I listened to a great podcast conversation yesterday between Brené Brown and Scott Sonenshein about his new book Stretch. I did my “Lessons at Sunrise” about it this morning because it really stuck with me.
I’m stretchy by nature—I always have been. I had years of “forced” stretchiness based on our financial situation and my burning desire to be an actor. I came to my day job with an utterly stretchy mindset, and it has served the organization incredibly well while also propelling my own growth as a leader. I’m stretchy in my relationships, my work ethic, my passions and my expectations of myself.
But I also know that I have a fair dose of chasey in me, too. I can look with envy to someone else’s success, someone else’s opportunities, someone else’s seemingly unearned good fortune and resent that they have what I so desperately want and don’t yet have. I’m chasing the success of others.
One of the most interesting points in the conversation is the idea that the more comfortable you get, the less stretchy you are required to be. It’s harder to maintain scrappy and resilient when things get easier. I can definitely sense that in me. I had a donor ask me once, “What is enough? If I give you more, you’ll just want even more.”
That’s certainly true in my professional life—I always want more resources, more recognition, more opportunities, more…
And yet, as chasey as I can be, I am at my core a highly stretchy person. I’m happiest when I’m just out of my comfort zone. My very favorite thing to do is imagine and articulate a new idea, dream, vision—both personally and professionally. I’ve really had to teach myself to not just leap from new, fun idea to new, fun idea but to foster and grow ideas, dreams and visions into reality. And we’ve been quite successful with that approach in my day job and at home, too.
I’m acutely aware that this whole writing retreat has been a time of immense stretchiness. I’ve felt pushed to and beyond my creative edge many times in these two weeks, and I am leaving here with a much clearer sense of what I want next in my life.
But I’m trapped in a chasey place of envy and comparison that others are getting more recognition, are growing their reader- and viewership faster, are getting paid to present, have more little floating thumbs ups and hearts on their livestreams, are making significant strides towards their goals—goals which are similar in many ways to mine: speaking, writing, podcasting, videos, retreats, tours…
So I don’t know quite what to do. As is so often the case, I feel like my brain is light years ahead of not only my ability to implement the ideas that live there, but it’s way ahead of my ability to scale this work to get to a meaningful place where others might actually begin to take notice.
Dr Marry and I discussed the idea of compounding this morning on “Daily Dose of Dr Marry & DD.” I read an article that explained Warren Buffet’s first encounter with compound interest. We applied that principle to getting sober.
I really love this idea as it relates to personal growth of any kind. I’m working hard to compound my past and current successes to beget even more future success, but patience is not among my finest virtues.
To transition to being an actual Personal Systems Disruptor, I need an audience that finds value [and will invest!] in some aspect of the content I’m creating so I can see if it has sustainable financial legs. Because as much as I enjoyed many aspects of being stretchy while living in income-based housing, no part of me wants to go back to being financially insecure again. I’ll happily apply my stretchy nature to some other aspect of my life, thank you very much!
Sometimes I wish life were more binary. I want to be stretchy. Period. I don’t want to be stretchy and chasey, although truthfully, being chasey sometimes drives me to figure things out just to alleviate my envy. But it’s hard to live simultaneously with those two qualities because the chasey feels like it is drowning the stretchy, and I know that the stretchy just needs more time.
But time, that illusive quality, is the one thing we can’t manage or bring back. The clock is ticking as I bring stretchy to the table and ask (I’m trying not to demand) it to not only overrule chasey but to actually lead to something that provides financial bounty for me.
I noted in “Lessons at Sunrise” that the sun hadn’t risen. My friend Sandy wrote pragmatically, “There is a sunrise. We just can’t see it.”
She’s not incorrect. It did get light out; it just wasn’t beautiful in its dawning like I’ve become accustomed to. I guess that’s the lesson in all of this angsty, stretchy-chasey, impatient turmoil: Change is happening (and likely exactly as it’s supposed to); it’s just not happening in a way that I want it to, and it’s certainly not happening at the pace or beauty with which I desire it.
Ugh, I don’t care for pragmatism!
Read Day XIV: tempus fugit, part II