Saturday, July 26, 2008

On being bold: the journey continues

For those of you who know me, you know I'm not shy. I say what's on my mind. I'm candid, frank and direct. And of course, I'm always encouraging other people to speak up and do the same.

But I still get people who tell me to "be bold" or "how could you walk away and not tell them" or "people really want to hear your opinion" or "there are people who want and need your guidance." You're kidding, right?!? People don't want to hear...

And then there's this really funky talent I have where I can rather quickly conceptualize combinations of people and ideas, in sort of a visionary way. It's really hard to explain but it has to do with maximizing people's potential and getting them out of their own box so that they can be freed up to think and act outside the box. I know, I know, sounds so simple but it's a very complicated thing that happens in my brain all the time. The weird thing is that I can apply it to just about any situation or business or anyone -- at any level at just about any time. No research needed -- just a little bit of observation time and my brain wiring goes into action. The more observation, the more concepts I see.

I think the visionary part is that I can "see" the impact of what could happen if a few barriers were lifted -- and those barriers are sometimes difficult to explain to people because they are often barriers in the way people think.

The challenge, of course, is capturing those ideas and sharing them. I'm so used to the ideas coming at a fast pace -- they are so normal to me -- that I discount half of them just like fleeting thoughts. As if they have no value to me or anyone around me. Like popcorn. And then there's the challenge of when I do share, that people either look at me like I have 3 heads or they completely react and disengage and never even try to go with me on the thought journey. Only once in a while do I run across someone who "gets it." So I'm usually left with this vivid "potential picture" that nine times out of ten just fades away until the next one comes, and the next and the next.

If I had my drothers, and I suppose I do, I'd create a new title for myself -- something like chief potential officer. To me, that'd be the coolest job in the world. Job description? Easy as 1-2-3: Observe. See potential. Explain the picture. That's it. No different than an artist or sculptor.

It was Michelangelo who said... "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." For me, uncovering potential in a person or a business is simply to take away that which isn't necessary. That which has no purpose. That which no longer serves one well.

I don't know if being more bold is what it will take for me to move forward in my own life. But I do know that being more of who I am -- more accepting of the gifts that God has provided - is mission critical. If I can make a difference in one person's life, it's all worth it. But what if I could make a difference in hundreds or thousands? Or what if by my making a difference in a few lives, many lives could be changed as a result?

Being bold is not about being in someone's face as much as it is about facing challenges head on, with an almost quiet and even deeply spiritual confidence. It's about having the courage to be truly authentic. It's about pushing through fear to gain the opportunities that only freedom from fear can bring. It's about realizing that explaining a "vision" or a conceptual idea can change the direction of a company -- maybe not today, but maybe within a few months or even the next year.

Will you go on this journey with me? Will you commit to being more bold?
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