Getting in the arena and fulfillment

I was listening to Brene Brown talk about vulnerability and shame (again) and reading the Roosevelt quote again. This time, the impact of being in the arena vs. commentating/criticizing from the stands struck me as an interesting problem in an organization.

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My direction is a bit different twist than what Dr. Brown talks about, I’m interested in your thoughts. She talks about what being in the arena is like as an individual; I’m curious, how does this function in an organization of people? I can’t actually be “in the arena” on all things I care about in the organization. So what does my role become? How do I behave as a critic/spectator if I’m put into that role? How can I make sure I’m in the arenas I most care about?

Side note: this applies to other areas of life too (e.g. politics), figured an organization is most relevant here.

What I think I do today is I work hard to prepare myself before entering a new arena (e.g. taking on new project, especially when I have a new role/title), then continually add more “armour” while I’m in that arena. Going forward, I’m going to “try-on” being more vulnerable too. :)

As for, when I am not included in an arena I care about, what is the best way to make positive contributions. I see one simple rule, constructive feedback (from data, insight, expertise, etc.) is ok, criticism is not. If I’m not putting myself on the line the way someone else is, then I haven’t earned the right to be critical. That’s a tight line between constructive feedback and being critical.

Side note (again): showing I care for them and what they are doing is the most important part of constructive feedback.

I don’t have it all sorted in my head yet, being vulnerable putting something out now. I hope thinking about putting it on the line more (if you watch her videos or read her books) will help direct more energy into getting into the arenas we care about most and finding a daily sense of accomplishment and greatness in those arenas.

Coach. Leader. Manager. Passionate about helping people. Curious about problems, especially customer. Create environments for delivering software people love.

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