The problem with blind spots is just that- you're blind to them and you have no idea they are there until you run headlong into them and bash your head in the process.
This was the situation I found myself in when I arrived at Baarlo to participate in the week long Being at Full Potential training on understanding and working with the organisational assessment tool. I had driven there with a feeling of trepidation, I was blind to something and did not know what.
Once the group had started with the first check in session, I realised what I had been sensing. This was more than just a business training – it was going to entail doing personal development too. One hour into the week long session, I ran headlong against my first block. I was going to have to reveal myself, be vulnerable – and run the risk that the other participants may not like what they saw – and I had to do a whole week of it – with no escape. We were in a castle – literally and figuratively – I was stuck up a tower.
Standing before the group on that first morning, I made my first check in with these words, “I don't do group stuff, I do my work alone – or with friends – I don't do it like this – with strangers” - my missive dropped into the room like a stone sinking into a pond – it disappeared and left some waves around the room. Interestingly for me – ripples of acceptance, love and compassion. I sat down feeling confused and wondering what was going on.
The check ins happened a lot – really a lot - and by the second day I knew that I could stay hidden behind the wall I had erected for myself - or I could jump into the pond and swim. I recognised the signals, the impulse to jump was strong, and I knew that this was a moment that I could not miss.
Inevitably, like the clock turning, the next check in moment arrived. With clarity, I stood in front of the group, grasping the talking stick like a life raft. Finally, I spoke from my heart, from the place of fierce authenticity and my realness. This time my words were alive, bouncing off the walls rather than sinking into deep water. I remember thinking, “oh is this all there is to it? Is it this simple. Do I just have to say what I really think?”.
Ironically the answer is always really easy – while I was making up my story – and believing it to be real - I could not see the simplicity of the answer that was staring me in the face. Yes, I just had to be real and be me.
In the remaining days I learnt to stand in silence, and welcome the quiet, I let my body do the talking and let my tears run. Sometimes the words alone were not enough, sometimes it was not about the words at all but the presence that came with standing in front of the group and letting the wisdom of the universe speak through me. It was a beautiful and powerful experience.
Finally I saw the power of processing with a group. I understood that the group is not there to judge, but hold loving space for me so that I can gather the courage and strength to do my part. The beauty is that I do not have to do it alone – the strangers quickly become people to whom I am deeply connected and with whom I share a bond of loving compassion.
In truth, I had not entirely understood the enormous steps I had taken in Baarlo until one of our group said to me during a Skype session, “but Sally you were one of the people who made the biggest journey that week. You moved from unconscious incompetence to conscious competence”. Once I had gotten over the surprise at being bluntly called incompetent, I realised he was right. It made sense of the experience I had been having in groups since I returned home. I saw that I am now more aware of the choice I am making about how I interact in group settings. Rather than reverting to the old story “I don't do groups”, I am now choosing how to interact and when. This is bringing me more joy, more connections and giving space for the real me to be present more often. It means I can be of better service when more of the real me turns up. I am more honest about what I do and don't want to do, and this benefits everyone.
The movement to conscious competence brings freedom and choice and releases me from the
position of being a victim to a blind spot. With this new found insight comes more clarity and purpose – all of which allow me to stand more strongly in my power; shining more of my potential into the world.
This has been a story about my journey to greater authenticity and realisation of my potential – maybe it resonates for you? Maybe there are aspects you recognise? Ultimately the question of how we bring more of our fully authentic selves into the world becomes important to address if we want to truly be of service or sincerely be present in this world we share together.
Sat, 02 February