The Me

This is the fourth in a series of posts describing my experiences at Integral Agile Wizardry Boot Camp attended December 3 - 7, 2014 in San Francisco.

As part of Integral Agile Wizardry Boot Camp, we went through a 360⁰ survey, Leadership Circle Profile™. I got the email in early November to submit a self-assessment and to also identify 11-15 people to provide their own perspectives about me. I did this rather quickly (this makes me think of “Slow Down”). I thought about people from whom I’d like feedback, and mostly picked people who I knew would be tough on me. There were some ‘easy’ choices I could've made, but at the time I figured I knew what the ‘easy’ people would say about me. Sometimes you look back on a choice and realize you were being too hard on yourself. This was one of those times. But I digress.

I usually get pretty good feedback with the exception of one major thing: I’m impatient. I wasn’t terribly worried about this survey and frankly hadn’t thought about it much aside from the email reminders that I had gotten. So, during the training, one of the facilitators handed me my results in a folder. I opened them up rather nonchalantly and started looking. My first reaction was “interesting…that doesn’t look like my normal survey results”. I didn’t put too much emotion into it at that point. I think I was just sort of numb? I’m not really sure. Maybe I’m a delayed emotional reaction type. Maybe I was rationalizing away what was right there on the paper for me to see clearly. Maybe I didn’t really understand it because I was so tired. I really have no idea what I was feeling at the time, but it seems accurate to say that I was feeling “NOTHING”. Shrug…

I observed in my results that statistically, I’m perceived as a very reactive person by those whom responded to the survey. I am perceived as having some creative strengths in areas such as achieving and creative authenticity. My results show that I see myself as a strong creative with a few reactive tendencies. Wowee! I let those facts settle in for a while. A few days, actually. One of the facilitators approached me to tell me “I’m here for you.” I think she knew I needed it, but I hadn’t yet asked for help. We scheduled some time to talk on Wednesday after our daily class session.

I’ve obviously had a month to think about this and reflect. Something I want to be crystal clear about: The results of the survey said that I think I’m a highly creative type, with few reactive tendencies, but that the people whom I surveyed said the exact opposite of that. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. You should also realize that statistically, companies who have a high number of creative types tend perform better by typical company standards (i.e., financial, growth, etc.). I was not scored as one of the creative types. One might say my results were “bad”. I’m trying to avoid using judgmental language, so I won’t say that. But you might say that if you were one to use judgmental language. I suspect that my results were pretty unique, because Lyssa told me she had explicitly asked to be the one who worked with me on understanding my results. “Well aren’t I special.” Joking aside, I was honored to have had someone like Lyssa to help me.

During the session with Lyssa, I was quite literally sobbing. I’m pretty sure she had tissues available, but I might’ve used my sleeve. As I was sobbing in the chair, she asked me to observe where I felt physical pain. I sobbed “It’s everywhere, I don’t know!” It was true. I physically felt tension everywhere in my body. I was scared as hell of what I learned about myself. A far cry from feeling “nothing” after first observing my results! This hurt, and it hurt a lot. Physically and emotionally. A lot.

I realized that I don’t let people know my heart, except for the very select few. Those people are few and far between. My responses about myself are truly what I feel. I feel like I give room for people to grow and help build them up. I feel like I make close, caring connections with people. But again, a select few.  A couple of handfuls or less. But those people would agree emphatically. I didn’t survey those people. And I’m glad I didn’t. My results would’ve been muted, and I wouldn’t have had the amazing opportunity for growth that I’ve been given.

The other day, I told a peer of mine that I went to a dive bar with my sisters to sing karaoke. He said “your definition and my definition of a dive bar are probably really different.” I was like “huh?!” So I described the bar and he said, “oh, sounds like a dive bar.” I wondered “what does he think of me?!” To me, there is no better bar night than a night in the corner dive bar talking with strangers. Strangers who resemble my favorite family members. People who may have had a rough go of it, but have a good story to tell and have a good heart. There was a guy like that at this dive bar, and I learned that he has an amazing heart and he’s just trying to be a good dad. He sat at our table and pretended to interrogate my sister using water torture (long story, but it was funny).

It’s amazing to me how the stars keep aligning for me to experience the things that I need to grow. Maybe those things have always been there and I’m just now noticing them.

Quote from Leadership Circle Results analysis: “These limitations come from an internal insecurity such as not feeling worthy or loved, feeling rejected, not feeling needed, feeling alone and unprotected. “ If you read it carefully, it sounds a little like a safety warning on a new toy or something. It should start with PROCEED WITH CAUTION...

Um. Ok. Well shit. Yep, that’s it. Lyssa and I talked a lot about my internal conflict. She reassured me that I wouldn’t die if I shared the real me, and that I should take the remainder of the week of training trying my “self” out in the safe environment of my cohorts. She asked me to remind myself that I am worthy. That was difficult. Still is. Good plan, Lyssa. Good plan. I still feel so honored to have been part of such an amazing group.

My commitment to myself and everyone: You will know me. The real me. The me who doesn’t clean her car and leaves laundry for days upon days. The me who frets for hours over a simple email communication. The me who loves a good dive bar, and actually sort of hates the snooty ones. The me who sings “This Girl is on Fire” pretty loudly when she’s drunk. The me who even with minor screw ups, can’t sleep for days. The me who spends hours thinking about a difficult conversation hoping that it comes across in a good way. The me who couldn’t raise her hand in class. The me who left college freshman year because the other girls in the dorm teased me about taking a 5:00 pm shower. The me who was teased in high school quite constantly and had panic attacks that the gas in the science room was leaking out and we were all going to die (not kidding, I really had that fear). I let the select few people know me, but I’m now committing to everyone that the real me will come through. The me who pretty much loves everyone. The me who lives with compassion. And knowing me will only make me a real person to you (hopefully), not make you turn away and confirm my deepest fear: that the real me isn't worthy of your respect, your time, or your friendship.