I have been in the business of helping people grow for many, many years, and it has recently occurred to me that the word bravery really describes what it takes to grow. As I work with my clients, I am often in awe as they wrestle to figure out why they are behaving the way they are behaving. They realize that their behavior is not serving them well, but they can’t figure out how to change. This is where the bravery kicks in. This is where they have to be willing to admit that they are not perfect, they do not know everything, and there might be a better way. The brave soul says “I need help, and I can’t do it myself.” The brave soul says “I have to make my growth a priority. If I want to lead myself, my team and my family, I have to be willing to admit that things need to change, and I am the one who has to do the work if I want to see the change.”
One of my dear friends talks about how “we can’t see our own butt” when she refers to our blind spots. I love this analogy because it speaks to the fact that we can’t always see what is behind us or what is getting in our way and that we are often clueless as to how to change. The analogy simply explains why we have to invite others into our growth journey – because we don’t know what we don’t know. Inviting others in to tell us “what our butt looks like” is always an act of bravery.
I have noticed that there is shift for many of my clients when they start recognizing that perfection can no longer be the yardstick with which to measure their success. Perfection – my own personal nemesis as well. I, like many of my clients, lived in the belief that anything worth doing, must be perfect. Oh, the hours spent honing each sentence, rehearsing each conversation, and then beating myself up when it didn’t go “perfectly.” I recently acted out of bravery when I shifted from the perfection mindset to one of intentionality. For me, this is measuring my success by the relationships I have, the connections I make, and the lives I am invited into to help grow. I realized that my pursuit of perfection has been keeping me small. When the fear of screwing up, saying the wrong thing, and not being flawless supersedes the connection I am trying to make, I know my old friend perfection is coming back for a visit.
I encourage you to spend the next couple of days being aware of where you are engaging in acts of bravery – small or large, as this is the path to growth. Remember that if you are not a little uncomfortable, then you are not growing. Try inviting someone in to join you on your journey. You will be much better off when you choose to do grow with people who love and support you!