I’ve been wrestling with this all week. The experience of being “in charge” of a room and having the experience in the room hijacked by another powerful voice. That voice took my room in a direction I was doing my best to steer it away from. That voice took an hour of carefully cultivated vision and tore it up before it had a chance to fully root itself in the hearts of the team I’d been working with. At least that’s how it felt then. I really don’t know what took root or didn’t, yet.
I found myself at a loss for how to turn the tide. I failed the room. I failed myself. I failed possibility. I say this without bitterness, angst or self-recrimination. I’m long past using those blunt instruments of torture on myself. I say it as a starting point. A new beginning. Because, in the end, every breath is a new beginning. Acknowledging where I am and what is happening is an essential moment any any turn toward a new direction. The direction I’m turning toward is the intentional cultivation of my own powerful voice.
The next time I am speaking about the power and the potency of a vision to invoke and invite the creative in all of us and I am faced with the voice of the status quo, the voice of replication, a voice that uses all the weight, power and authority of the demand for ‘control-as-a-path-to-safety’ I will be ready. Because now I know what I failed to say. And I won’t fail to say it again.
I hear you. I hear your concern that if we allow ourselves to trust the spark deep inside each of us to bring us together and unite us in the pursuit of something worthwhile that things might get messy. I hear you that most people don’t know (yet) how to do the hard work of constructing that vision or the hard work of bringing themselves fully to the building of what we see. I hear that the carefully constructed control you have over your corner of reality might change. I hear that all the rules you have about how to operate to ensure you are safe are teetering. I understand that without those rules you can’t maintain the illusion that you’re taking care of yourself and owe no one anything. That fallacy might crumble and leave you not knowing how to operate. I get that all the rules that ensure your privledge, your dominance and your winning look like they might just fall apart. To consider that they might is justifiably terrifying. I can feel that fear and the denial of that fear deeply, here in the pit of my stomach.
But consider this. What if the vision of the world we’re building also ensures you are cared about and cared for. What if what we’re moving toward doesn’t punish you or enslave you but liberates you too?
I understand you want to evicerate the power of vision. Seeing the possibility of a world that works for everyone would change everything. Likely you’ve been taught that the world does not and cannot work for everyone. That we HAVE to have a hierarchy to control those who don’t contribute. I know you don’t believe that we all want to contribute. You have to believe that in order to justify the extraction and the domination. To protect yourself from the pain of what you’re doing. I know this also allows you to feel bigger and better than others. I get this, I allow it, I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt. In the end I know it’s your choice whether you continue to believe that or not. I know because I made the choice.
And because I believe completely in the power and potency of liberated creativity and the potency of choice I have no interest in using any control tactics on you to get you to convert. I don’t need to convince you or change your mind. I know only you can do that. I acknowledge the sovereignty of your choice. You can keep your beliefs. And I will keep offering this choice and this vision to everyone in the room. Trusting that eventually enough people will choose it that a new reality will be born.
Once it is you’ll be welcome too.
Because you see, it is just a choice. We can create this world to run on fear, control, force and extraction. We’ve done it for years. It’s moved us forward and created a lot. But like any static creation it’s usefulness has passed. We can keep choosing it and run ourselves right into extinction or another round of desperate scarcity or we can choose a new operating system. We can replace fear, control, force and extraction with trust, choice, ease and contribution. In a world that runs on the former being the forcer, extractor and controller is vastly the more enjoyable position. You can keep choosing it if you like. I get why you do. I allow why you do. In the end you’ll sense it as deeply hollow and meaningless. I trust your experience will teach you that. I don’t need to teach you that. Indeed I couldn’t now even if I tried. You’re still in the position of privledge, your fear of loss would blind you.
But there are others in this room. Those of you who already have tasted the emptiness of privledge. Or those of you who remember the pain of being controlled. Who forgot, for a time, that you can’t be controlled. It’s to you that I offer this choice. You can continue to believe the story of your own incapacity to choose and to co-create our world. You can continue to buy into the lie that only special people can lead and create and you’re not one of them. Or you can wake up to a different truth. You can choose now to believe that our shared reality is yours to co-create. That its your choice whether the lives we live, the relationships we have and the work that we do fill us or drain us, enliven us or deaden us, uplift us or trample us.
We get to choose if we believe in a vision that calls and inspires people to contribute of their own free will and enthusiasm that allows us to rest and pause and replenish ourselves as we need to so we can bring ourselves back, fully, to contribution. Or not. The future is not ordained, the future is created. And we are it’s creators.
This, in the end is the only choice we ever face. And we face it moment by moment. It’s there to redeem us anew with every breath;
Do I trust me and my power to inspire, uplift and engage and lead others into a better world or will I give that power over to those who don’t believe in my heart?
Every moment is a new beginning. The possibility to choose one over the other. Believe in your frailty and weakness or your infinite creative potency.
I know what I choose I choose to believe in the indomitable potency of a small group of committed people to change the world. Maybe those people are you. Maybe I’ll move on and find them elsewhere but I AM one of those people and my choice is made.
What will you choose?
That’s what I could have said. That what I could have offered and I didn’t have the voice for it. Not quite. I could feel the potency roiling in me. Ready to erupt as a flash of anger. I also sensed that anger, well known and well-loved as it is, wasn’t the tone I wanted any more. And in my uncertainty in the path forward I was silent. But now, my trust in me returns, stronger for the reflection. In the end it’s not mine to force, manipulate or control us into that direction. That ship has sailed. It mine to simply invite, inspire and offer. And then to be there, shoulder to shoulder to co-create. Here I am. Ready willing and more able than I was a week ago. Less able than I will be next week.
This world is mine to contribute to as I choose. To co-create with you, for all of us.
I’m looking forward, and liking what I see.