A few years ago, one of my coaching clients told me about a very cool concept taken from the book, The Wonder Weeks – related to her daughter’s development – serving as an excellent leadership/development metaphor. The basic concept is, when charted, “fussy periods” will be evident just prior to a child’s major milestones (teething, walking, etc.). As an example, two weeks before her daughter had taken her first step, she was uncharacteristically fussy – a pattern repeated before “big growth moments” – proving a direct correlation of her daughter’s agitation to her childhood milestones!
Huh. Well, in coaching leaders, I have witnessed plenty of adult-fussy-periods…agitation just prior to major developmental breakthroughs. It’s called tension! Nature has demonstrated the value of tension over and over and over again. Think: Chrysalis/Butterfly…Childbirth/Newborn Baby…Oyster & Sand/Pearl!!!! These agitation-fussy periods should be welcomed (if not celebrated!) as they indicate breakthroughs and “aha’s” that couldn’t/wouldn’t happen otherwise. Years ago, while part of an organizational development start-up, my business partner, an Organizational Psychologist, would come out of sessions thrilled that a client had “broken down”…because he knew…a breakthrough was on the other side.
Whether following the wisdom of Angela Duckworth, “Grit: The power of passion and perseverance” or Carol Dweck, “The power of believing you can improve”, there is something special that happens on the other side of tension. It need not be scary. Yes, you’ll need to muster up your strength to push through the discomfort of tension. And yes, you’ll need to resist the temptation to hit the release valve. Rather than resisting, push through it, not around it, not over it, not stopping short of it…but t-h-r-o-u-g-h it.
Tension. Resilience. Growth.