You don’t really who I am although I will look familiar, I know you, actually better than you know yourself. I’ve wanted to write this for a while now as I’ve been meaning to connect with you and offer some words of support, some words about pain and suffering and some of what you read might challenge you to your core.
Writing this isn’t as easy as I had imagined it would be as I’m considering how you might interpret this, react to this and respond to everything I write in this letter.
What I have learnt over the last 12 months is that it is nearly impossible teaching anyone who thinks they already know what they need to learn. You helped me learn that. You showed me the impossible is possible.
I know and understand that your desire and passion for wanting to see change happen can seem unrivalled compared to some of our colleagues and I applaud you for that. You are well respected and liked by your peers and you are always up to date with the latest and newest things and always appear knowledgeable about change and changes elsewhere. It has taken time and effort but you have justifiably earnt the position you have. That space inside you though that feels empty won’t go away on your current path. It is a calling for something profoundly different.
Making change happen in organisations is a complex affair and can be incredibly frustrating especially when other people don’t get or understand what you are doing or trying to achieve. I know you wished people would simply think the way you do! But I’m here to say you are one who needs to change the way you think!
I’m not suggesting that what you do is wrong or that change in some form doesn’t happen as a result of what you do. However, how do you understand the consequences of the approaches you have taken and continue to take? Are you aware of your blind spots? Are you even capable of seeing them? Are you aware, particularly around whether you can actually see the change you envisaged or are you blinded or suppressing the truth – my truth was – I was contributing to the problem I was trying to fix? I know that you are part of the problem you are trying to solve!
I found it personally difficult as I thought I knew what I needed to know – BUT I have spent the last 12 months unlearning nearly 100% of what I knew and understood. That nearly broke me, it pushed me to the edge of my emotional resilience, I cried (often), I felt lost, insecure and often thought my time was up and I should leave my job, but deep down there was a spark that refused to die. In those moments I found myself amongst the best people I could have ever hoped to have around me to support me, challenge me, help me to understand a new perspective. A new team, friends, colleagues and fellow companions on a journey of discovery. You will meet these people soon – cherish them.
I used to think and believe that ‘starting many fires’ and constructively disrupting the status quo from the edges as a ‘rebel’ was the only way change would and could happen. In fact I would go as far as to say it is how I positioned myself and my role for a number of years, I even went on training courses advocating this was the only way change could happen – I know you deeply believe this to be true too, but you will unlearn this and find the truth. I can’t tell you what that is as you need to learn this for yourself and when you do I will be here for you.
After some reflection and searching I can draw upon the experience I have through a different lens and that tells me (if I truly listen) I was misguided, misinformed and lacking the self-awareness to truly understand how change happens, real sustainable change and my realistic chances of affecting change. Don’t let the hype that surrounds you blind you to the truth and your inner truth.
Why do you do want you do? Are you really clear on your purpose? Are you sighted on your defacto purpose playing out for others to see and feel as the consequences of the actions you take ripple outwards working against the very thing you hope to achieve?
How aware are you of the influence and power you have to make a sustainable change? You should revisit this dynamic once you have understood the answer to why there is a disconnect between your external influence and internal influence!
I’m not for one moment suggesting you give up, throw in the towel or walk away. Just trust when I say to you that you will need to pause, take stock, reassess and reframe everything.
It gets better, in fact, I can tell you I’ve never been happier in my role, in my life and it starts when you let go. The clarity emerges but allows yourself to lean into the uncertainty, the darkness and the space between who you are now and who you can be.
We may not agree on what is written on this page, but understanding how you feel, how you think and why you do what you do is important to me.
When you are ready, I will be here, waiting – I will be ready to hold your hand, stand beside you and walk with you into your future.