The Way Ahead
“Frustration with others isn’t leadership.
Owning your frustrations is the beginning of leadership.”
– The Leadership Freak
When my friend, Gayle Ely, shared the quote above with me, she went on to add that increasingly her coaching practice focuses on learning first to lead oneself; because if you can’t do it in, with and for yourself, why would you imagine you could do it for others?
After some contemplation, I realized Gayle’s idea resonated with me because it is consistent with my own experience and practice. In short, Seeing True™ proposes that from a developmental point of view, each of us has immense inner capacity and potential that cannot be realized until we first deal with our own inner blockages.
Another dear friend, a woman who practices prophetically in her evangelical community, might say that we need our insides to be scoured so that the Light of the Spirit can shine through us. That the cleaner we are as a channel, the greater can be the message that pours through us.
A recent conversation with someone who considers me their mentor and teacher revealed still more of this brilliant idea. What if the design of Life itself is for us to continue to grow in our capacity to be a conduit? What if that possibility is without bounds? What if we are only limited by our willingness and ability to continue to be further scoured inwardly?
My long-time mentor, Sam, would no doubt say at this moment, “Those are some high-falutin’ ideas, Ron. Just what the hell is someone to do with them?”
A fine question.
The first answer is that we need a vision of possibilities that doesn’t just propose a two percent improvement in who we are and who we can be. We need to be shaken from our complacency by having our imagination fired. What if our emotional, intellectual, psychological and spiritual potential really is unbounded? How far might we go? How much might we achieve? To what benefit?
The second answer is to ground us in a practical focus. Master teachers of all persuasions tell us we must first explore our own inner limitations, the constraints of our beliefs and understanding. Jesus called them “blocks in the eye,” while Carl Jung urged us to examine our “shadow selves.” The great poet and wise-woman, Maya Angelou, pointed us clearly to the limitations of what we know in any given moment while urging us to seek to understand still more. Marcus Aurelius, the great Stoic, labeled them “assumptions”, while the Buddha steered us toward our “attachments” as the source of our suffering.
So if it is true that we are designed to be unbounded, but are indeed bound, how are we to proceed?
Now for the elegant simplicity of the Twelve Steps of recovery, which propose that we take stock of ourselves. We look to the places in our lives where we face difficulties, challenges and breakdowns, not to find fault but to “grow in understanding and effectiveness.” We investigate, examine and explore, perhaps with the help of mentors, advisors, or counselors. And we persist over time.
it is that upward spiraling effort that opens the places within us that are blocking us. And the little bit of Light that enters any crack that opens will be enough to further fuel us.
Seeing True™ in Action
Pick any exploratory process that agrees with you.
Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking.
The secret is in the keeping.