I was walking home having a conversation with myself, something that is not completely uncommon. I was mulling over a conversation my advisor and I had about research and my desire to do more of it this year. She suggested that I enroll in a class this fall centered around conducting research and preparing for an international leadership conference. Immediately I thought, “I can’t afford to take another class” because my scholarship pays for two per semester. I literally shook my head and said “NO! Jess you have to stop making money a barrier as to why you can’t do what you want to do.” My next thought was pretty brillz
What you give power, has power
Simple, yet right.on.the.money. And why did it take until today for me to really really get that? To understand that debt has power because I have given it power. That inactivity has power because I give it power. Or that my academic preparedness has power because I give it power. It really clicked today that things have power because I willingly assign it. I decided that I would add the class and I felt good about the decision, the money? It will come. I have truly grown tired of worrying about money.
Before I spoke with my advisor, I sat outside of the conference room waiting for her to prepare for a meeting. As I waited, I started reading a book called The Nature of Leadership. Reading a story by a CEO about learning to listening another thought occured to me:
People don’t want to be lead. People want to be understood. Understand them, and they will come with you.
It was unedited and that thought is just what arose as I digested the CEO’s revelations about the necessity of listening to people. Its just what I heard the other night…old familiar words but powerful none the less, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
- The authors spoke of art and life…how throughout school the two were separate. There was time for learning, tools for success and then there was the extracurricular: art. It was supplementary, not rudimentary. Until he came across an artist who wove his passion for art in his home, his career, his volunteerism, his relationships. It was an epiphany for him; life and art do not have to be separate.
- I was watching a CBS special about this author who wrote a book about decision making entitled, “Wait”. He spoke of waiting until the last possible minute to make a decision and it kind of speaks to Wheatley’s idea of clarity arising from chaos. He used sports as an example, “sitting in the pocket” for football or tennis players waiting for the ball to come to you…its patience. Its waiting until the muddy water settles and things become clear, answers come organically and readily and our actions are not forced and we act with certainty. It is not always procrastination…it is acting from our Self who has not left room for doubt.
Cycling back to the second thought…I contemplated its truth. Is this true of my experience? Well…isn’t that the entire premise around counseling? I reflect, I mirror, I show my clients that “I get them” and then together we head to a place that we have both agreed on. I am seen as the therapist, the facilitator but in fact I am not leading and clients are not following.
So if I can understand I can have a movement. This is not to say that I cannot lead or I should not lead…but I believe it to be key in the execution of my leadership. I have to understand people. In the universe’s beautiful way…this happens to connect back to the book because it was partially authored by Steven Covey who listed “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” as one of the 7 habits of highly effective people. Because when I can show people that I get them. I hear them. I see them. I know what is important to them. It is then that share vision, purpose and they will likely come. Why? Because they believe that because I get THEM I get IT. At least that is my belief, and honestly my experience.
This came from reframing the way I understood my role…as a friend, as a daughter, as a student, teacher, counselor, etc. This came from seeing the things that I did differently and as a result, they were different. The process was different. It stopped being how can I make people better or how can I help people, to how can I understand them and what is there to learn? That small shift makes such a big difference. THAT is what allows me to, in those moments, sit in the pocket…to wait for the ball…to be patient because the clarity comes. People just need time.
See how great conversations with yourself can be?