Impact

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

Post 1: The Starting Line of Integral Agile Wizardry
Post 2: The Integral Race Begins
Post 3: Learning to Pace Myself
Post 4: The Me
Post 5: Getting Over Myself Already

By Thursday night of the Integral Agile Bootcamp, we were all pretty tired, but kind of stoked for our Thursday night celebration. A few of the participants and I drove into town and stocked up on liquor, wine, and beer (lots of it).

Things started with some music and just hanging out. One of the participants spent the night creating balloon caricatures of each of us. He did amazingly well capturing the likeness of every person he drew.

At some point after a little bit of alcohol, the facilitators kicked off a 'talent show'. We all felt weird about being grown adults and planning for a talent show, but it turned out to be this amazingly raw, vulnerable, beautiful thing where people shared a part of themselves that they normally wouldn't. Some people told jokes, some people sang and played an instrument, others read a poem, and still others simply spoke. I cried more than once. It was such a moving experience, and after awhile just about everyone wanted to share a part of themselves with the group.

The trouble I had: I couldn't come up with a 'talent'. I dabble in painting. But I wasn't going to paint a picture. I had written a poem months earlier that seemed appropriate for the night. I'm not one who writes poems. In fact it is the only poem I've ever written ever, still (although I have one brewing in my head).  With shaking hands and wobbly feet (partly caused by alcohol consumption but mostly nerves), I stood up in front of the room and read my poem. I was asked to read it again. And again. And then one of the group asked if they could read it. Then someone else wanted to read it. Finally, a gal who now is one of my greatest friends came up, and tearfully read my poem. After she read it we hugged and cried.

What the hell was that?? I was so surprised. That experience alone has been a huge motivator for me. That I could inspire others with something I wrote was a big reason I started this blog. Apparently I can write. I've always loved research papers, but everything I had written thus far was very IT quadrant focused. This blog is all I and a little bit of WE quadrant. (for an Integral quadrant refresher, click here)

Over the last few weeks I've felt a little demotivated. I attempted to start a daily writing habit , and in so doing I realized that I had fallen into a bad mindset again (and more than once fallen back into it and out of it). I had started to feel like I wasn't making a difference. I had started again to feel like I didn't have a direction. That I was just going through the motions. Through writing, and by remembering that night at the bootcamp, I was reminded that the impact I can have doesn't have to be right there in front of me. Through writing and sharing my story, I'm making an impact. I need to be okay with not having that tangible outcome that shows me "here's the impact I've had". Sometimes just sharing myself out into the universe has an impact, and that can be enough. But I can't fall into the habit of not going for it. I wonder why I haven't written anything in this blog for two months? Hmmm...

That's such an "agile coaching" thing too. As a coach, I'm sort of separated from the outcomes of a team and an organization. I can sometimes see the outcomes, but the team or organization doesn't usually attribute the outcomes to anything I did. This is where the satisfaction of coaching teams has to come from within myself. Teams find their own way and their own answers. I'm just there to help them see that they can find their own answers. I have to have a "way of being" that creates a space for them to find their way. Many people don't realize how hard that is, and there aren't very many carrots along the way. In fact, there are LOTS of sticks! I need to have an internal compass that lets me see that I'm making an impact, even if my traditional carrot was others seeing and praising that impact. I'm good with what I'm doing. I'm pleased with the outcomes so far.

The night of the party I felt this amazing sense of acceptance. We all shed judgment, many of us faced our fears and anxieties and just went for it. I'm going to keep going for it.