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An Unexpected Question


Hand with black nail polish holding a clear round ball reflecting a cityscape upside down. The background of the image is blurred, the reflected upside down city is well defined.

I was having a conversation with some colleagues about a year ago and we were talking about situations that frustrate us, make us angry, or have hurt us. This particular group has cultivated a space that is safe and magical. So we enter into these conversations with our whole beings, supporting one another in the individual and collective work that comes with acknowledging our deep hurts, scabs, and scars.


As we do in this group, we asked questions of each other, looking for ways to help free us up to move forward with less attachment, more perspective, and a greater sense of ease and confidence in what we were doing and how we were acting. One of the people in the group asked, “How might you feel differently if you had chosen to be in this situation?” The Zoom room got quiet and still. We paused because we hadn’t thought about our problems through that lens, and we knew wisdom when we saw it. We were assuming things were happening to us, that other people were acting in ways that were problematic, which in some small way had turned to a victim mentality.


This is an important distinction to be aware of in our lives. Sometimes we play the victim and don’t realize it. I believe that we make choices both by omission and commission. Even if we say, “Well I didn’t choose to be in this situation” doesn’t mean that we didn’t have a part in having it end up the way it did. If we’re in relationships, whether in business, with family, or with friends, then we are simultaneously part of the problem and the solution.


By asking this question, “How might I feel or approach this problem differently if I chose to be in this situation,” we give ourselves permission to let go of hurt feelings and move forward to finding a beneficial solution, increasing in wisdom by seeing from different perspectives.


Questions to ponder:

● In what areas of my life am I (potentially) abdicating or not accepting responsibility for a situation?

● How would my perspective change if I answered the question, “How might I approach this problem differently if I chose this?”

● What one or two steps can I take today to move the issue forward with greater confidence and/or less angst/worry/concern?


Stay curious friends!


Make sure you’re listening to season one of the Dream Big Authentic Leadership podcast, found on Apple, Google, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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