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What Do You Stand For?

The philosopher and Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius said, “The impediment to action advances the action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

I had the privilege of coaching a group of art educators last week.

They came to the group with equal parts courage and vulnerability.

These were women and men who work in high school classrooms and in B.O.C.E.S. programs.

They support the development of other people's talent and sense of worthiness.

And because they are human, they struggle with their own self worth, at times.

Like all of us, when we desire change OR when change is thrust upon us, we will NOTICE that our own limiting beliefs and thoughts about who we are and what we are capable of IMPEDES OUR ACTION FORWARD. One teacher, who is a talented artist and teacher BY ALL ACCOUNTS (I had her list the proof of her gifts), has trouble GROWING INTO THE NEW CREATIVE SPACE SHE WANTS TO EXPLORE. Why? Because even with proof of her gifts, there is a terrified part of her that tells her that IT IS TOO GREAT A RISK TO GROW. That fear has cemented a belief in her mind that goes something like this: I will be judged for being second rate and everyone will see my inferiority and talentlessness. I will be cast out. I will be judged for being a beginner, and it will be proof that I don't belong here, that I am a fake. I will be rejected. YIKES! Who wouldn't play small with those bullies around the corner? The thing is, there is a part of her that DOESN'T BUY WHAT THAT BELIEF IS SELLING. This grown woman knows that her BELIEF and the THOUGHTS THAT FOLLOW are PROTECTING a much younger part of her that once felt inferior to people in her family of origin. And that sweet girl needs her love. BINGO! We know she can do that because she is such a great champion of all the young kids she teaches! Now all she has to do is bring that care and nurturing to HERSELF. EASY PEASY, right? Unfortunately, bringing compassion to ourselves is not so easy. We are tough on ourselves. It takes practice. IMAGINE if >>>> IMAGINE IF SHE TOOK THIS LIMITING BELIEF and turned it into a VALUE THAT SHE COULD STAND FOR. Imagine if she turned this impediment into a small action every day that would result in her transforming that belief? What would that look like? She might declare: I VALUE FAILURE! I VALUE BEING A BEGINNER! I VALUE MESS! I VALUE FEEDBACK! I AM ALL ABOUT GROWTH! That is, after all, what she TEACHES her kids. She has that script in-hand already. If she stands for THESE values, what becomes possible? My hope is that she can tame the thoughts that are busy protecting her so that she can care for the parts that are still afraid to fail. Over time, a new belief will replace that old one. When we flip the script on ourselves - what we think of as a weakness can be our greatest strength -- if we can STAND FOR IT. What do you stand for?

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