My research and years of working with women leaders shows that being able to shift fear, judgment and worry into effective action is a core capacity of leaders who are considered wise.
Something happened the other day that triggered one of my old fears and I fell head long into the little, tight, strangling circle of self judgment and degradation. It happened so fast! It took a couple of hours for me to climb back out and once again hold a bigger view of my life where I could see the richness of my experience and expertise, and all the goodness I am grateful for. (does that ever happen to you?)
My own inner work as well as my work with coaching clients these days centers around simultaneously holding the dichotomy – feeling, owning, and honoring just how wise, smart, and ready we are to lead while also being aware of and including those parts of us that lack confidence, feel afraid to take a risk, and hold back.
The image I’m using is a BIG circle – that I am not the little circle of my fears and timidity, nor the little circle of my judgments and concerns. Instead I view myself as a big circle that includes all my experience, gifts, talents, and essential self – and that includes the little circle. If I drop into the little circle, I can acknowledge her tender vulnerability and concerns while keeping one foot in the larger circle of my wholeness. (rather than jumping head first and getting lost in the morass of the little circle.)
Does that make sense? This is a more personal blog, my first time writing this up. I’d love your thoughts.
It seems to me that this is a key skill of small business owners. Every day something happens that we can use to doubt our capacity if we let it. Every day we can choose to step out of the little circle, into a bigger frame of all we have done and are committed to doing, now, at this moment.
Of course, this applies to organizations as well – the most powerful strategy for effecting change focuses everyone on all that is working so that any change builds on the positive core. From that strong foundation they find the resources to address the smaller areas of issues or problems.
How do we stay centered in the big circle that is the real us? What do we do to get back there when something happens that lands us smack in the middle of the little circle and it’s about to swallow us whole?
Appreciate what is working, the best of what has happened. Re-centering in our commitment to something bigger than our own worries, fears and judgments provides the momentum we need. We contribute so much more to the world from this place of grounded strength.
P.S. I’m so excited about the upcoming Next Octave Women’s Leadership Program that starts in January where we’ll absolutely “get” this Big circle and Little circle process down. Does one of the places in this small circle belong to you? Contact us for an application today.