I don’t wig out very often but generally it’s a scene out of The Titanic, and I don’t mean the ship capsizing scene. Nope, I’m talking about the scene when Rose looks at herself in the recovered mirror from yesteryear and says “the reflection has changed a bit...”
I’m absolutely convinced that we need to stay in the outer banks, always out of our comfort zone, to keep us moving forward, growing into a more expansive and ultimately richer life. But darn, it can be unsettling to be out of the safety of being “in the know.”
It’s easy to boomerang to another time in your life when you felt inadequate, uninformed, unskilled or an outsider. For me, its an immediate regression to my high school years. As the child of a father in the international business world, I attended five high schools in four years. I quickly found out that I wasn’t always welcomed as a newcomer.
I wasn’t bullied, but I was often ignored. Classes were large and kids have their own cliques and can be pretty self-absorbed at that age. I was embarrassed wearing large glasses, my clothes felt too conservative and, I was incredibly shy and lonely with each move that we made. All in all, awkward and uncomfortable summed up my high school years.
I’m not that young girl anymore, the reflection has definitely changed! The unseen imprint shows up as an appreciation of travel and new cultures, leadership skills that encourage collaboration and tolerance, the ability to put my hand out to people and welcome them into my life and, I’ve discovered that I appreciate new adventures and challenges…until I don’t…
Then, as fast as Judy Garland clicked her red slippers together, I’m back in high school only now, I put my running shoes on since there is no threat of parental rebuke. Like most of us, I put myself squarely into my life experiences, regardless of their impact to my psyche. And that’s what happened with “the podcast.”
About a year ago, I was encouraged by a consultant to have a podcast interviewing fascinating leaders, those who could share their wisdom and give us tips and tools running conscious businesses. The idea seemed interesting - I love people, know some amazing ones and enjoy sharing information that can help all of us grow. That is, until I stared at the equipment with panic - microphones, condensers, booms, cables, headsets, producers, ITunes etc.
Anyone who knows me understands that if I walk by the Xerox machine, it will stop. I’m always asked by my co-workers to give it a wide berth along with anything else that has moving parts. So, I put my Nike’s on, put the gear back in the box, hit save on the graphics and decided to stretch my wings with evening art classes instead.
The universe is a pushy place. We are simply not allowed to stay in our comfort zone. In addition to the realization that I can’t draw a stick person, I have found myself in the middle of a four-week podcast class at the same time. What started out as an online class has turned into a team launch. So, staring at the watercolors and equipment, I did the only respectable thing a prepubescent woman of my age can do – I wigged out.
In full transparency, I told the Facebook group I would not be launching a podcast until maybe Q3 while many are launching in just weeks. But, not to worry, I would be there to rally them on. Then, I wrote my art teacher that I felt like a first grader attempting to hang out with the high school kids, many who have graduate degrees in art, and I was too nice of a gal to hold anyone back. Yep, full bore wig out.
Suddenly there was a flurry of notes from all over the world, “Man down, man down!” with words of support resulting in my time travel from high school back to the present. They came in from others just as intimidated by the process as me but, willing to hold my virtual hand.
My note to the art teacher on the same day was met with encouragement and an evening of classmates sharing tips, lots of laughs and inclusion. I may have left the fold but, I wasn’t gone for long because of the love and support of complete strangers, both virtual and in person.
Part of having empathy in both our personal lives and our companies is showing our vulnerability. It helps people relate to us whether they are friends, co-workers or customers. We live in the Facebook world where everyone’s pictures and lives look happy and complete with family, friends and adventures. It’s easy to feel isolated as you walk a life that includes job losses, family dynamics or health issues.
If you work remotely or at home these days, how do you find your support? Who is it that pulls you back to the present to remind you that today was just a glitch, that tomorrow is a do over? Equally important, who are you supporting? There may be someone on the other end of the line, including strangers, who just might need that extra air beneath their wings to go do great things for our world. It’s called wig out insurance. We all need it and I’m thankful my premiums are paid up!
PS - stay tuned for the podcast - this is me putting a stake in the ground hoping you will go on this journey with me!
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