Where is the line between being humble and hogging the spotlight? Are your leadership boundaries in the right place for your growth and the growth of the people around you? When is it appropriate to step forward or step back? How do we create the rising tide that raises all ships?
We have been breaking through layer upon layer of mental and emotional roadblocks with the amazing Mike Agugliaro of CEOwarrior.com. In this final chapter we get to set an intention for what comes next. Be sure to check out the previous chapters in this story to get the whole picture: Warrior Strong, Taking Initiative, Conditioning, Facing Demons, Ingredients for Life, and Confronting Fear. Here you will see why all of that detail was necessary.
Where we left off…
Remember last time when I had just made it on to the stage at Profit Con, almost wiping out in the process? Well the story doesn’t end with me getting on stage. After all my thoughts about aversion to competition, Mike’s plan was to have a competition. Dozens of people got up on that stage, and each of us was supposed to strike our most powerful Warrior Strong pose. Then the audience would judge with applause who was rocking it best, and there could be only one. It was as if he had created this activity to push my boundaries as far as I could handle in that moment.
Then I found the next level.
The Path Not Chosen
For me, leadership is about serving others for a greater whole. Mike asked us to write down what Warrior Strong means to each of us. I wrote, “I am the rising tide that raises all ships.”
As I stood on that stage trying hard to look confident, stand tall, and smile, I realized how inauthentic it felt. My warrior pose wasn’t “me.” I didn’t feel like I was serving in my highest capacity in that moment.
What I really wanted to do was get down off that stage, take the hands of the closest audience members, and encourage them to get up there, too. How many people in that audience just needed someone who could also see the leader in them? Many of us have a limiting belief that we can’t all be leaders, and I want all of us to get past that.
With the sudden impulse to do something unexpected, all of my previous doubts resurfaced.
Where is the line between taking initiative and being an attention hog? How would Mike feel if I suddenly did something he didn’t plan for in the middle of his activity? When do we need to worry about upstaging other leaders?
As I stood there shaking with big questions in my head, doubt in my heart, and a smile on my face, the applause continued. I won, proving to myself that I could do it. Now I know, rather than just believe. Nonetheless, the victory felt hollow. I went back to my seat with more questions than when I got onto that stage. No one knew it but me. How can I be the rising tide when I clearly have no clue what I’m doing?
I called Mike to ask him the questions that had been in my mind since stepping off that stage a couple months ago.
Mike reminded me that attention hogs don’t have healthy boundaries. What is the intention? Am I there to serve others or be served? If I am focused on helping others, then there won’t be a problem. We create the rising tide with our intentions and by being real and authentic in each moment.
He then went on to tell me that my idea of “Humble” probably goes back to a time in my life that I were told something by someone else and a belief was formed. Each of us feels differently, with judgments coming from different experiences, so we will judge ourselves and others differently. What is ego for each of us? Is it confidence? Anger?
In the end, the line of what is “appropriate” is inside each of us, and that isn’t for anyone else to decide. Are you living? Are you free to act however you want without worrying about what others think? Mike used the example that people are often taken off guard by cussing. Do words create power over them? The words have power if we let them, and that is a choice that each of us makes with our beliefs.
If I had done what I had the impulse to do in that moment, how would Mike have felt? What would he have done?
Mike said that he didn’t know, because it didn’t happen.
He was able to tell me that he’s generally pretty hard to knock of balance, and that he would have evaluated the situation at the time and rolled with it in some way. Exactly how he would have felt and how the situation could have played out, we will never know. That opportunity is gone because I chose not to act on it.
My mind was blown. I was expecting some sort of yes or no answer. Was it appropriate or not? What I found instead was an entire quantum reality of unknown possibilities that will never be. Not only did I not act on my intuition in that moment, being untrue to myself, in the process I cheated Mike and everyone else in that room out of the experience that only I could have offered them. I felt the rising tide swell within me, and I second guessed it. None of us will ever know what might have been.
Mike then redefined fear for me forever, “Fear is predicting a future that never happened.”
I was so afraid of the unknown of what might have been that I froze and could not act on it. Mike’s question for me was “Why? What is the moment in your childhood when that limiting belief was formed?”
