Last month I was invited to share my #bepowerfulandfree story on Story Forum at WIN 2018 Conference. After listening few speakers before me, I’ve decided to share my story from a different perspective and with different twists and turns as I thought to do when preparing for the event. It felt like a good opportunity for me to drop the well-prepared story, and allowing myself to be vulnerable in that seemingly supportive environment, and transform to that point perceived disempowering experience into an empowering one.
The tagline of my story was ‘be/stay true to myself regardless of circumstances’. Being inspired by women before me speaking of empowering stories of supportive women and men on their path, I’ve decided to choose for the shifting experience on my path a relationship and situation where two women couldn’t find the way to really support and empower each other. These two women didn’t know each other when they’ve been appointed to work together, and they didn’t want to stay working together when they got to know each other a little more. One of them was me. And the other one was my boss at that time.
The shared story in this case was not so much about me and my boss at that time, or what was working and what wasn’t. I’m grateful I’ve learned so much because of that relationship and everything that came along with it – about myself, about leadership, about working in partnership, and also about what’s not any of these. The shared story was more about why I thought and believed that this experience was the shifting moment on my #bepowerfulandfree path.
Based on that experience my story could be about how I was learning to work with someone who is very different than me, how I was practicing to set my boundaries, how I was challenged to stand firm for what I believed in, how I was training to grow as a leader and improve my leadership etc. It was about all of that. However, I’ve chosen to believe that this experience had a moment when I realized that I don’t want to support certain kinds of people and their practices and that this is my experience where sometimes you need to step down and move away to be able to continue your path and giving your best.
It seemed to me that there was really a moment where I was clear on my why, how, and what I want from that point, or rather what’s no longer acceptable to me. It was. But it was not ‘about them’, it was rather ‘about me’. It was the moment when I decided that it was enough for me, that I don’t want to continue this way, and that it was time for me to move on. In my case, to finally realize my desire and goal to be a professional leader and transformational coach and trainer. That was my actual, in my coach’s words, point of truth on my path.
It’s interesting recognition now, when looking back, that I needed to believe in that story, that it’s because of them because I don’t want to support them because I don’t believe in them etc. Who’s feeding? Who’s story is it? It’s a pretty clear and simple answer, if I put it this way, right?
I’ve posted a few posts today on social media, and there is a clear option feed or story, and you see immediately the effect of your choice. How is it that we get caught up in creating, believing, and feeding our stories in our ‘real’ life a bit less conscious, with a bit less ownership of who’s feeding what story? There is obviously something good in it for us, in that trade-off. The information is in answering questions like ‘Why do I do the feeding?’ and ‘Why I’m feeding this story and not some other?’
Recently I’ve realized that I’m still holding on to some parts of that story. I hold on to them as they are parts of MY story. The question was, ‘Who am I without that story?’. And the answer was, ‘Free.’.
Before releasing the story I needed to allow myself to recognize my attachment to it. I needed to be courageous and truthful (enough) to see myself in what I’m creating and feeding. I understood logically that I’m ‘Free.’ without it, but I was still not completely ready to let go of the story. I was rather believing something that was not good for me, instead of something that was. Like I didn’t want to be ‘free’. What?!
This recognition finally brought me back into my power. This recognition liberated me from my own beliefs and thoughts and my created story. Now, this process and this new state of mind seem to be more real ‘be/stay true to me regardless of circumstances’ story.
I obviously needed exactly that relationship and situation to learn what I needed to learn. And I needed all this time to finally learn what I needed to learn. I was using the compassion word for this experience, and trying to be compassionate for both of us, in a way that it was mutual and that we’ve handled it okay in the circumstances. Now I’m realizing that compassion isn’t really the point here. It’s an appreciation. An appreciation of a person, relationship, experience, and life itself.
It’s not about me liking her or accepting her actions, approaches, and methods, but it’s about me being open to being taught what she needed to teach me. And it was about me staying in it to share with her what I was supposed to teach her, regardless of how she responded to it. And if I look at it that way, I’m grateful that I made that choice at the event. This experience was/is an important part of my #bepowerfulandfree story.
I do believe we meet for a reason on our life paths. But I guess, if I generalize it from my perspective, we probably still want to control to a certain point what we need to learn from each other, and what we need to teach each other. And how fast and in what way we learn and teach.
We might forget that this is really not our call. Ours is to be open to learning and teaching, to give and receive, to share and embrace. It’s our choice whether we do it or not, and how we do it. Life teaches us eventually what we need to learn anyway. There are other mirrors and teachers. We all encounter ours eventually.