Being Strong

At our first session,
she would habitually use the word “strong”
to refer to herself.

“To be strong,”
she said,
“I should
Stop worrying and,
instead,
Focus on problem solving.
I should
Stop blaming my employees and,
instead,
Blame myself,
the CEO.”

On the surface,
these sounded wonderful,
virtuous, even.

But after a month
of realizing empathy with herself,
she discovered
that by “strong”
all she meant
was “numb to pain & discomfort.”

There’s a world of difference
between following advice
and realizing for one’s self
by leading through a journey of innovation.

A journey
through which we learn new
or unexpected choices.

Without the journey,
“stop worrying,”
can merely mean “repress stress & anxiety.”

“Focus on problem solving,”
can merely mean “focus on eliminating fear & concern.”

“Blame myself,”
can merely mean “lead with unconscious shame.”

To frame this phenomena
as someone’s “fault”
prevents a deeper exploration.

More valuable
would be to recognize what happens naturally
when we lack
a sense of choice
or proper support.

Misunderstanding How Lobsters Grow

There’s a meme on how lobsters grow
by shedding their rigid shell and producing a new one.

It points out that before it can grow,
a lobster feels stress against their shell.

Thus, the moral of the story is:
1) Treating stress as a problem to be solved is to prevent growth.
2) Stress can be a sign of growth.

What it skims through, though,
is how lobsters need a rock
to protect itself from predators
before it can shed its shell.

So if our client, employee, boss, or partner
seems to be unwilling to let go of their shell,
or to grow & innovate,
the question isn’t “Why are they being so rigid?!”
It’s “Do we have a rock in place?”

Let me know if you’re willing to be a rock.