Just so you don’t think I’ve mastered this fearlessness thing, I’m also going to try to post about the times when I don’t feel fearless at all. Like today. There’s some fallout or follow-through from the staff retreat over the weekend. Some people saw it as an invitation to open up old wounds to try to find healing for them. I’m not all that good at dealing with old wounds. Mostly I want to stick a bandaid over them and forget about them. But other people feel differently, and so I have to try to honour them.
Today I have a meeting that I’m not looking forward to. I suspect that some of it may be about the places where I’ve fallen short as a leader and probably even places where I’ve been the one to do the hurting. I don’t want to hear about it. I just want to pretend everything is alright and move on into the future.
I’ve stolen a quote I found on Olivia’s blog and printed it, along with her lovely dragon picture to hang on the wall beside my computer. I want to believe that the person who wants to confront me, a person whom I’ve sometimes let myself be intimidated by, is just a vulnerable soul like me.
“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”–Rainer Maria Rilke
And now I’m going to go for a walk and practice my apologies, my humility, and my boldness… “I’m sorry I hurt you.” “I would like to ask you to address this directly next time, instead of letting it fester.” “Please remember that we are all human and horribly fallible.”
Update: The meeting is over. I am completely drained from the hard work of old wounds, fresh perspectives, other versions of truth, moving past the hurt, and living at peace with people whose world view is significantly different from one’s own. Most of the hurts had not been inflicted by me, but as leader, I am at least somewhat implicated.
This “leading with integrity and boldness” thing? It’s hard, HARD work.