Growing into yourself

Being called out is a hazard and a blessing of surrounding yourself with strong individuals who care about you.  I was called out not once but three times by three different people in recent weeks for being too modest, not fully representing what I do, not owning my accomplishments, and not owning who I am.  People who cared spoke out, raising flags when they saw me consistently doing or saying things which minimized my opportunities or held me back.

Getting Called Out

Every time someone called me out, I was in a professional setting where others saw and heard the exchange.  The first time, I had an aw shucks reaction - kind of glad someone else described me for me.  When it happened a second time I was grateful because they stepped into the void I had left and rescued me.  They relayed with sincerity the breadth and scope of my involvement in a complex project; something I struggled to do.  When it happened a third time, I felt like I was being hit over the head.  There was a lesson to be learned and obviously I was a slow learner.  The universe just kept banging on my noggin until I paid attention.

The third time, it definitely got my attention.  I owned up to the challenge right away with the third person relaying how this had come up several times in recent weeks.  We had a brief exchange over a row of chairs at a crowded venue with #DisruptHRYEG fans milling about at the break.  Yup, my community will call me out in a setting like that.  I am grateful for wonderful people in my life who aren't afraid to tell me stuff that might not elicit the most favourable reaction initially.  They are a fabulously fearsome group who challenge me, encourage me, and sharpen iron.

Growing Into Yourself - be patient, keep learning

Tripping over yourself

What a gift to live and work among people like that who care deeply for me.  Every exchange was over in two minutes or less, yet every exchange stuck to the wrinkles in my brain.  I listened, I heard, and I wondered.  What was it that was causing me to lose my words?  Why couldn't I express the depth of my professional experience without diminishing or bragging? How come I couldn't put words to who I am? It felt like a teeter totter.  Too much one way and I was on the losing end, failing to express my worth properly.  Too much the other way and I was in danger of damaging my soul with pride and braggadocio.

How did this happen?  How is it that a person with plenty of confidence and a love of words, was tripping over themselves with such regularity when put in a position requiring them to wear their mantle?  Just in case I was still being obtuse - the universe dropped Sheryl Sandberg's TED talk, Why we have too few women leaders, into one of my social media feeds last week.  Believe me, by that time I was paying attention although I didn't have the answers.

Wearing your mantle - growing into yourself

Paying attention is key to learning.  I have learned a few things on this jumbled up topic.  We all have a mantle of some kind, and we need to wear it. The mantle is who we are, who we were designed to be.  Maybe it's being the very best mum you can be.  Or reaching hundreds or thousands of people with a message that burns in your soul.  It might be leading, or it might be following.  Your mantle is not a one size fits all proposition, it is uniquely designed for you based on your talents and gifts.

I struggle with wearing my mantle and I need to consciously figure out how to step into it every single day.  I have learned I am not alone in this and there is comfort in that, but it can't be an excuse for failing to do what you and only you were designed to do in your time and your place.  I don't have the answers yet, but I am thankful for the community of friends and colleagues who remind me to step into my mantle on a daily basis.  What's your mantle?  If you aren't sure, have a listen to Hillsong - Who you say I am.  Are you wearing it and fully using the opportunity and openings it offers you?  Are you growing into yourself?