One of the ideas that got the most feedback at my recent appearance at TEDx San Diego was the concept of constantly recreating ourselves. Because the bottom line is that we’re here, today, on this journey, to discover The Next Wave. YOUR Next Wave. YOUR version 2, 5, 8, or 50. Personally, I think people are like software – we improve with each version.
I figure I’m on Christine v9 just about now – and I’m working on Christine V10 right here, right now, at this very moment. Whatever version you’re currently on, let’s bump it up one!
So how do you do this?
You decide to EVOLVE. Consciously. Intentionally. You decide to buck the “hide who you are” trend that humanity has celebrated for centuries. Here’s my #1 way to intentionally evolve:
Reveal yourself. Sounds easy enough, right? Nope. Revealing yourself can be scary. We all have masks to hide who we are, armor to protect our soft underbelly. Yet you can reveal yourself in inches — which is what life is about — and in time, those inches become feet, yards, miles.
A few years ago, I knew a remarkable man named Gregg Woods. Gregg brought me in to lead the Intranet Strategy for the Clinton Administration. At one point we had 90 days to get EVERY government department to launch an intranet application. We’re talking converting mainframe programmers to web developers… pretty radical stuff. I was in my 30’s, I wanted to do it right, the pressure was high. I had to look good, be professional. I was also deeply moved by what Gregg was doing, by how he’d reveal his humanity and his team would totally respond – they’d rise up and do the almost impossible. The change he was affecting, the trust he placed in me. It was mind blowing back then.
Later on, there was a time when I could’ve told him how he had changed my entire experience of the US Government and my entire experience of leadership and management overall – but I didn’t. I thought I’d look weak, mushy and unprofessional. Years later, I said, “To hell with it,” and called him up. He didn’t answer. He’d died of pancreatic cancer a few months before…
You see, I didn’t reveal myself when I had the chance. I chickened out.
So here’s one of those questions that inspires conscious evolution: When did you choose to stop revealing yourself?
Was it an isolated incident when life smacked you down? Or when you were elevated high and thought showing your humanity way up there might result in others taking advantage of you, or not taking you seriously?
Every word, thought, action, interaction is an opportunity to reveal yourself. It’s bringing you closer to who you are, to finding your Question… to finding your Answer … don’t miss the opportunity! Take off your mask, shed your armor—even for a moment–show us who you are.
Christine Comaford, The Executive Coach