June 28, 2017

Sometimes…!

I recently had the pleasure and privilege of spending three days with a book client who, of her own volition, flew in from back east to work with me because she wanted to devote some seriously focused time to her project. We spent a grand total of over 36 hours brainstorming, talking, oohing and aahing at epiphanies, sprawling out on the floor with colored pens and a big pad of paper to map out our ideas, and…writing with dual laptops fired up. Oh, and lest it seem like it was all work and no play, I’ll share with you that we popped open a good bottle of wine and enjoyed a “picnic” dinner on the floor (with our papers and resources scattered around us) toward the close of the final evening before her red-eye flight back home.

Just as when Corey and I worked with Bea, I felt inspired by this woman’s enthusiasm and intention. We delved into file after file that she pulled out of her bag, all clippings and references and her own writings that she had been compiling for this project for over six years. Caught up in the momentum we created, we plowed through idea after idea and got it all down on the page. And then, I realized that we created more than tangible results. Out of the blue, she said quite candidly to me, “Sometimes I feel like paying out my contract, shoving all of this stuff into my file cabinet and walking away.” It caught me off guard at first, but then made me see something, well…profound, in two distinct ways. First, participating with anyone in a creative journey produces a sort of intimate trust in which not only dreams and hopes but also fears can be safely expressed. Second, anyone with a message to share with the world—anyone essentially on a leadership mission of any kind—feels not only its joys and blessings, but also its burdens. In retrospect, I’ve seen similar sentiments from just about each and every client I’ve worked with.

Taking a stand for your voice and for what it has to say is not always an easy task. It is, however, a worthwhile one. Is this client (or any other) going to stash her project and walk away? No. Is the thought of doing so even a realistic consideration for her? No. Was she expressing something that all leaders—whether in thought or action—feel , even if only for a fleeting moment, at some time or another. Yes, I say.

So, the way I see it, our responsibilities are twofold. One, as the leaders we all are in one way or another, we keep putting one foot in front of the other, realizing all the while that it’s incumbent upon each of us to share the unique message with which we have been blessed. Sometimes we sprint, sometimes we trudge. Two, we listen to and encourage the leaders around us, giving them room to voice the fact that they don’t always feel invincible…nor should they. And when it’s all overwhelming or just purely celebratory…you pop open a bottle of wine and have a picnic in the middle of the floor and get back to work later!

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