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Your choice: go big, or get real

I’ve been a jittery, nervous wreck for a week because of the workshop which starts on Wednesday.

It reminds me of singing a solo in a Junior High musical – I’m terrified that I’ll forget the words, look like an idiot… or pee my pants on stage.

Yeah – you get it: I’m nervous.

I have found that in these moments, I have a choice.

Go big or get real

When I feel insecure, my default has long been to pretend that I’m fine – calm, cool, collected, and in control. The man with the plan.

I call this “going big”. It’s when I pretend to be large and in-charge. Except, sometimes people get hurt in the process.

But there’s a problem with that.

See, if anything threatens the plan, or doesn’t go perfectly, I tend to get upset. I start holding on to my plan too tight, and I try too hard to keep things going the way I planned.

For example, once I was in such a hurry to finish a workshop exercise that I didn’t notice a participant was silently crying, trying to cope with a super painful work situation that the exercise reminded him of.

By the time I noticed, I’d bulldozed through the moment to keep us on schedule. Ugh.

Instead, now I get real.

Now, I do my best to remember that I’m there to respond to the participants, not keep them ‘on schedule’.

I’m there to lead them by creating an environment where everyone can safely participate, experiment, communicate, challenge, discuss their mistakes, and get real with each other.

The only way I can do that for them is if I do it for me, first.

Because you can’t give what you don’t have.

I’m sure the workshop won’t go as planned.

In fact, my outlines have gotten vaguer as I’ve learned that the good stuff happens between the things you’ve planned. That’s when the magic happens between people.

It’s when leadership happens too, between real people, at the most unexpected times.

So today I want you to keep an eye out for the magic, be ready for the unexpected emotion, and keep it real.

That’s when the good stuff happens.

Tomorrow I’ve got a surprise from a sponsor for ya – so watch your mailbox.

Doing my best to keep it real,


About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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