I was just reading an article about Holocracy in Fast Company, and it seems to me that the “you can’t x until you y” formula comes straight out of the older thinking and leadership models and as such, may be becoming outdated.
We’ve all known (or heard about) kids who ran before they walked, or seem to have sprung from the womb already understanding calculus. We’ve seen brilliant people supported in unconventional ways do unbelievable things–only unbelievable because we decided it couldn’t be done. World records get broken first in the brain–then everyone can do it, because we know it has happened.
Even in the world of psychology and neurology we see the old models of “this has to take forever and be long and painful” dropping in favor of things like neurofeedback and EMDR. We are skipping the “convince the person” part and going right to “rewire the hardware”. And why not? There is no valor in misery, despite some of the teachings of some of the religions around here.
Which brings me to coaching. One of the reasons I chose CTI as my school is because they are explicit about their underlying belief in the people we work with: all clients are “naturally creative, resourceful, and whole”.
Put another way, YOU ARE NOT BROKEN. And neither am I.
And every time I see a coaching ad that says, “you’ve got to (love yourself, have a mission, get focused, etc whatever) before you can (be happy, be successful, stand on your head) a piece of me jolts, and now I think I understand why.
Because I’m too damn not-like-that.
I don’t put much stock in paying dues. And the older I get, and the more dues I’ve paid, the less stock I put in it. Seriously. I don’t see why we should be wasting time and talent on principle. I’m dynamic, creative, and often impatient. I grew up in the UU church, trying to find the balance between leadership and chaos. In the last 40 years I’ve learned a lot, and nothing I’ve learned says that putting in your time really gets you anything except acclimated to the old way of thinking. If you are deliberately trying to preserve a culture, go for it, that makes sense. If you are at all interested in innovation, you might want to rethink.
So no, you don’t have to x before you y. You can fall in love without loving yourself, and do it well. You can run before you walk. You can discover that speed helps you keep your balance. In the Intensive Extravaganza we had a big conversation about how we love to see people do what they’re brilliant at as soon as possible. Because we’re attracted to the energy, and that’s where it lives.
Sometimes, leapfrogging is the exception, sometimes the rule. Sometimes you can afford to skip practicing, sometimes you can’t. But creating a paradigm where everything has a prerequisite? Lends itself to an environment where it’s easily too late to start over. And in life, that is rarely, if ever, the case.
What you have to do is take the first step. Everything else may well be optional.