It’s painful to admit that I have used this phrase one to many times lately, along with the phrase “shut up and color.”  Two things that pretty much go against everything I have been trying to do the past few years by working out loud, practicing personal knowledge mastery, building my social leadership skills and trying to model the behaviors that enable change.

As I was cleaning out my Evernote “inbox” of saved for later articles – this quote from Simon Terry stared me right in the face:

Every time I hear the phrase “above my pay grade” I cringe. It is used to describe information, decisions and actions that are beyond an individual’s limits. Often these are limits people have imposed on themselves. Where they are real constraints, the individual still has the ability to act, to influence or to work around that constraint with the help of others. If you can’t approve it, go influence the person who can.  If that doesn’t work, build a coalition to influence the person who can.

Seriously?  I love how stuff just floats back to you when you need it.

Thanks for the kick in the ass Simon.  I needed it.

Think its time for some serious honest reflection.

Why am I stuck, what’s holding me back? Why am I so afraid? Why have I disengaged?

I could easily start a work out loud circle for workers at work.  No permission needed. I could run it at lunch.

yet I don’t

I could share my blog, my curated content and my co-created content with my co-workers

yet I don’t.

I could run lunch and learns on the concepts of personal knowledge mastery and social leadership to expose my co-workers to what I am learning.

yet i don’t.

it’s not really my job. people will think I’m stupid. i suck at talking in front of people, i’d rather hide behind my writing and hide in my network of people who already understand. i may get fired. it’s to hard. what if i am wrong? what if no one understands? what if i am left alone in the dark? what happens if it’s not perfect? what happens if someone does it way better and i’m no longer needed? what if i fail again? what if everyone sees me as a fake?

i’m just so tired of fighting the system.

and my monkey mind talks me out of even trying.

but then I remember seeing John Saddington’s diagram describing the emotional journey of creating (or doing) anything great floating through twitter (I think it was my friend Valiere DePauw) and I realize maybe just maybe I am in the “swamp of despair.”

emotional-journey-of-creating-anything-great-infographic-large
Image credit: John Saddington

and that I am the only one holding you back.

I guess this is what happens when you are living on the edge.  You continually fall back into the swamp of despair and have to find a way back out again.

Time and time again I find that way is through picking back up my personal knowledge mastery practice and working out loud.   It seems every time I let it slide, I slide right back into that swamp.

Looks like it’s time to reinvent myself and my practice!