The Defining Moment
He didn’t just want me to ponder if for myself. This was not a rhetorical question. Mike wanted an answer, and I found it for him.
Suddenly in my mind I was on the stage at Profit Con. At the same time, I was five years old on a stage at a dance recital. Somehow I thought it would be a good idea to help the girl next to me as she struggled with the pose. Everyone laughed, and I was humiliated. I was sure they all thought that I was being a bossy know-it-all, and that I had not only embarrassed myself but also ruined the recital for the rest of the class. It was then that I learned to avoid embarrassment like the plague and not to take action unless I was confident in the outcome.
What was the audience at the Olympics thinking when Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin stopped to help each other? It might not work out that way every time, but it’s worth aspiring to.
To still remember that experience so clearly from so long ago means that there are some strong emotions tied to it. Mike suggested that I think about going back in time to change the emotions present from weird and embarrassing to amazing and brave. If my primary concern was to serve someone else, what’s the problem?
“How much more free and successful would everyone in the world be if we could get past these blocks?”
What is Selfish?
Has there ever been a time that you wanted to do something and didn’t because you were afraid of being selfish? Guess what: Not doing so was the selfish act. Now is your time. Today is your day. Every day.
It’s time to get rid of our ideas of what is “appropriate.” The world has become fake, and we keep it fake by not being our authentic selves with every opportunity. I faked my way through winning an applause contest, and no one will ever know the full potential of what could have been. I don’t get that opportunity back, but hopefully I will recognize the next time I feel the rising tide.
What leverage can we use on ourselves to make sure we don’t let those opportunities pass us by? Mike says that clarity leads to alignment, which leads to accountability. What are you willing to wager against your follow through? Your fancy motorcycle? How about your home or your family? What aren’t you willing to lose?
For me, I’m all in. I have been for a long time, and I think that’s the main reason why I have come as far as I have as fast as I have. The risks I take are all through love and higher purpose. Sometimes the return on my investment is a valuable lesson, but there is always a good return.
The next level
There is always a next level. We break through layer after layer of amazing lessons in this life. Being Warrior Strong is an ongoing journey, and I am working on no longer needing to shake like a leaf when I speak in front of groups. That starts by just continuing to do it, and busting through as many blocks as I can find.
Fear is predicting a future that never happened.
At Profit Con we were supposed to write one wish that started with “I want.” The first thing to enter my mind was, “I want to be the rising tide that raises all ships.”
I was afraid that everyone would think that was pretentious. Certainly they would think I was competing or not being humble. I wrote it down anyway. When I realized we were supposed to turn the papers in so that others could grant our wishes, I nearly tore up my paper. I forced myself to turn it in anyway.
When Debbie Horovich granted my wish, she told me that she saw the authentic intention with which it was written. She told me that I have the potential to be “the Oprah of the accounting world.”
The Rising Tide
The fear I felt at hearing Debbie’s words was not over a prediction of a future where I reach that potential. It was because I knew that her words were true. That potential for extreme greatness is in each of us. I do have that potential, and that the only thing holding me back is me. If there is a role model for warrior women helping others through clear intention and intuition, it is Oprah Winfrey. I suddenly realized the full potential of what I may someday be called to be. My fear became a prediction of every path except for that one.
I have found and broken through several more blocks. What if I grow and change too much or too fast? Will I leave behind people I don’t want to lose? What if they don’t like the new “bigger” me as I grow? Will people think I’m crazy? What if I AM Crazy?!?
I asked them. They’re on board, and we’re doing this together. Maybe I’m crazy, and maybe that’s exactly what the world needs from me. I can be crazy and Warrior Strong.
Since then I have had two other people relate me to Oprah, completely independently. Each time it gets a little easier to swallow. I find the blocks when and where I can, and I find the fastest way through.
Thanks to Mike Agugliaro, I have clarity and alignment on my path to leadership, and I feel like I know how to be Warrior Strong. Now the journey is holding myself accountable, every moment of every day. Thanks to you, I didn’t have to make this journey alone.
Wager it all. Now is our time. Today is our day. We are the rising tide that raises all ships.
What does Warrior Strong mean for you? How about Warrior Unstoppable? What is your next level? If you don’t already know, please be sure to check out CEOwarrior.com and all of Mike’s great resources for helping us break through to our next level.