A weekend in the Work focussed on professional life and leadership.
I was very excited to finally offer this full weekend in Edmonton with the focus on professional ‘work’, as the application of The Work to this important part of life is a real passion for me. It has, and continues to be, a core practice for me in supporting learning and stepping forward in my own professional life. I regularly witness profound and powerful shifts for my professional coaching clients when we apply this Work to places they are stuck – where they are having difficulty working with a particular person, or particularly where they are in patterns that are causing stress and overwhelm, or fear is holding them back from that next level of their own work in the world (whatever that is – a promotion, a new or bigger project, a larger stage, a new job or a new way of doing things…)
It is very powerful for me to witness what unfolds for people (and myself) when we move out of our own way (that would be the ‘way’ of our limited thinking and fears) and allow our strength and gifts to really flow. Bold projects get launched and led with confidence; new ways of doing things become visible and are manifested; books get written and published; films get finished; jobs interviews flow with clarity and authenticity; ‘disasters’ get survived and can flow into valuable learning and ‘what is next..’; teams work together with more clarity; and sometimes whole systems can shift because someone in leadership deeply questioned their own fears and is able to move and lead with grace and clarity.
"Getting out of your own way" is a great idea in theory – but without a specific practice to open space and access our talents and intelligence in those stuck areas of limiting beliefs and fear – it often doesn’t happen, and work life becomes a chore, or place to burn out, or wait for retirement, or is that thing that we always wanted to do that never quite happened.
I remember sitting in an Art of Hosting Intergenerational Conversations that Matter Module at the Authentic Leadership in Action residential in Halifax – and a colleague Thomas Arthur spoke powerfully to this group of emerging leaders – “If you have a gift, offer it now! There is no time to lose. The world needs your work.” That heartfelt appeal has stuck with me, and been a source of inspiration to me to do the Work I need to do to clear the space to offer what I can to the world. And it has been a sweet motivation to me to offer this powerful inquiry tool that helps people actually do that with more clarity and courage.
I have offered this work for many years as one part of leadership retreats and Art of Hosting workshops, as well as in my private coaching practice, and it was powerful and exciting to have a whole weekend to focus in this area.
What seemed particularly valuable about having the full weekend was having the time to really dive into some of those stuck places, and to approach them from the different angles of the exercises and inquiry. Participants commented that they were able to more clearly see into patterns that had them stuck, sometimes for decades, and experience shift and see a path forward into new possibility.
We had the time to look at interpersonal stuck places (working with those ‘difficult’ people); to dive into places of fear holding us back from our next level of work in the world, and to revisit past challenges. We looked at our patterns of approval seeking that can throw us out of our integrity in our work, and keep us small, and the many core beliefs that attached to and unquestioned, can stifle creativity and good, enjoyable and collaborative work.
Thanks much to Mary Johnson of Bridgeworks Consulting in Edmonton who invited me, and organized this event. That ground work is such an important part of making things happen. And to the amazing group of people that attended and participated so fully.
I am very much looking forward to offering this workshop again, perhaps in Vancouver in the spring of 2013 and elsewhere as invited. If you are interested to have this offering in your community, contact me and we can explore possibility together.
I will also be offering a Telecourse in “The Work @ work – Getting out of your own way” with the professional/work life focus in the fall on WebEX. More info on that on my website soon, and if you would like to be on the wait list for that class feel free to email me. I am currently looking at Tuesday afternoons Pacific Time (evenings Central, Eastern and Atlantic Time) and will consider adding an additional class at another time if there is interest.
Looking forward to the adventure.