For those who read my posts on a regular basis there’s no secret I have gone through a lot of transformation in the past year. The transformation is not about changing who I am rather changing how I view myself in the world around me. Changing how I view myself in the world means being present with things like vulnerability, judgement, intimacy and numerous other feelings I ran from only a year ago. The result though is allowing the rest of the world to see an authentic Mike.
Fear of judgement kept me from being my most authentic self in my writing as I was too worried about what you the reader would think. Fear of vulnerability kept me from putting myself out there as I was too afraid of how I would look. Thinking intimacy was a feeling guys don’t display publicly meant my connections with others was shallow and guarded.
Holding back on all of these things meant I was not allowing my most authentic self to come forward. What was present was something else, something I believed society and the companies I worked for expected of me. In this there was conflict as I struggled to be something I’m not and suppress the things I am. This struggle held me back for a lot of years and kept me from letting my most authentic self show.
What’s changed is I now give myself permission to be my most authentic self and free to enjoy whatever this means no matter how uncomfortable it makes me at times. This place of authenticity means I now have a clearer sense of purpose. In other words I know why I am here on this planet and how I can best contribute to the world around me.
In this freedom there is also movement. Movement of mind, body and spirit. Movement is actually very easy when you have such clarity of purpose. This freedom is why my website suddenly looks very different as I let go of worrying about it being perfect (I’ve wanted to change my website for a very long time). Freedom is why I am currently working on choices around putting aside good work to do great work. Freedom is why I am sharing my thoughts in this post in such a vulnerable way. Real movement comes naturally in this space.
Leading for ChangeTM
A common theme I hear leaders talking about in times of change is how they’re struggling to get something to stick. It might be some new template or a new methodology … they just can’t get the people to use it consistently. What if getting a change to stick isn’t the point? For me having change stick feels like going from one spot to the other and when you’re there … you’re stuck again. Isn’t the point of transforming to create movement?
I once worked with an organization who wanted to change how they did their work. They needed to as they had a terrible reputation for poor results. One day the VP pulled the leadership group together and told us how a dismal employee satisfaction survey has made the management group aware of the need for change. He said all the right words, including how we’re all in this together starting with him.
The VP then went on to tell us though we were not going to change the culture. I was immediately mystified how we were going to improve without in some way impacting culture. Honestly it just felt like we were going to walk from one field of mud to the next field of mud.
Management then formed focus groups to work on what their new world would look like. I was on one of those groups and despite protests for months we just met and created stuff. For everyone not in the focus groups, they just kept hearing how great things are going to be once we’re done. What I knew to be true is most people were just biding time and knew that this too will pass and they can get back to doing it the way they’ve always done it.
After several months interest in this change program started to fade. We had moved to another field of mud. Some minor things trickled out but we never managed to significantly change how work was done or even the improve our results.
The problem … too much focus on planning and little focus on movement.
It’s in movement real transformation can start to occur. For my website it’s not yet where I really want it however I think the look and feel is now reflecting my heart better than the previous version. My “About Mike” page doesn’t really reflect my real story and you won’t find a page to help you understand coaching. However, in starting to move I now have a platform for continued changes that will more accurately reflect my authentic self. I know the rest will start to emerge through movement.
I know in movement I’m going to have some good and bad stories. However, I am confident I will have far more positive stories and the negative ones won’t seem so important. Real movement needs a clear purpose and vision for where you’re heading (not a plan). Real purpose starts with being authentic with yourself and those around you. I am seeing my purpose more clearly every day and hope you can find this too.
So what might be possible if you cast aside your fears, judgement and all those stories that have been holding you back? Get real and unleash your most authentic self as a leader for yourself.
It’s a time for movement – isn’t it time to get going?