What happens when you say that thing you always wanted to? I try to ask myself before I respond under pressure, “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” Most of the time what I am about to say, when my feathers get ruffled, is not any of these 3 things. But this past week I was the lunch speaker for the National Governor’s Association meeting and I admit, I realized my answer was yes to all three of these questions, so I said something. And saying it out loud, worked.
Picture this… I’m onstage – not your average NGA meeting speaker. Hair spiked, shoes reflective. I look out onto a sea of suits and ties. Mostly red ties with blue suits. That was my experience last weekend speaking to the corporate fellows, chiefs of staff, former governors, and members of the Canadian Parliament at the National Governor’s Association meeting in DC. I am showing them how to use the Snapshot of the Big Picture drawing process which helps you turn your vision into reality.
I’m just at the part of my presentation where I suggest to people to use the left side of their vision to reality template to examine where they are in their career or in their life right now. Directly in front of me is a table of very supportive corporate fellows whom I have spent a lovely lunch talking with. Over to my right, similar fare. But to my left I can see a group starting to shift uncomfortably in their chairs.
A moment later, they start to elbow each other, and a few guffaws erupt as someone shows the others a picture they have drawn. In the past, I might have been intimidated by this sea to shining sea of representatives, so much so that I would not speak my mind, for fear of offending them. They might not “like” me after that. ;-0 Today I open my mouth and before I know it I am saying, “While you might not feel that you need to reflect on your current state, because things are going well, there are others at your table who may need this reflective experience. I ask you to please let them have their own space so that they can examine their current state.” Suddenly you could hear a pin drop and everyone was heads down, focused on their drawings. A little parental of a comment, perhaps, but it definitely worked.
Afterwards I got to see some of those vision maps from that very table and they were excited about the process and ready to get busy on their vision.(The director of the program, Kevin Silard, was delighted with the results and the feedback from the participants).
Sometimes you just have to say that hard thing in a gentle way to shift the room. It was necessary. It was true. I was as kind as I could be under the circumstances and the pressure.
All change takes courage and it starts with you. I know you have things you want to say as well. If you want to make change in your life, you have to say those things that are hard to say – outloud. When you do, you may be surprised at how much better you feel. More present, more alive. It’s your life. Live it out loud. Live it now.