In his book, The Anxious Organization, Jeffrey Miller warns us about the futility of attempting to change someone else’s behavior in order to relieve our own anxiety. It does not work. When young in the management roles, this is precisely what I did; and I thought I was right.
Thinking back, I may have even believed it was my obligation to change those whom I managed. Throughout those young years as a manager I received a lot of supervisory training. To be fair, I will claim no memory of how the material was presented and claim total accountability and responsibility for how I applied it. It was applied – way too consistently for comfortable memory – in a manner that I felt gave me more control over the behavior of others.
When the learning began I do not remember, but I found freedom in the realization that you manage things and you lead people. Letting go of the need to change others gave me safety in learning to change my own behavior. Entering the transition from managing people to leading people gave me the privilege of creating caring accountability in self first and then in others – accountability rooted in individual confidence.
This is the New Confidence.
I love fly fishing, and I love wading the clear mountain stream. Sometimes the wade is slow and deliberate as I seek a sporting connection with a wary trout. Other times it is like hiking in water as I move along enjoying scene after scene as viewed through the heart lens of a photographer.
Regardless of the approach, I am always halted by the varying pools in the character of the stream. Knowing exactly what may be in each pool is not important. For me, it is more about being present with the pool and allowing it to show me what it will.
In my own journey, as I learned to attach intent to desire, structure began to form and build my skill for searching each pool for content. Finding content is not always about taking it. More times than not, it is simply about reading what I see in that pool, and then trusting it to settle where it wishes.
Here is what I have found: The meaning of any content, and the providential timing of its expression, is realized by me because of conscious commitment to my gift of desire.
Impact in the 21st Century is less about outcomes and results and more about the unfolding story of your reach. Your unique brand of impact – or the impact of your brand – is the sustainable influence of your leadership. As influence grows, reach expands; it is the conscious expansion of reach that deepens one’s impact.
It seems I may finally be at a place on my journey where I finally believe what I hear from others about my work. It is certainly not a matter of distrust on my part as I believe those who express themselves are being thoroughly truthful. The problem has been with me as I attempted to be modest and simply ended up not listening; not hearing the gift in the message. It is like the person who receives a sincere compliment from a friend, and immediately begins to denigrate the intent as they explain why the compliment is in some way simply not true. This is disrespectful of both gift and giver.
Therefore, I send out sincere apologies and extreme gratitude to all who have blessed me with their sincere and thoughtful words. You each have played an artful role in the rich content that has so masterfully merged with my desire. You have caused me to pay attention to my unique impact as you lovingly validate my desire, my intent, and my practice.