I turned the corner onto the familiar well-trodden path, the fields either side obscured by the tall hedge grow. Although this time it was different. To my delight, the fields were visible. The owners of the field had pruned the hedge grow. I offered a silent ‘thank you’ and was grateful for the view in front and around me. Recently mowed fields, an orchard, tall trees in the distance and a cloud populated sky. I began to enjoy the view and seeing Charlie, our dog, bound along the path in front. Having this clarity of view, provided me with a sense of calm and enjoyment, knowing I was heading in the right direction and enjoying the journey as I went.
Then suddenly I noticed them. I began to feel anxious. On the path in front lay the remnants of the hedge grow. Twigs and small branches with thorns peeping out to poke him! I stopped to remove the small branch in front of me and my fear began to dissipate a little. Then as I looked ahead, I noticed the path was dotted with similar twigs. At the same time, I saw that Charlie was gingerly making his way along the path. He seemed oblivious to the potential danger of a thorn waiting to spear his paw. Or was he? I thought about it for a moment. I wondered whether he had noticed these unkind twigs lurking on the path and had chosen to walk around them. I continued to think and concluded that he had made the choice to walk carefully around them, rather than allowing them to prevent him from walking on.
As I walked, I reflected. As I reflected I was reminded of meeting Stuart (his name is changed for confidentiality) a couple of months ago.
Stuart asked me to help him think about growing his business. As he began talking, I listened. Stuart wanted to see the path clearly laying ahead of him. And yet, there were a number of thorns laying at his feet. With my attention and questions, he began to uncover what was getting in the way. A number of assumptions (thorns) that made the path ahead less clear. Having elicited these assumptions, I encouraged him to challenge them. He realised that all of them were in fact untrue. At that moment Stuart made a choice. He discovered a more liberating assumption and with that in mind, his mind-set shifted. He connected to why he wanted to grow his business – so that he could provide for his family and be the father he wanted to be for his 20-month year old daughter.
I met up with Stuart again this week and he shared with me that since we met, he is in conversation with two business owners who are interested in selling their business to him. Stuart is excited and feels on track for where he wants to be and the difference he can make not only for his family but also the clients he serves.
Stuart’s story helps us to recognise that, as leaders seeking clarity, we often need to uncover what is getting in the way. Once we identify what is in the way, we then have the choice. The choice of how we deal with the obstacles. We can walk around them, as Charlie did, or we can challenge them. When we challenge them, as Stuart did, we are able to connect with our deeper selves. Connecting with why we are doing what we do. Connecting with why it is important for us. Connecting with our impact on others.
If you would like to gain more clarity on what is important for you and to find the path ahead, please contact me for an initial clarity coaching call.