Are You Ready to Fly?

Without a doubt, the best session I attended at #ASAE11 was Joe Gerstandt‘s How to Fly Your Freak Flag.

Aside from the awesomeness of the topic, Joe’s presentation style fit his message to a T.

His basic point is that the pressure on humans to conform to whatever group we’re in is enormous, but conformity makes us “radically incomplete.” Sure, staff members who hide key aspects of themselves in order to fit in are easier to manage, but doing that is ultimately unhealthy. And when our people are holding back important elements of their real selves, they’re almost definitely holding back characteristics, skills, and behaviors that would be good for our organizations.

Illustrating his point about how difficult but ultimately positive opening up is, Joe led us through a series of exercises where we gradually revealed more about ourselves to a gradually larger audience.

He walked us through:

  • Writing our own obituaries (surprisingly difficult)
  • “Who am I?”
  • “Why am I here?”
  • “What is my gift?”
  • “Is there any evidence?” (my favorite of the questions)

In the end, while we’re never EXACTLY the same person at work and in our private lives, we have to be comfortable with where we draw the line. Are you comfortable with that place in your own life? If not, what are you going to do about it?

2 thoughts on “Are You Ready to Fly?”

  • I have always been a very self-aware individual however I am aware of the traits that perhaps are challenging to people or they just don't plain like. I try to be conscious of them when engaging with others but rarely think about whether I should simply change or am I actually happy with they way I am and that I know some people don't like that about me?

    I will have a go at answering Joe's questions because I am sure this will give me some room to celebrate the things that people do like about me and that I am good at all the while considering whether there is any evidence to be sure this is the case.

    As for writing one's own obituary that will be a great challenge. Thinking about the legacy I would leave my family and friends is one of the scariest things. Having lost my parents at a young age and now living with their collective and individual legacies is a real challenge.

    Thanks for sharing the post Elizabeth. I chose another session and am pleased to be still getting the benefit of his thoughts from learned friends like you.

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