Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

One step towards our visionI’m cleaning our guest room. I dread it. The task seems overwhelming. The room is filled with little rattletraps and the desk hasn’t been cleaned for more than five years. It just collected stuff upon stuff, dust upon dust.

I decide to clean for an hour, then stop. I don’t have to catch up with the cleaning arrears all at once. I can do it one bit at a time.

I think of Peter Senge’s ‘The Fifth Discipline‘. He writes about the emotional overwhelm we feel, when the difference between our perceived reality and our aspired vision seems too big. We don’t trust that we will ever be able to reach our dream, and to avoid the pain of this unfulfillable vision, we give up on what we truly want. We resign to what we think will never change: an unsatisfying marriage, overweight, financial scarcity, low self-worth, a simmering conflict. We pretend we accept our situation, so we don’t need to face up to the pain of not having what we want, and fearing we will never get it.

I have been in that place of stuckness more than once. And I have been in the place of holding on to my dream, ferociously trying to find ways to make it work, even in the face of discouragement and disbelief. Peter Senge calls that creative tension. It generates the energy to move forward.

I have found that I am more energized to take a step, when I realize I don’t need to get to the top in one jump. You know ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.’

When I am brutally honest about my current situation ànd passionate about my dream, I can invite my future self to tell me how she got there, and then take that one step. And then, maybe, rest a little. Celebrating the commitment it took to take that one step. Maybe learning if it didn’t get me closer to my vision.

You don’t need to get from toddler class to the PhD program in one year. It is fine if you start with the alphabet and 1+1=2. You can take your time to cycle through all the classes. That doesn’t make you stupid, slow or bad at it. It makes you a champion of personal mastery and a hero of holding on to your dream.

To my fellow participants in the Mediate Your Life Intensive who feel overwhelmed: hang in there and focus on the one skill you can practice. That is your first step to your aspiration of mediating your life. And one step is all you can take in this moment. That is enough.

May we enjoy being on a journey!


You need help to figure out your next step? Contact me 512-589-0482. I would be honored to help.

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