It happened again. I don’t know if I couldn’t help it or if I had no interest in helping it. What did help however were the facial expressions that only communicated appreciation that I had done it. That I had taken over the meeting like a boss, didn’t play nice but was inclusive and respectful, asked the challenging questions, and made sure that we got stuff done in that meeting. We were done in a half an hour and there was only gratitude.
I had a similar experience the week prior. I took to the dry erase board in our conference room, got us organized, facilitated us hammering out the schedule for a training we were creating, happily provided the reality checks for those in the room who spring forth like Old Faithful with more ideas than time or tenacity to bring them to fruition, kept us in the hour we allotted for the meeting, and when our time concluded my colleagues provided a variety of thank yous.
It didn’t really feel like I ‘did” anything, except perhaps decide that I was not going to leave any more meetings where I felt robbed of my time because of someone else. There was no way I was walking back to my office or home for lunch with the opportunity to complain about my time being disrespected and no one really leading the meeting and effectively facilitating the meeting in a way that kept us to task, accomplished the goal of the meeting, and was inclusive of those there. I had decided that I was finished with hiding in my own shadow, or as my dear friend chided all of us women in a conversation a few weeks ago to “stop playing small.” That was all I really did. The rest, the asking the questions, restating, clearly communicating, pushing back even up against the powers that be, keeping us in or under the allotted time and junk was easy peasy. That’s part of the A.King package, and what’s in the A.King package, came out- unapologetically might I add.
My momma’s spin on the Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” is- What’s in you will come out of you. I should add that she usually where remind me and my siblings of this if we were being mean to one another, selfish, or critical. I took it as her way of encouraging us to take a moment and reflect on what was going on with us that was manifesting itself in mean, selfish, or critical behavior. My momma was pro reflection and encouraging us to find the connection between what our thoughts and feelings as they impacted our behavior before Ilyana Vanzant was fixing anybody’s life, Oprah was OWNing anything, Dr. Phil was tough loving it out with us, or Steve was suggesting we think like the fellas.
I hold fast to both the scripture, and my momma’s cliff notes version of it, knowing in those meetings what was in me, despite an environment what worked relentlessly overtly ad covertly to stifle it (me), was spilling out. My leadership spilled forth. My ability to clearly, respectfully, professionally, and passionately communicate overflowed. My commitment to being inclusive and asking questions or pushing back on decisions that were exclusive leaked from the left and the right. My genuine desire to empower people to use their voice, and use it from a place of thoughtful critical thinking splashed all across those four walls. Who I was came out. And it was liberating and impressive. It really was. It was that kind of liberation and impressiveness you feel when you get home and your multitasking skills go to the next level as you manage to kick your shoes off, unhook your bra, and take your hair down in under 10 seconds while still on your phone debriefing your day with one of your favorite folks in your life.
Here’s the deal, the most unlived life you can choose to live is the one where you develop arthritis from holding in what is in you or develop chronic shin splints from chasing after whatever was in you that spilled out. It’s miserable, painful, unfulfilling, and selfish. I didn’t need the thanksgiving from my colleagues after either meeting, but what it communicated to me was that they wanted and maybe needed what was in me. When we refuse to let our gifts, talents, abilities, and passions (as long as they don’t harm us or others) out- it’s selfish. I’m not negating painful experiences of rejection, invalidation, or abandonment that we may have experienced when we let ourselves bubble forth, I’m just saying it’s not an excuse to become a recluse. If anything it can serve as a springboard for us to do the work and experience the healing we need to get back out there and live from an authentic place, an abundant place, a liberated lively fulfilling place for ourselves and for others. Besides if you are going to have to be around whatever is in you spilling out of you, I don’t recommend fear, anxiety, bitterness, and doubt being what you end up chillaxing in or spewing on others.
Here’s my hope for those of you reading this. My hope is that you decide you are worthy enough as you are how you are, and that what is in you- your talents, intelligence, creativity, compassion, sincerity, etc. is worthy of springing forth. That you, right now, at your height, weight, current hair color, texture, and length, shape, employment status, education status, socioeconomic status, relationship status, parent status, etc. is host to some ideas and abilities that are unique to you and has the power to cultivate change, inspire others, and get stuff done. I’m praying that opportunities present themselves this week where you decide to let all of the giftedness of what’s in you come out of you. And if you get a moment leave a note in the comments below letting folks know how that went for you or send me an email. Be, do, LIVE well!