The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.1

What was I thinking creating that mission for myself and adopting the title Strategic Change Agent?2 It’s rough in the arena; the crowd cheers for your failure – to see your body marred and bloody. I’m thankful I work in place that provides me sick leave, and then a furlough day and then a holiday so I could have a five day weekend to heal my wounds (true story).

I felt like Tony Romo in a post-season game; all the talent in the world doesn’t get you the W. I could feel it happening. Despite the conscious choice of trying to practice reflective leadership, old habits and feelings pushed their way to the surface and erupted in the fight side of fight or flight. Here I was trying to engage one-on-one with someone and I was failing at my own mission. As I sat there, I took in the words like the “Drink Me” potion Alice encounters in Wonderland. I felt smaller and smaller. My emotions must have found the cake marked “Eat Me” because they were growing. In the moment I couldn’t interrupt the thoughts or stop the word vomit. It certainly wasn’t a moment I was handling with grace. I was more like Kayne West hijacking the mic from Taylor Swift.3

I was disappointed in myself. Not a week before, I had used my mid-year review as an opportunity to test out my new role. For a first attempt I thought it went pretty well. Afterwards, I talked it out with a trusted superior and we identified areas where I could have moved beyond active listening and re-directed the conversation back to me and where I might be able to assist in the problems that were being discussed. So what went wrong this next time?

Well, now that some time has passed and my hindsight is coming in to focus, I recognize a couple of things.

  1. Knowing and Accepting are two different things. I knew what was likely going to be said, but despite that I hadn’t accepted it and wasn’t ready to hear it.
  2. I definitely have a trigger around feeling like I’m not being heard. Survival mode kicks in around feelings of being dismissed and all of sudden its Groundhog Day and I’m Bill Murray stuck repeating the same reaction to the same feelings.
  3. I offered feedback when I wasn’t ready to give it. Do you know when you’re ready? Check out Brené Brown’s Engaged Feedback Checklist.4

Being in the arena doesn’t mean you will always walk away with the W (Cowboy fans you feel me?). What the arena does guarantee is a lot of hard-work and inevitably a few mistakes. What the arena requires is stick-to-itveness.

Scott Kearby shared this League of Their Own quote with me on my first blog post, “It’s supposed to be hard! If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great!”5

So here’ s to sticking to the Mission, even though it can be hard.

Where in your organization do you have the opportunity to practice stick-to-iteness even though it may be hard?

  1. Thomas A. Edison, inventor of words (I never knew).
  2. Curious? Check out Mission Impossible? Reflective Leaders as Change Agents
  3. Youtube is great, now you can experience moments like these over and over?
  4. I went ahead and printed this one out.×10.pdf
  5. I can never have too much Tom Hanks

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