I recite this quotation to patients and loved ones almost once a week. Whenever I hear in someone’s speaking that they are not fully expressing themselves. Whenever I hear that because of a fear they have shied away from showing their true nature. Whenever I hear the pain and anguish that comes as a result of NOT being their fullest selves. Whenever this happens I read this to them, with love and with fierceness, because I mean it.
On Tuesday nights, the Third Space Wellness team has a standing business meeting. Each week at 7:30 p.m. we come together to run an agenda of hot topics for the week, strategic planning for the future, to fulfill on our vision for this center and of course, to make each other laugh.
Sometimes these meetings can last for 3 hours, or even more. Sometimes it’s the only time of the week that all 3 of us are in the same place at the same time, intentionally discussing our plans and our activities – taking the necessary decisions.
3 hours can be a long time… sometimes we become delirious. The other night, for example – picture 3 serious business ladies on Google Hangout (occasionally it’s not an in-person meeting) when suddenly a cartoon pirate hat appears on one of your partner’s heads (Sam), and a mustache to go with it! Here is a picture of us in the hilarity that ensued. Gotta love the effects on Google Hangout!
I could feel the adrenaline pumping wildly through my back, and my veins – I had those adrenaline shakes in my hands and belly. My chest was tight, and my voice quivery. I kept rubbing my head. I’ve been feeling stuck about a few things, and I was having a difficult time articulating this clearly this to my partners.
Why trouble articulating myself? See, I have this thing about being nice.
It’s so pervasive – as in – I am so practiced at being worried about coming off as nice, that sometimes I am more committed to being kind than I am to being clear. In earlier years I’ve received feedback from some that I can be overbearing, self-righteous, or can come off as a nasty word that starts with a “b” and ends with a “y.” So, at some point in time I decided to become insecure about it, and began worrying about being nicer more than being comfortable in myself.
Now, why am I sharing this? We want to share our stories with you about how Third Space Wellness is coming to be. We will tell you about how we each met, how this idea took shape, how we are moving from the idea stage into action, how we work together…and more.
Today is the day we tell you about what happens when good team members help you remember to be yourself. We hope it catches on.
It was hour 3.5 of our meeting when this occurred. Hours into my fumbling thoughts, concerns, and worries of which I yanked and dragged Joy and Sam through all of them, we were finally on our last item…payroll. We’ve opened a new location, and have not yet had to process any payroll. I wanted to determine how we wanted to proceed, and I had some ideas. So I asked, “how do we want to do this?”
That was when it happened. After the rigmarole of an entire night, Joy in her brilliance replied with a statement along these lines, “Y’know Rachel, if you have an idea of how you want it to look – you don’t have to ask us and put it out there for a discussion. You could just tell us that you have an idea, a plan for the idea and that you want to move forward with it.”
She got me.
I realized, in my efforts to be kind, nice, inclusive, etc. I had also created all kinds of unnecessary conversation and questions, and suffering. Here I am on adrenaline overload and I am dragging my colleagues through the muddled niceties that are just slowing everything down.
I was delighted for the reminder, “Thank you. I am so worried about being nice and including everyone…I didn’t want to be bossy, bull you over or have you feel like I made some unilateral decision about something.”
And then Sam said, “You know us, we’re pretty vocal. We will speak-up if we disagree.” Joy chimed in with the rest – a “Yes.” And a kind reminder that she thought I was brilliant and to just be myself, ideas and all.
I am ever so deeply grateful for the permission they offered for me to show up without all of the BS, and the permission that was inherently already available to them to respond freely to me.
As I attempted to fall asleep afterward (attempted, as in I was too excited to sleep and came back downstairs to write this blog), Marianne Williamson’s message floated through my consciousness. My playing small does not serve. In fact, in this case, my playing small hinders not only the process, but my wellbeing and everyone around me too. So the words that I most often give away were given right back to me by my two beloved colleagues.
How lucky am I?
Who in your life gives you these gentle and loving reminders? Are you playing small? Are you being your best, most true and vibrant self? We’d love to hear your stories.