I’m not a believer in luck or magical thinking outside of Harry Potter novels. I am, however, a tireless advocate of being in the way.
As children, being in the way led to admonishment from our parents or older siblings. As adults, being in the way creates our universe of opportunities.
In our careers, being in the way shows up in many places
1. Bringing up a point in this week’s leadership team meeting that gets in the way of making the wrong decision for the company.
2. Getting in the way of a boss who’s in public shaming mode by stepping in to have the back of a peer.
3. Flying cross-country for an interview to impress a hiring manager gets in the way of them making the mistake of not choosing you.
4. Making the pitch of a lifetime to an economic buyer searching for a solution to a chronic problem. We get in his way as a resource with a solution.
5. Stuck as the last speaker before lunch at a conference and in the way of relief for plummeting blood sugar levels. This is the time to be memorable and leave them talking.
6. During an emotional argument in a team meeting, we get in the way by speaking in a calm and quiet tone to relieve the tension.
7. Asking the team for help by admitting we don’t have all of the answers gets in the way of our need to be right. It also increases our connection with them.
The corollary to being in the way is showing up
1. When we show up with curiosity, we learn and grow.
2. When we show up with a desire to serve, we contribute.
3. When we show up, we position ourselves to add value.
4. When we show up, we display our courage.
5. When we show up, we can get in the way.
Sometimes, we allow ourselves to get stuck in a cycle of “buts” and “what ifs” that create barriers to unleashing our potential and demonstrating our talent. Being stuck in our heads is not the kind of being in the way that propels us forward.
Not all opportunities pan out, but we limit our experience by not being in the way of them. At a minimum, being in the way allows us to learn something new about ourselves, others, and our potential.
These experiences give us the juice in life. And frequently, other possibilities that we cannot imagine reveal themselves while we are being in the way.