"Think of [leadership] self-improvement as play, not work."
One of the biggest reasons we don’t stretch beyond our current selves is that we are afraid to suffer a hit to our performance. A playful posture might help John, [the case study shared] feel less defensive about his old identity [as if] he’s just practicing his bad swing.
“people tend to flirt only with serious things — madness, disaster, other people.”
Play generates variety not consistency, it allows our “shadow,” as Carl Jung called the unexpressed facets of our nature, fuller expression. John might, for example, sign up for some new projects and extracurricular activities, each a setting in which he’s free to rehearse behaviors that deviate from what people have come to expect of him. He’s not being mercurial; he’s just experimenting.
Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips once said, “people tend to flirt only with serious things — madness, disaster, other people.” Flirting with your self is a serious endeavor because who we might become is not knowable or predictable at the outset. That’s why it’s as inherently dangerous as it is necessary for growth.
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- Int’l Coaching Week in SE Michigan is coming May 18-24, 2015. Reserve a group speed coaching session for your business leaders today.