Misunderstanding Perfection

Perfection
is a feeling.

What is perfect
to one
is imperfect
to another.

What is perfect
one day
is not perfect
the next.

We can misunderstand perfection
if we focus solely
on clarifying the measurement
of perfection.

We can better understand perfection
by clarifying the tension
underlying the drive
for perfection.

Compassion without Acceptance

“I regret
not having hugged you last night.”
she said.

“Regret
is too strong an emotion.
I don’t want you
to feel it.”
responded her mother.

“But it’s what I feel,
why can’t you accept it?”
she asked
mildly protesting.

“I just don’t want you to feel that.”
responded her mother.

“But I feel it.
I feel it.
I feel regret.
It’s what I feel.”
she responded.

“I just want what’s best for you.
I want you to feel better.”
responded her mother.

“I just want you
to accept me.”
she responded.

After Love or Hate?

One
of the most common emotions
founders discover
within themselves
is vengefulness.

In the presence
of vengefulness
it’s sometimes worth asking
whether our time
is best spent
on what we hate
vs
what we love.

Because sometimes
we may only have enough time
to choose
between
supporting
who or what we love
vs
hurting
who or what we hate.

Except
the lack of time
isn’t always obvious
until we explore
the question.

In fact,
we may not even realize
that we are experiencing
vengefulness
until we realize empathy
with ourselves.

Dormant Potential

“I have to repress it.”
said the CEO.

“Why?” I asked.

“I’m afraid
I’m going to crumble,
if I let myself experience it.”
she responded.

The ‘it’
being unpleasant emotions.

Most people
have difficulty processing
unpleasant emotions.

It’s no wonder
positive thinking life hacks
such as gratitude journaling
has taken off.

Except,
they merely mask the symptoms,
and blinds us
to the valuable information
encoded in the unpleasant emotions.

When I was researching art,
it was remarkable to witness
how actors-in-rehearsal
were supported
by their director and scene partners
in decoding the information
encoded in unpleasant emotions.

I also witnessed
over and over again,
how the information,
when decoded,
inspired the actors
to unleash their potential
for a brilliant performance
that lay dormant until then.

This
is the kind of teamwork we need
in business.

In Praise of Survival

In startup circles,
there is wide-spread worship
of “growth.”

The lure of building a company worth $1 billion,
known as a “unicorn,”
looms large.

In contrast,
we often hear people demean survival,
with phrases like “mere survival is not enough,
we must thrive!”

The reality is that building a company
often feels like being in a war.

Not because we’re in a competition,
but because we get hurt,
—emotionally—
often to significant degrees.

And what I find interesting
is that when I help founders recover
from these emotional wounds,
I often see them naturally grow—
their minds,
their hearts,
and their relationships.

The kind of growth made possible
precisely because they got hurt.

Just as our muscles grow
by getting hurt
then recovering,
perhaps we can also grow,
by recovering.

By surviving.

By living.

By telling the God of death,
Not today.”

Option vs Choice

Options
need not
move us
to make
a choice.

For lunch,
we may have 5 options.
Yet, none of them
may move us
to make
a choice.

We can weigh the options
all we want,
but this may merely fuel
our inner conflict,
until we feel moved enough
to make
a choice.

Choices,
unlike options,
move us
to action.

Some choices
are made
begrudgingly.
Yet,
the kind I find fascinating
is the kind that arises
when we realize
empathy.

That moment,
when we’ve finally moved
from a state of dissonance—
of not empathizing—
to a state of resonance—
of empathizing.

That moment,
when what we once could not see
becomes surprisingly self-evident,
and oh so obvious
in hindsight,
making us go
“Oh, of course…!”
exclaiming at the possibility
that has just
unfolded.

p.s: My gratitude goes out to Dr. Paul Pangaro for the wonderful conversation that inspired this post.

The Journey of Three Emotions

When we, as founders—
especially those with humane intentions—
work to fertilize change in our organizations,
3 types of emotions often rise up
in ourselves:

  1. Overwhelm
  2. Anxiety (also Worry / Doubt / Concern / Fear)
  3. Frustration (or Anger)

When we don’t spend the time
to realize empathy with ourselves
in relation to these emotions,
these can easily develop into:

  1. Sense of Isolation
  2. Hopelessness
  3. Helplessness

Which, over time, can calcify as:

  1. Sense of Betrayal
  2. Shame
  3. Resentment (or Contempt)

Men, not Unlike Women, are Complex

In a workshop I lead,
a woman—a wife—
publicly shared
that she never realized
how complex
men were.

She’s always assumed
men
were simple.

She witnessed
that when a coach creates a space
in which men
can be brave enough
to expose their feelings
of fear and shame
the complexity gets articulated.

It’s difficult o articulate what we’ve yet to learn how,
especially when there is social risk.

It often feels easier
to hide
or to repress.

Many men live this way
their entire lives.

There’s significant misunderstanding
or misperception
between men & women.

Much well-intended,
but overly simplistic misinformation
as well.
(i.e. Men are from Mars,
Women are from Venus)

These may mask things in the short term,
but things can eventually erupt.