Getting to Real
I just had a terrific conversation with a friend of mine that was very energizing and inspiring, but not in the way I normally think of “energizing and inspiring”. Most of the time when I feel that way, some big “ah ha” has taken place, or I’ve been buoyed by possibility or someone’s act of courage. Today was different. Today I found energy and inspiration in the question.
In the past we’ve both taken countless leaps into the dark, as advised by Agnes De Mill (“The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”). For both of us, our trips through the unknown have often been exhilarating. Sometimes affirming. They’ve opened up possibilities that have led to great things.
And yet, even knowing all this, this morning we found ourselves standing together at the precipice of “what’s next”. Trying to decide from which side of opportunity’s cliff should we hurl ourselves independently into the unknown.
I don’t know about you, but it’s all the options that clog me up. “I could do this….” or “What if I did that…?” or “Maybe if….” So many different paths from which to choose and when the stakes feel high we don’t. Choose, that is. That’s the problem. The not choosing. It leads to not leaping.
So this morning, while we were walking and talking, my friend and I got down to the key question – the filter of all filters: “What’s real?”
It sounds like that should be an easy one to answer, but it’s not. We think we know what’s real. What we want. But often what we think we want, isn’t what we really want. I laughed so hard I almost got the hiccups when she said, “I always thought it would be cool to teach yoga on the beach. Doesn’t that sound cool? But then I thought, wait..that’s not real. I hate doing yoga on the beach. I hate getting all sandy and sweaty. The sand sticks to you! Teaching yoga on the beach would be awful! That’s not real for me.”
But that’s what we do – we get an idea of what we think we want – what “success” or “the good life” looks like in our minds. We build our lives around this image of what we think we should want, and then wake up one day realizing that we’re living someone else’s life. That what we thought was “success” was simply an illusion.
What’s real? What’s “the good life” for you, for real?
Where do you get your energy? What activities do you love doing? What not so much? What kind of people do you get energy from being around? Do you like being around lots of people, or prefer to work alone? What is most important to you in life? Are your current actions and plans in alignment with that, or are you banking on “someday when…”? What’s real?
One thing I find myself saying to the leaders in my sessions all the time is that, as leaders, we need to go first. If we don’t have the courage to get real, then we don’t make it safe for those around us to do the same. We’re often afraid that if people get to real that they won’t do what needs to be done. But honestly, if they really don’t want to be there, can they do the kind of job you need them to do? None of us can bring our best, if it’s not real.
It’s the key question. The filter of all filters. What’s real for you?
And it’s a question that I find myself getting back to again, and again, and again.
This is dedicated to my friend who inspired this post, and to all of you who have the courage to join me in the quest for “real”.
©OnStage Leadership, 2013
If you found this helpful, interesting, thought-provoking, or inspiring please “recommend”, “Like” and share. It is only through your generosity that we can reach those who may find it valuable too. My sincere thanks. Kimberly