“With you I look deeper into myself than I usually do!” I heard this twice yesterday from two different people that I a guiding through some leadership development. I probed a little when I heard this, as I do. Was this evaluative comment spoken in gratitude or in some form of frustration? The answer didn’t surprise me as this is a conversation that repeats itself in these sessions.
“I am grateful because I am digging deeply into myself for what I actually know…that I didn’t know I knew”
“If this knowledge was in me, why haven’t I been using it? I could have handled so many situations differently”
As a seasoned mentor, I help the person discover what the person actually knows that was previously not in their awareness—what is known is always quite impressive. This awareness expands their capacity, not from reaching outside of themselves but from reaching inside of themselves. There is no point in a superficial approach to development work. Going deeply into oneself reveals a lot of treasures. A person usually feels grateful at their discovery and how much more capacity they have for leadership than they knew, and simultaneously feels the fear and discomfort that usually comes with facing the unknown.
A critical moment in the mentoring is to shift away from any self reproach and self judgment about not having accessed this additional knowledge in the past. We work from a belief that when the awareness develops is exactly the right time.
As an older woman, a personal example that I use is ‘If I had only known when my children were young, what I now know, I would have done some things differently’. And yet I know I was a good mother and doing my best in each moment. Some of my knowledge was not yet in my awareness in the way it is today. Is there any point in looking back with reproach and self judgment? You would assure me that there is not, just as I assure leaders that there is no point in looking back with self judgment.
In the mentoring sessions yesterday, from both the man and the woman, the question became “how do I now work from what I now know that I know?”. We will explore this in our next sessions, realizing the need to go step by step and slowly as this is a development process.
Are you willing to engage in your development to discover what you actually know that may currently not be in your awareness? Can you imagine how this will feel in your discoveries?
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