“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscape, but in having new eyes.” ~Marcel Proust
Lisa was overwhelmed. From a traditional small town, she had come to New York for a career shift and found the “anything goes” culture jarring. A mom of two, she was having trouble connecting with her colleagues who were mostly younger and unmarried. She told me that her difficulty in connecting came from having been “different” all her life — in grade school, in high school. But as we dug deeper, it turned out that she did enjoy close, supportive relationships with close friends, her husband and her siblings.
Lisa was doing what so many of us do. We have scripts in our head. When things happen, we “make up” that what’s happening is proof of that script or story. Why is matters shows up in what happened next for Lisa. Once she took “I don’t connect with people” off the table, she realized that she had been avoiding the work from the leadership development program she was enrolled in. Visioning, planning, decision making and effective communication. All critical skillset tools that would prepare Lisa for the job managing a team of 50 that her organization had hired her to eventually take on.
How do we see our same landscape through new eyes? It’s a challenge. What we know, or think we know, is like the water in front of a fish — very hard to see. What are your go-to stories? And what is on your list of skills that would make a difference if you learned them?
Stories: Sometimes it’s a victim story like, “If I only had XX,” or a core belief like, “In my family, we do YZ,” or, “I didn’t work for XX years just to YZ.” It often sounds like issues with others and/or management.
Skillset: Like for Lisa, what would you be doing to grow if a story didn’t get in the way? What is the next thing, large or small?
The end of the year is a good time to get a little pensive. In the next few weeks, watch out for my year-end review and new year planning exercises.