In my last assignment before leaving Chicago, I had on my team a brilliant, vibrant young woman. At the time, Pam was 30, married, had a young son, worked fulltime, and was studying for a degree in her evenings. I admired her very much.
Occasionally, like any normal human, Pam would get in a bit of a funk. One particularly funky day she came into my office to talk about the future. It was soon clear it was not the future that had her feeling insecure; it was the comparison she was making between her ostensible progress by 30 with a female executive of the same age.
It is impossible to experience your own Trueness when entangled by unequal comparative perception.
Out of touch with our own Trueness we darken our shadow. Yes, when we think about the shadow we automatically think about the dark part of ourselves. Such thinking can lead us to avoid the shadow at all costs. This is dangerous.
It is important that we cease all attempts to hide from our shadow. For in that seeming darkness are treasures to abundantly fund our Trueness.
Jimmy is a dear friend building yet another adventure at 68. In preparation for a meeting we were to have about this direction of his work, he sent me the transcript of the TEDx talk he had just delivered.
I have known Jimmy for 12 years and ‘succinct’ is not a word I would use to describe him in his work. “Precise” yes, but not succinct. However, in the transcript of his talk, he was incredibly succinct and focused with a brief and compelling story.
For Jimmy the shadow is darkened by the overuse of his skill of preciseness. The TEDx talk clearly revealed the treasure of a key strength he needs at this time in his journey. “Structure” is his Strength that was hidden in the shadow.
Jimmy must hold his strength of structure in his light as he moves forward. Those impacted by his work need the application of his structure strength−delivering for Jimmy the ultimate preciseness so deeply encoded in his core.
“People are as frightened of their capacity for nobility as of their darkest sides.” −Robert A. Johnson, Owning Your Own Shadow
As Pam stood against the temptation to compare herself to another, she was better able to own her own shadow; and there courageously face and embrace her own treasures. Hidden with such treasure so often is a key strength that needs your light.
I encourage you to hold together your light and shadow. Hold them long enough to see the natural and beautiful contrast that is within. And as you do, we will better experience the balanced you−Your Impact!
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