On Thursday I went to see Glennon Doyle speak. I had never heard of her, but a friend gave me tickets and whenever I can, I say yes to a new experience. There were a number of obstacles that threatened my attendance, but I felt like there was a reason I should go. So I went. As soon as she walked on stage, I heard my internal voice say, "I don't like her."
As she talked, I heard many of the themes you read about here: courage, authenticity, vulnerability. But as I tried to open to her message, I felt my eyes squint and my lips purse at the style of her presentation. There's a reason I'm here, I thought. Be patient. Let it come.
As I watched her, I began to appreciate her gift of storytelling, respected her journey and was impressed by her accomplishments. Then the reason I was there struck me. A year ago, I would have felt defeated by her talk. I would have believed that since she and I have many of the same messages, and she already has a national stage, there probably wasn't room for me.
But as I watched Glennon, I realized how important it is for messages to come in different packaging. There are plenty of people who will connect with her and there are plenty of people who will connect with me. And the world needs both.
I talk with a lot of people, maybe even some of you, who have a dream to contribute to the world. I hear the concerns that you're too late to the table. I hear that someone "took your idea." I sympathize with you that there are already too many people doing what you thought was your unique gift.
Listen up. It's not simply the gift that matters. It's also the wrapping. Your experiences, your knowledge, your accent, your weird cadence...all of it combine to create someone special. If you have a contribution to make, it doesn't matter if someone else is already there. You might repeat the same themes as someone else, but if you're authentic, your packaging of those themes will connect with someone who needs you.
I once had a coaching client ask me how he should behave in order to be a good manager. I told him he should be as much as himself as he could be. He rebutted, "but that's not how managers are here."
Maybe you feel like that. Maybe you feel like you're different at work than at the office. Maybe you feel like your workplace just won't appreciate you if you bring more of your true self to the table. Courageous Authenticity and Integrity are some of the most important traits of effective leaders. If you're not showing up with integrity to who you are and you're not courageous enough to be vulnerable, perhaps you're not being the most effective leader you can be.
This week I encourage you to consider how you can be a little bit more you at work. If you have a great sense of humor, think of ways you can help your team have fun. If you are an adventurer, encourage your team to explore. If you love to create, find a way to be innovative. Whoever you are, we need more of you. Have confidence in both your message and your packaging. If you're called to make a contribution, the best way to do that is by being you.
Join us at Well Ray for the Close of Soar
Join us at Well Ray, a celebration of health and wellness in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, VA. On Saturday, June 24 between 9am - 1pm, come down to take part in our Soar closing and so much more. We'll invite people to choose a rock from the Soar installation that speaks to them. With over three thousand rocks, it'll probably be hard to find your own, but I guarantee you'll find one that feels familiar. After all, the rocks are filled with what it means to be human.
After you select a rock, we'll lead you to a painting station where you can transform your rock into something beautiful. This closing symbolizes the process we go through in our human journey. If we work an issue or challenge enough, we can transform it into something that becomes the most beautiful part of who we are. Fear turns into courage. Insecurity turns into confidence. Regret turns into acceptance. Whatever burden you choose to lay down, consider what's on the other side of it. Work on the burden. Toss it around like the ocean tumbles a rock. It takes time and work, but in the end, your burden transforms into something beautiful.
We'll have paints, markers and some expert guidance on how to transform your rocks. We are pleased to partner with Alexandria Public Schools teacher Ruth Brannigan, who started a project called Alexandria Rocks. She paints inspirational messages on rocks and leaves them around town for people to discover. You're invited to take your rock with you or leave it for her to inspire others.
So Much Good News!
Soar continues to be in the news. This week Soar was featured in The Washington Post. You probably heard about last week's shooting at a Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, VA. That incident took place just blocks from the installation. And while Soar was in place before tragedy struck, it now serves as a spot for people to come together, be vulnerable and release the fear, worry and grief from the week's events. Also, in case you missed it, check out our coverage on ABC7 and NBC4.
Also in the news, Jay Korff's story on Be the Light is nominated for a regional Emmy Award! Results are announced June 24th, the closing day of Soar. We think that's a good sign.