What You See
You notice what I accomplish -
the hard, tangible results of my effort.
Therein lies your appreciation:
How what I deliver benefits you.
And, yes, while I signed on to serve,
to contribute to greater good
in the world of your collective power,
is it possible
for you to notice
who I am,
all that I carry within me?
Will you not water my seeds,
that I might blossom before you?
Perhaps I will simply
flower in beauty
that your eyes could behold
just in case
they ever really going looking for it.
I wrote this poem when I was working, during performance review time, when the manager I had at the time seemed especially focused on results without much appreciation for who I am and the value I brought through my way of being.
Mark Nepo, in I Awake chapter of The One Life We’re Given
“The point is not to deify the events that break us down or open. But to lift up the mysterious fact that what we think we want, what we think we strive for, is often not the goal at all – just what we hold on to in order to discover what is truly calling us. Often, when we think we’re building one thing, we’re building another, or we’re the ones being built. When we think we’re giving one thing, we’re often giving another, or we’re the ones being given to. When we think we’re enduring one thing, we’re often being undone by life into the birth of a gift we’ve been carrying for just this opening. The point is, we’re challenged to follow our heart beyond our intentions in order to find our quiet destiny, the way a tulip or peony follows its urge to break ground, hardly imagining its life in blossom.”
This really spoke to me, as do so many of Mark Nepo’s words. I remember, when I was working at IBM supporting leaders in being their best, how I would have these moments when I could see and sense that what I thought I was up to was not really the point at all, that there was something deeper happening, something richer being created. Once I was leading a resilience initiative, facilitating learning circles with small groups of executives and exploring ways to support ourselves and others in self-care. On the surface the work looked like education, however, at a deeper level it was about our being relationship and our connection and what was possible because of it.