View From the Balcony

Each Tuesday morning at 7:30am, I have a 45 minute check-in with three lifelong friends around navigating the next chapter of life. We all met as we were just beginning our parenthood journey. We all have similar professional backgrounds in consulting, business and teaching, and we are now all creating our next chapters without the visceral chaos of children being front and center in our daily operations.

It’s a complex transition (as are most transitions) – full of excitement and possibility along with the full responsibility of “how do we want to most powerfully use the 1440 minutes we are given every day?”

Decisions and choices around professional goals, relationship goals, health goals, etc… are our ongoing balancing act of clarity and prioritization. Our awareness of the dance of life not being forever becomes more real. How do we define success? What do we want to accomplish, leave as our legacy, love into each moment now?

A commonality we find is the vague but powerful fear of not being needed –crazy to define intellectually but very real in practice. Thus it can be too easy to say “yes” to opportunities out of some shadow of unneededness before we deeply think through how it fits into all that we want. Having this trusted group of colleagues as listeners, advisors, supporters and honest critics is a gamechanger. It becomes a place of true honesty, accountability and vulnerability. It’s a powerful space to give voice to dreams, share, reflect, breathe and get trusted, real feedback.

Leading Our Lives from the Balcony

Harvard leadership Professor Ron Heifitz says, “Leadership is about simultaneously playing the game and observing it as a whole…it is about understanding how today’s turns in the road will affect tomorrow’s plan.”

It’s one thing to have goals and priorities and often quite another to put them in the calendar, read through the day and see how it feels to meet all the commitments you made to yourself and others. Which ones are the non-negotiables we always get done, and which ones are the squishy commitments that often slide to the next day or the next week or next month. And then to ask ourselves the deeper questions of “why” and what do we want to do about it – further building internal and external trust.

In addition to the daily practice of breathing, intention setting and gratitude, creating and committing to a weekly accountability group of trusted colleagues gets all our dreams and all our fears and hiccups out into the light – allowing us to view our lives from the balcony of broader vision along with checking in on our day to day progress of living life.

Try it. Find a couple of trusted colleagues. Commit for a few months to 30 or 45 minutes a week to both share and listen. Set and share your goals for the year and milestones for the week within your different life roles. See where your commitments work and where they don’t. Allow the growth that comes with opening up, sharing ideas and fears and having the support to try new muscle memory. Here’s to all the chapters that lie ahead.

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