Who do you want to be when things go sideways?


A week or two ago, during a newspaper-inspired conversation about the coming election, Theresa asked, “What are we going to do it if it doesn’t go the way we want?”

Admittedly, I gave her a pat rah-rah of an answer, a somebody’s-got-to-keep-doing-the-work kind of thing. Her question worked on me throughout the day, though, revealing its importance.

See, a number of years ago – a couple of decades ago – in the wake of a near fatal attack, I considered buying a gun for protection. After a year of weekly trips to a shooting range to practice, I decided it was a no go for me. It wasn’t a soft no, either. It was a from-the-depths-of-my-guts, definitive, rarely so certain of anything NO.

And yet in the last weeks, I noticed a thought that became words spoken to Theresa, considering again this idea of weaponized self-defense. Then I really heard the thought, really felt the suggestion to Theresa, and I wondered, “Who is this person within me?”

Since the 2016 election, I’ve felt like part of my job in world change, in this Tikkun Olam, has been to actively avoid becoming what I oppose and encourage others toward the same. I’ve chastised and challenged those who speak hateful or violent words about our social-political opposition; I’ve tried to remember and remind that the only Them is those we create through rigidly and narrowly parsed lines.

I’ve tried to use moments of feeling reactive as opportunities to strengthen my ability to bring forth my best self. Or at least, the best version I can reach in the moment. Being kind and patient and compassionate is easy when things are going my way; the opportunity to grow those qualities in myself are born on the backs of those I all too easily consider the opposition.

Back to Theresa’s question: “What will we do if it doesn’t go the way we want?”

Or, translated into coaching language, “Who do we want to be, regardless of what happens?”

It’s a question I’ve been putting some real energy into answering and will continue to in coming weeks.

I can tell you that I’m still the person who rejects firearms as a means of personal protection. I endeavor to be a person who sees people before politics; who remembers the former infant that the person I’m judging once was; who envisions the scared child that still lives within each of us. I fail at being this person constantly, but I endeavor to be her.

I invite you to put some real energy into Theresa’s question, too. In fact, I encourage you to ask those you love, to stir conversations with those you trust, to deepen your understanding of yourself and others in your world.

We have only the power of our own single vote, and the ability to encourage others to cast theirs, in controlling the outcome of the coming election. We have endless power, though, to practice controlling our internal landscape, and behave from there with as much wisdom as possible.

Who do you want to be, friend? What nurturing does that person need to be as strong and available as possible in the coming weeks?

I’ll be hosting a few free sessions for community to come together and discuss these important questions. If you’d like to join in, find info through the weekly emails I send to The Bigger Badder Crew, or email me directly. If you’d like some individual support on seeing that best you more clearly, coaching is a powerful mirror and tool of clarity.