A Glimpse Into A Life

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“I had a glimpse into the life…the person I wanted to be and I was afraid I could never be that.” – Umberto Crenca, Founder AS220

This quote, expressed in a powerful story I heard during #BIF10, struck me deeply. In a moment of clarity and vision Umberto saw what he was meant to do and who he was meant to be. Beyond this recognition he experienced the intense emotional pain that came with knowing the path he was on, the life he had accepted until that moment, would never lead him to that place. He had to make a choice.

This choice. This terrible, life-altering, difficult and beautiful choice.

To see beyond the expectations and obligations placed upon our lives by others, or ourselves, into a life we know we were meant to live. Once we have this vision in our head it haunts us. We may decide “stay the course” or “be responsible”, but the vision will reappear, time and time again. We try to negotiate, set conditions, skirt the border of our vision but we know deep inside the only way to get there is to go all the way, to embrace it fully and trade what we have to go where our heart leads us.

Our life. Our one life.

Can we look fully, unflinchingly on our calling and deny it? So many do. That’s why those who follow their vision become a source of inspiration. We see in their lives what is possible for us. Their stories are filled with wrong turns, false starts and hard experiences but we never hear them say…”I wish I had stuck to the original plot”.

Every day we have this choice.

We can know what we know. We can honestly evaluate our direction and pay attention to what makes us come alive. We can open our eyes to what is possible and to who we were meant to be and accept the truth. We can wrestle with the choice and seek the courage to to move. Then move forward, one step at a time or in a giant leap.

Just move.

Or we can pretend we do not know, make reasons to stay where we are, and try to squeeze some joy out of our quiet desperation. Eventually the vision will fade, revived occasionally by an unexpected encounter but quickly returned to the hiding place where we keep it safe for someday.

What will you do with your choice?

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Leading a Fine Line

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Like it or not, leaders walk a fine line…

In every interaction, every decision, every day.

If we don’t give the right attention to our steps

We can lose our way.

The fine line between recognition and manipulation

The fine line between teaching and telling

The fine line between encouraging and enabling

The fine line between caring and controlling

The fine line between empowerment and passivity

The fine line between inquiry and indecision

The fine line between community and competition

The fine line between patience and denial

The fine line between courageous and reckless

 And so on.

The words we use

The behaviors we reinforce

What we notice

It all matters.

You’ve probably noticed that tight rope walkers carry a long pole.

They use it to adjust for errors, distractions or outside forces.

Knowing it will help them stay centered under stress.

Every leader needs a counterbalance.

Invite others to observe you and share honest feedback

Allow sufficient downtime to keep your mind alert

Learn to focus on your current task

Reflect before you act

  Live your values

Listen carefully

Bring laughter into your day

Create a vision that guides your choices

Prioritize your important tasks before the urgent noise

You can try to avoid the fine line.

Or pretend it isn’t there.

But one day you may look back

And wonder how you came to be so far off course.

How have you experienced the fine line?

Where is your counterbalance?

 

A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life. – William Arthur Ward
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