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Character (Traits): A careful definition

"The most careful thing is to dare."

-Shimon Peres

My goal this year was to fly.  Not literally, fly, but the imagining of it.  I would wear the butterfly wings of the kipping pull up.  These wings were constructed of a distinct kind of strength. It was a strength defined as much by flexibility, one I sensed arching across my shoulders, as it was power. These wings gathered a moment of energy only to quickly push it away.

In other moments when goalsetting was encouraged, I had considered that maybe I was just not a curious person.

A friend tried to comfort me, "But you like learning things."

"I don't think that's the same.  My dad always has questions.  He always wants to know more."

In relation to. . . According to. . . Flying was the first goal I set for myself in a long time.  At work my goals were chosen carefully 'with' me, yet for me so that I could be a 'me' in the version someone defined as the 'best' me.  There were right areas of growth.  There were correct ways to grow. Be more.  Be less.  Show up, but for whom?



To hide you




To define you

A friend invited me to work out at the gym with her.  "I'm going to work on a skill."

"Which one?"

"Kipping pull ups."

"Awesome, that's mine too.  I have been practicing the 3-5 pull ups you're supposed to have."

"I can't do that."

Huh? Wasn't that the rule? To protect yourself.  Make sure you're strong enough.

We weren't the only ones who chose to use the open space on Saturday morning.  There was a pleasant back and forth between exercising and receiving tips from others.  

"You're just a little too strict on everything. You're stopping your momentum.  Be more aggressive."

"Be more aggressive," I chuckled to myself.  "That seems to be the theme for every skill."

On the drive home, I considered how in my work life I was too often assumed to be aggressive.  Why? Which definition of my character was more accurate?  How was I showing up for myself?



To deny you




To find you

My goal to fly had been dormant for uncounted time. I had felt a pressing outward from my stomach, inward on my chest. In a recent professional development session about identity, we needed to describe our reactions to difficult conversations.  The framework was a learning donut of comfort, growth and overwhelm.  Where had my growth been taking place?


In outward traits?

In expectations?

In Belonging

Or fitting in. . .

What I had been wanting was to not want the wanting of traits like strong, fast, smart, daring. I needed a new definition for careful. I stood underneath the bar. Instead of gripping the metal and slowly pulling up, I jumped and I grabbed with both hands. I kicked backwards as hard as I could and swung up. My chin easily cleared the bar.

On Thursday, I told my friend at the gym, "You were right.  I could do the pull up."

"Did you swing your legs?"  She glanced over at another member and added, "I knew she could if she kicked into it. She's so strong."

"But they aren't strung together."

"It'll come."

I wasn't flying, at least not yet. Still, my shoulders didn't ache awkwardly anymore. When they would fatigue tomorrow and the day after, it would be the result of trying and not holding back.

Be more patient

with how you define yourself.

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