"What if you showed up to every conversation as simply and fully Matt?" my coach asked me.
After a long pause, I responded, "Yeah...I think that might feel good. Something about it also feels really scary."
"Well, there you go," he said, smiling, "Now we are onto something!"
I was part way into the sale process of my last company. This was not the first time my coach and I had talked about bringing my real self to my leadership style; we had worked on it for years. But the setting was new, and in the change of setting was a new opportunity to practice.
I was drained, overwhelmed, and exhausted. We had four different parties on three continents exploring acquiring our company, and I was in nearly every conversation from 7 AM to midnight.
I was fearful of fucking it up.
I was sleep-deprived.
I was fed up with the endless stressful yet dull diligence sessions and lawyer huddles.
My coach, looking back, was inviting me to move out of the fear. He was artfully moving the target away from my perception of whatever perfect might be and instead placing it squarely on whatever showing up as authentically Matt might be. He trusted that showing up as fully Matt would be more than enough. Looking back, while I found it hard to believe at the time, he was right.
He also invited me to find a purpose beyond negotiation and diligence in those conversations: connection. I could serve my role and negotiate the sale while also bringing curiosity for the humans working opposite me on the deal. In fact, I came to see I could be more successful in my work if I brought my heart into it as well as my head.
That was almost five years ago. I would like to tell you the days of forgetting that a day well-lived is as much about the "how I show up" as the "what I'm doing" are behind me, but for me it is a practice.
Just this morning, I was doing a Peloton class when the instructor shared in the live class that her aim was not a perfect class but a class that was really Katie. In witnessing her expression of this inention, I felt grounded in my intention in my day to bring the real Matt.
Wherever you find yourself in your own life and work today, how might you bring the full you?
How might it serve you to let go of perfect and head toward a new target of doing the work your way?
Who in your life today might care less about what you do for them and more about how you are with them?
The world needs more people living fully alive as their true selves; and there is no need to wait. You can begin today and practice along with Katie and me.
Sending a big hug from my couch in Los Angeles this morning!
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