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"You are too Intense"


“You are too Intense”


I have heard this my entire life. As with most young children, I came out of the womb asking “Why?”. Of course, as soon as I could say that word, I was told to stop asking questions, shushed, and told that “Why?” was the worst question of all.


These are intense times. 2020 is already shaping up to be a year (or decade) of truth telling. Ricky Gervais gave us an uncomfortable laugh with his not quite, but almost rogue truth bombs.


Truth telling isn’t for everyone. Russell Brand interviewed Brene Brown (watch it here) and she mentioned that the most compassionate people are the most boundaried people. Having clear boundaries, knowing what is okay and not okay with you, isn’t for everyone. The risk you take when speaking your truth is aloneness. If you do it in front of people, some will get angry and some will be freaked out. Then, you are alone. It can be 2 minutes, 2 months, or in some cases, clear the field for a while.


It takes courage to name what is in the room. For those of us who sense, feel, see, and know what is in the room, it is a pivotal choice to name it or stay quiet. Then, of course, there is the reminder that “silence is the voice of complicity.”


We are living with uncomfortable truths.


Margaret Wheatley writes in Who Do We Choose to Be?


This world does not need more entrepreneurs. This world does not need more technology breakthroughs.


This world needs leaders.


We need leaders who put service over self, who can be steadfast through crises and failures, who want to stay present and make a difference to the people, situations, and causes they care about.


We need leaders who are committed to serving people, who recognize what is being lost in the haste to dominate, ignore, and abuse the human spirit.



Me at a Cathedral in Quito, Ecuador

My tagline is: How we Lead our Lives is How we Lead. I don’t say this because I am a stellar example. It is a way of reminding myself of a sign I had on the wall in my classroom: If you’re not modeling what you are teaching, you are teaching something else.


It is a way to hold myself accountable for being more committed to walking my talk and confronting my own uncomfortable truths. I am not always living in alignment with what matters to me most. I am also aware that being human is about growth. Growing pains can be really painful. We are often on growth edges that would be easier to deny, hide from, and ignore.


One of my truths is that I can be and am often “intense” to be around. I still ask too many questions, am rarely satisfied with answers, and love the exploration of the next question.


I sense that we are living in intense times that require clarity, commitment, and taking risks. It is never crowded on the edge.

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