I strongly believe 2013 is the year to “go back”. I’m going back so that I can go forward with greater clarity and confidence. I’m referring to a sort of reappraisal of the past, why I have certain tendencies, what triggers them and how I can cope with the natural (mostly negative) reactions that I have to these triggers. The point is for me to go forward without the hitches and doubts (I call them techno-personal hitches).
To give you some background, I did a few things during 2012 that helped to focus my attention. One is professional and others are personal:
1. I got a professional coach to help me develop as a leader
2. I re-engaged with at least one old friendship
3. I deepened one existing friendship
4. I created many new friendships and left myself open to the fondness of strangers.
It was great to discuss my professional victories and challenges with a neutral person. Good coaches are worth their weight in gold because they put a mirror in front of you and enable you see how others perceive you. Most importantly, my coach allowed me see how I perceive myself. Some of it was surprising but all true. I understood that I am often not true to myself because I fear that I’ll get some negative results like I have in the past.
He encouraged me to identify my triggers and find coping strategies.
It is a relief that I don’t need a frontal lobotomy. I can continue being myself, only better.
Instead of learning from past events or incidents, I had (in many cases) totally abandoned the relationship, the idea or even the physical place itself. I didn’t want to go near any of it. Making, keeping and rekindling friendships has given me new perspective. I’m working on opening up myself to the possibility of getting hurt or being used or embarrassed. At first, I thought I was being wise by closing off but it always felt uncomfortable to hold back in that way. It wasn’t me.
It was like not using major muscles in my body.
It meant second guessing myself, arguing with myself even.
Old friendships remind me of who I am and deepening existing ones let me know I’m just fine the way I am. And new friendships? Oh, those are really exciting because I get to understand others first, with great interest and a complete willingness to accept, not criticise. After a time of understanding what makes people tick and what they fundamentally care about, then I try to be understood. I also know fully well that there may be disappointments but I give it my all for as long as it lasts. I’ll be wise enough to open up again to a new opportunity for friendship (and leadership) regardless of the outcomes.