You know the feeling: life would be so much smoother without these rough edges you bring to the work. Ah, if only you were perfect… yeah, THEN you’d really kick ass.
It’s a familiar refrain, and one that actually points the way to greatness. In my phone-coaching, I help change agents and culture-shifters turn “rough edges” into superpowers. Together we take a deeper look at those annoying “unique” (a.k.a. weird) things that make you and others uncomfortable, those old stumbling blocks in your comfort zone. We discover how they actually support your own unique way of flying… and suddenly you’re off, watching obstacles shrink as you soar over them in new ways. Ways that feel great, by the way.
That’s why I love this image, which I found while working on my latest project, the InspireMe! deck, with Lyssa Adkins. What if this fish had managed to smooth out its rough edges? Sure, it would look more like a “real fish”, and schooling would be so much smoother… but, oh, what would be lost!
I’ve got rough edges too.
If you know me, this comes as no surprise! And since every coach needs a coach, I’ve been exploring my own entrepreneurial “rough edges” in the past 18 months, with the help of various coaches. And my coaches include my teachers, my partners, and also my students… when you want to grow, lessons and teachers are everywhere! It’s been a challenging and also rich time.
What did I learn? While the marketing gurus go on and on about the importance of “content marketing”, I’ve been discovering that, in fact, what I offer is a “container”. I excel at “holding space” for people to let their own great stuff happen. In one-on-one coaching, it’s holding space for you to discover your superpowers and put them to work. In Opening Space it’s supporting complexity and helping innovation flourish. And at CoachingCocktails it’s making virtual space for vibrant community … and whatever emerges out of that! When I do this work it is appreciated and fruitful. It’s still work, occasionally long hours, but oh so rewarding and joyful!
It’s not easy – but it’s Great!
Case in point: it’s been such a pleasure to work with Lyssa Adkins and her husband John on our new card deck for culture-shifters, change agents and agile coaches, called InspireMe! This image is one of the 50 self-coaching cards we created together. In this project I let go of what I do with difficulty (I’m dyslexic, for starters) and I contributed what I excel at: inviting growth, exploring metaphors, and creating unexpected images that make you go “hmm”. Lyssa brought some of her many strengths: brilliant concepts, short pithy prose, and laser-like focus. John’s willingness to speak up (when two talkative women were filling the airwaves!) allowed him contribute his great skill of really seeing and evaluating, which increased the quality of our images and texts. Together, we created something that really matters to us, that helps fulfill our dreams for the world, and that none of us could have created alone, had we tried to play all the roles ourselves.
The bonus: working with partners created so much joyful teamwork! My gaps were accepted, and compensated for by others’ skills, and when I unthinkingly filled their “gaps”, their appreciation helped me understand what I do well, and so I could develop more of it. Being imperfect made opportunities for partners to practice their strengths. And it turns out: some of my rough edges are actually fledgling superpowers.
A resource for all us flying fish.
You can see, brevity isn’t my stong suit. But it doesn’t have to be: my coach training has elevated my listening superpowers. And I get a lot of mileage out of “a picture’s worth a thousand words” in our new card deck!
If you’re working on yourself, too, I encourage you to put our images and words on your desk, and dip in when you need encouragement, support or a new growth challenge. There’s plenty there to last all year… and 10 spare cards to share with those you support and encourage!
I can’t wait to see your face when you figure out what those rough edges are for! (Drop me a line when you do, will ya?)