What Have You Let Hold You Back?

How have you allowed a system, institution, or tradition to hold you back? What will you do to make sure this does not happen in 2017?
Desiree Adaway

This was a curious question to ponder. I am hyper aware of the way my own beliefs about how the world works and shame about the way I am not the person I was trained to be are holding me back, but it was not easy to identify a specific system or institution that I am allowing to hold me back.

Upon reflection, however, I saw something worth naming. The tradition that is holding me back is the tradition of deferring to my elders and trusting that people ahead of me in years or on the career path know better than I do.

In a funny way, the institutions that are holding me back are schools – not so much because I am a student these days but more because I am used to thinking of myself as a learner and not as an expert and it is time for me to claim my expertise and move forward from a place of strength.

What will I do to make sure I stop being held back by this tradition of studying in 2017 and step into the spotlight?

I will identify the people who already see me as a leader and look to them when I doubt myself. I will describe people with skills I am interested in developing as peers with different expertise than mine rather than as teachers. I will turn to the sort of allies I need to help me step into the limelight with courage: coaches not mentors or teachers.

This is part of Quest 2017, a 12-prompt process for annual planning. The prompt was provided by Desiree Adaway, a Principal of The Adaway Group, writer, and instigator of Tune Up 2017!. She has over 20 years experience creating, leading and managing international, multicultural teams through major organizational changes in over 40 countries. She takes on and leads difficult conversations on race, diversity, class, and gender.