answers and are confident in their strategy.
This story was holding me back. It was reinforcing
That means not only sharing the wins and successes, it also means sharing the failures and tensions I am working with.
I needed validation that if I am going to be the leader that feels most natural to me, then I need support from those around me to grow and flow with me. I keep shifting and growing; I need to be responsible to ask for what I need, to know my value and know my worth.
I left the retreat feeling like this was more than possible. Now I am left remembering what it feels like to receive that validation and support I asked for and re-entering regular life knowing I am now responsible for keeping up this practice.
This was possible because the work of the retreat started long before the retreat happened.
Starting in February, Mathura facilitated me through a series of strategic writing exercises and helped me sort out the chaos that lives in my brain. Mathura has a very specific talent for pushing me to hold myself accountable when I try to talk my way out of doing the hard work.
This kind of trust is rare for me.
Mathura once shared with me the wise words of adrienne marie brown from her work The Emergent Strategy “Move at the speed of trust…”
Trusting Mathura was easier than trusting myself.
I leaned into letting her lead me through this process in order to let my true self emerge. I am usually the one facilitating and coaching others, so being on the receiving end is wildly uncomfortable. I ask people to do this work everyday. I understand why skimming through the work seems easier but once I truly sunk into doing the work, even I didn’t know what was possible.