I see my reflection in the window. A reflection that’s all too clear in shiny new glass. Eyes haggard. A consequence of the turbulence that has swirled around me and through those closest to me in past weeks.
Turbulence, a state of confusion and disorganized change, has from my vantage in the eye of the storm, set off reactivity in the atmospheric system. I notice that in all three recent cases the reactivity started with a tendency towards controlling in the larger system. The controlling triggered complying in the smaller sub-systems of the whole. Complying is driven my limiting beliefs and old stories that say we must play nice, we must fit in, we must not rock-the-boat, if we are to be safe and worthy. The behaviours that tend to show up are pleasing, belonging, and passivity. If we allow our limiting beliefs to go unchallenged, we limit our ability to step fully into our creative leadership.
In the eye of the storm, I’ve been left standing wondering what response is needed from me in the moment. I’ve wondered how I have allowed this to happen and where I have been complicit.
And I have been complicit.
In each case I’ve seen signs of controlling and the potential for complying. I’ve signaled it, but only weakly, doubting myself, thinking that I’m making it up. I was passive.
It’s in this realization that I feel my old dragon stir from sleep. Dusty and sleepy eyed, unkempt with torn talons. My dragon has risen up to protect myself and my team. I want to burn my hot hacking breath into the systems that, “just don’t get it”.
I catch myself in my arrogance! It is me that is not “getting it” in these moments of fire. I am being reactive in my protecting.
What would be more useful in these moments of turmoil? To the systems I am a part, to my partners, to myself? How can I be more responsive rather than reactive? Where can I step into my creativity?
I settle my dragon. Breath in to courage and commitment to the system work I believe deeply in. Breath into compassion and collaboration with my partners. Breath into curiosity and creativity with systems I am a part.
My dragon wipes the sleep from her eyes. Amusing to me, as the root word for Dragon in ancient Greek was drakōn, which means ‘to see clearly’ or ‘that which sees’ and is related to drakos ‘eye’. My dragon has the ability to rather than blow hot air, to choose to see with great clarity and wisdom and reflect back to the system what she is noticing. She doesn’t need arrogance or to be superior, but simply to observe, notice and reveal the system to itself.
As I look out through my brand new sparkling windows and through new eyes, I feel more creative as a leader. I’m at the edge of change in my personal leadership. I am venturing into new territory.
As in old mariner maps, I note that at my leadership edge, “here be dragons”. And, I’m not scared. My dragon has a role to play.
It’s not to breath fire. It’s to see and reveal.