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BK Blog Post
Posted by Christopher Avery, CEO, Partnerwerks, Inc..
Author of Teamwork Is An Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done When Sharing Responsibility
Jessica Soroky continues her series Leadership is a Choice.
There is a part of this journey that only recently became transparent to me, my intention is to change that. Last week I began to open up about something much deeper in me, something that tests my personal responsibility like few other things. Even as I re-read my own post declaring that for that day “I had won, I got out of bed!” just a short time later I sit here fighting back shame as I try not to allow myself to believe that today I am not winning, today I am failing.
I struggle with anxiety on a level that I think is above and beyond normal anxiety (it could be that exact evaluation that continues to create it). For the most part I choose not to have anxiety. It is in situations that I feel out of control, attacked, or even when I used to believe I could disappoint someone that the anxiety seems like the only choice I have.
A black car pulled up with a promise of taking me to the airport. The previous day-and-a-half had proved to be an ongoing opportunity to practice not choosing anxiety. I felt attacked, blamed, and harassed. I found freedom and relief in my practice of personal responsibility, declaring to myself over and over that I would not believe the things being said. I would not allow myself to go to shame.
I know who I am and no one can take that away from me. I am not a victim!
It proved mentally exhausting and the relief the sight of that black car brought is unexplainable.
The doors closed and instead of the relief I expected to feel, I was met with even more blame, harassment, and attacks. Almost begging for it to stop I turned inward, focused on my breathing, and tried with everything I could to not let the anxiety overwhelm me.
Anxiety for me feels like a pile of bricks sitting on my chest, taking away my ability to breathe, my body temperature rises and my hands begin to shake, and my focus turns from responsibility to the unquenchable desire to run.
I contemplated asking the driver to stop the car and finding another, but knew that wasn’t the best choice. Instead I counted down the miles in my head to the airport.
15 miles left. I can do this. I am strong. I can make it for 15 more miles.
Finally! There it was the sign for my airline. I wanted to jump out of the car and suck in the deepest breath of air I could muster.
Again the relief I expected didn’t happen. The very thing I was trying to escape followed me into the airport. I felt trapped, the bricks continued to pile on. I couldn’t breathe and for the first time ever the idea of an airport didn’t bring me inspiration.
The idea of getting into a huge metal tube was the scariest thing I could imagine.
Once at my gate I took a few deep breaths, cleared my mind and tried to release what I was feeling.
I know who I am and no one can take that away from me. I will not be and am not a victim!
I said this repeatedly in my head until the moment I was ready to let go. I pulled out my laptop and chose to write this. Writing has always been a form of cleansing for me so why not pull out my entire arsenal?
As I finish this post, I sit comfortably aboard a plane awaiting take off. I am again looking forward to the feeling of the ground falling away and being amongst the clouds. The focus writing takes has begun to release my mind and take the bricks off my chest.
Anxiety is something I struggle with, I am sure I am not alone in this struggle. What I am sure of, is even when I feel like I have absolutely no control over my anxiety, the truth is that like all other things, anxiety is simply a choice I have.
I can choose anxiety, to be trapped and suffocated by my own mind, or I can choose to not have anxiety and to embrace the power and freedom I have in a mindset of responsibility.
Failures are opportunities to be aware, a chance to grow.
I did not fail. I am growing therefore I am winning. My intention is no longer to be transparent about my anxiety, it is to truly release it, let it go, and live free, powerful, and at choice again.
Jessica Soroky, CSM
Jessica is a Certified Scrum Master with over three years of practice in agile delivery and seven years of team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.
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