The class on Leading With Resilience that I just finished teaching for the Centre for Leadership at the Justice Institute of BC has been a very inspiring two days.
The format of the class included online reflective posts and journaling, so I was privileged with reading leader’s thoughts on the particular topics on hand.
One theme that emerged was the number of people who mentioned the importance of how we impact the lives of others. As I reflect on that theme, I realize giving people permission to give us feedback about how we impact them is important. Most people don’t want to tell us how we impact them. They are often afraid they will “hurt our feelings” or perhaps they just couldn’t be bothered or perhaps it doesn’t seem appropriate.
So, people need encouragement, and sometimes they need to be asked directly, to let us know what our impact is on them.
I am reminded of a conversation I had with a new friend who teaches in a personal development program called PSI Seminars. This person shared that in her program, people ask each other about how they are showing up and impacting each other. This takes courage to do at first, but inspired by what she said, I asked her right away if she’d be willing to share what impact or impression I had on her.
Of course, she was game!
She said, to her, I showed up like the Michelin man. She said I can present as a very big force yet there is a part of me inside that is afraid to shine, to grow to fit into the whole of the Michelin man.
What an intriguing piece of feedback!
In an odd way, that was both a compliment and frightening! It was a compliment, as what I took from her share of her perception of me, is that I’m bigger than I am allowing myself to be. That is wonderful and hopeful and points to another growth opportunity.
What was frightening was, am I showing up to other people that way too? Unless I start asking more people how I show up for them, I don’t have the data to know if this is a perception I need to inquiry into myself about.
Given the poem my friend Cathtryn Lecorre read this morning in her online kundalini class, I’d say many of us probably relate to the idea that we are not showing up as big or as bright as we could be. She read Marianne Williamson’s poem that begins with:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
What an empowering thought that perhaps if we ask others what impact or impression we may be leaving them with, that we might be able to increase our positive impact in the world!