Have you ever walked down the road in your neighbourhood, especially as a child, and pass a neighbour’s house when all of a sudden, GRRRGH! …a dog starts growling and barking at you from behind the fence?
I can remember the feeling that came over me: I felt insecure, afraid and vulnerable. I experienced anger because how could this animal do this to me – how could my confidence and self-sufficiency be destroyed in such a brief moment?
As I grew older I learned that the barking dog is really not that scary. I could easily recognise the true level of danger and that, in fact, I am the boss in the situation. Fear, along with the dog, flees with its tail between its legs in that moment of authority. I can recognise my capacity to overcome the situation because I know who I am and that I have nothing to fear.
I still have the same emotional reaction in certain circumstances today. Recently I attended an event where I was one of the younger participants playing a leadership role. After an evening where I made a valued contribution I was, ever so politely, reminded by an older participant that perhaps I need some more experience before I actually attempt to participate in the way that I have. WOOF!
In an instant I wanted to react and cower because of my perceived inexperience pointed out to me. …Perceived; perception; reality. What was the reality in the situation? The reality was that even though I did not have the grey hair or funny glasses perched on my nose I was more than sufficiently qualified to contribute. DOWN BOY!
I can therefore choose to respond, not react: I know who I am and I know how I got here. As I grow I will have even more to contribute – I know where I am going. I am not punching above my weight. It is about stepping up and recognising my own potential. It is about giving, authenticity and strength. It is about living.
I challenge you to recognise the opportunities that life gives you today to choose living and not surviving. Take authority in the moment and lead. They are hidden and it takes practice to recognise them and use them. They come in many different shapes and sizes, people and circumstances. It is when someone in the office makes another remark about your work; it is that family member that breaks you down; it is when you are ignored or bullied. The dogs keep barking, don’t run away. Recognise your strength and do what is right today.