“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use, do the work you want to see done.” Austin Kleon
Having just read a post from a friend this morning, I’m reflecting on my own 12 months, soon to be officially over with the coming of a new year.
Like him I applied to Seth Godin’s altMBA with the potential fear that maybe, probably likely . . I wasn’t enough. That I didn’t deserve to be part of that group . . that people were too smart, or too old or too young or too tall. Can you see how this goes?
I started the program with some trepidation. Could I keep up? Would people know that I wasn’t really supposed to be there? In one of my cohort conversations I remember exiting Zoom left and thinking . . . .
My whole life I’ve felt too young to do this . . or to feel that . .Then somehow I’ve become too old. When did that happen? It reminded me of that Eddie Izzard skit where the avocado is hard and inedible in the fruit bowl and then suddenly it ripens when no one’s looking, only to be rediscovered moments later . . brown and sluggish.
Where was that window where I simultaneously felt wise and confident? That large timber clad sliding door of opportunity that I could throw open to wander the intellectual world with ease. Did I walk past it I wondered?
Had the window already shut? Maybe it was never open. Maybe I had one of those safety windows that only opens an inch at the top . . Enough to let the fresh smell of opportunity drift inside in the morning, but not wide enough to let anything meaningful in or out.
I watched people lean confidently out their windows, waving and calling to others . . while I was peering through a porthole. Small and smudgy. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t make it bigger or clearer or easier to open.
And then about halfway through the first week, the realisation dawned on me.
Holy crap Batman. I’m doing this to myself.
To re-orientate from “Am I good enough?” Or “do I measure up?” towards a posture of “How and What could I contribute here?”. Practicing this small change created a ripple in my life that extended further than I could see at the time.
The practicing of these postures changed the way I think about who we are and what we can contribute. Myself included. When we see the world like this, the idea of comparison and competition becomes less frightening, and also, less interesting.
This gift of being seen by others as we make efforts to see them, can be life changing. And as a coach I greatly admire once said to me . . “It’s like the matrix. Once you see it . . you can’t un-see it.”
And so as the year comes to a close I look back on one of the things I wrote during this wild ride.