Back in 1989 I remember tenderly touching Jennifer’s swollen midsection and saying, “I think I’m going to hit the next person who says, ‘your life will never be the same.'” I knew having a child would change our lives forever – and I knew with a knowledge that would admittedly deepen over the years – that it wouldn’t be all kitty cats and rainbows. But I also knew this was surely one of life’s greatest gifts, and I resented and rejected the tones of warning, doom, and gloom!
Fast-forward 30 years, and I started to weary (geez, I’m irritable, aren’t I?) of “Words can’t express how wonderful it is to be a grandparent.” Come on. Seriously. Well, one year in, all I can say is: true dat!
Touching baby skin is unspeakably, emotionally tender. And just watching Dylan Azul is candy for the mind. He is at once perfect as he is and, as his mom said the other day, we can hardly wait to see what’s next. It makes me wonder: with all your consciousness, all your experience, your values and connections . . . perfect as you are(!) where will you grow next? Dylan is in this super-cool place where he can move across a room, holding one thing and the next, on the ground like a monkey grabbing vines in the trees. It’s clear to me: He has everything he needs to walk. I’ve let him go when he’s distracted for a second – he’s standing! he’s taken a step! – but when he realizes there’s no tether, whooosh, those knees buckle and he sits himself down.
Forget about kids and grandkids: Perfect though you are, what growth opportunity provokes your ancient fears and buckles your knees?
On Monday the 23rd I begin teaching a leadership seminar and I’m adding a wrinkle, inviting each of us – myself included – to straighten up our knees and take some first steps we’ve been afraid to take. I’ll provide the students a list to prime their imaginative pumps, like the one at the bottom of this blog. But as a leader, are you intrigued? Leaders always invite (others to) change. And change is always hard. And leaders model the way. So, what change might be hard for you, but advance you down the road? To greater freedom, agency, satisfaction, or effectiveness. What (false) fears like Dylan’s keep you from taking a new step, modeling courage and vulnerability and moving forward?
I’m thinking about how I might be “perfect like Dylan” and yet choose to risk some growth, a couple steps forward in a new direction to lead with my best self. When I figure it out – and if it’s not too personal – I might share it in the comments. Care to go first? What steps might you take to
Lead with your best self.
Here are some ideas, some of which I’m considering
Apologize for wounding another.
Ask someone for help.
Quit something (beer, wine, pot, high-fat food, avoidance, victimization thoughts) in order to CHOOSE to move forward to something more healthy.
Pick up that guitar.
Do romantic acts for your spouse.
Start that business (idea).
Reach out to that mentor.
Write a political piece: maybe on abortion, Ukraine, racism, PC-ness, or climate.
Spend a full day . . . in . . . total silence . . . and really . . . listen.
Sign-up for a run.
Pick up an instrument.
What strikes your fancy?