Yesterday I wrote a post that I subsequently took down. The topic was managing fear through change, whether organizationally or personally. The intent was to highlight the constancy of change and how our response to this inevitability can profoundly shape the future. I noted how when we respond with fear or stubborn resistance to the status quo, we risk staying stuck in the past and often find ourselves woefully unprepared to manage change; when we become agile learners and leaders aligned to our core values, we are more fluidly able to act with centered measure. The post also included an honest account of my own professional observations on the subject of fear, though the anecdotal story I chose to focus on did not cast a favorable light.
Sometimes we learn important lessons from our own or others’ challenges. We watch as organizations struggle and/or individuals fail, and we take copious notes, hoping to learn a better way. Sometimes the struggles and failures are our own. From my perspective, they are simply opportunities for growth, though such opportunities for growth are rarely pain- or consequence-free. How we portray these struggles to others, then, requires a measured dose of balance and respect. After all, there is power in the word, and our words, as I have often written, have the power to build up, break down, and influence others.
A heady dose of humility reminds me that the path to peace, learning, and bridge building begins with ourselves. It begins with a deep and honest look at the state of our own hearts. It begins with the willing acknowledgment that our perspective is only a singular dimension of the truth, though not necessarily the experience of others. Humility is also an important reminder that when we choose to view the experience of life through the singular lens of our ego, our thoughts and words risk turning into judgment, and judgment always alienates.
How has the lens through which you experience life shaped your view of the truth? How does your focus change when viewed through the ego vs. the heart? Do you learn best from observing what doesn’t work, or from observing what does? How do you find balance between the two? When the ego rises up and threatens to overtake your judgment, what role does humility play in bringing you back to center?