Playing in the Deep End of the Pool

January 2, 2017

Amy Poehler’s quote came to me through my friend, Nancy Goldstein, founder of compassxstrategy.com. She helped me through geometry class in 10th grade and by happenstance, she might be the one moving me toward the title of my next book. The Poehler quote is this: “I want to play with those who swim in the deep end of the pool.”

Now maybe Poehler didn’t exactly say this. Amy is a superstar actress, buddies with Tina Fey, and founder of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls “dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves.” So even if she didn’t truly say it, she could’ve, and no matter, the spirit of the words resonated with me big time. The vibration is still going and going and going…

I started sharing the idea with others. “I want to write a book about swimming in the deep end.” “I want to write about a book about supporting those who crave connection with others who swim in the deep end.” “I want to work with those who are pushing themselves to be more courageous.” “I am hungry to be around those who want more out of their work.”

I heard back, “Hmm…”

I heard back, “You know, some might really want to be in the shallow end. That’s deep enough for them.”

I heard back, “You might lose a lot of readers if you go too far ahead of them.”

At first I thought, “Huh.”

Then I thought, “Boo.”

Then, honestly, I thought, “Oh. Oh well…”

I want to 2017 not to be a year of ‘treading water.’ I want to not by ‘failure of nerve’ or by a need to not be ‘too much’ for others to not stretch myself.

Maslow says, “In any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”

My question for 2017: How can I keep myself and others stepping forward into growth? And do so without being known as ‘the nudge.’ Doable? We’ll see. I step into the mystery…

This is just the beginning, Folks. What does the deep end mean for you?

P.S. If you aren’t sure you are a ‘deep end’ kinda person, do a test. Check out Seth Godin’s work and you’ll have a good sense.

Cool Resources

Books read and reread this past month – worth a look.

A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix
“Failure of Nerve is essential reading for all leaders, be they parents or presidents, corporate executives or educators, religious superiors or coaches, healers or generals, managers or clergy. Friedman’s insights about our regressed, seatbelt society, oriented toward safety rather than adventure, help explain the sabotage that leaders constantly face today.”

Tell Me So I Can Hear You: A Developmental Approach to Feedback for Educators
“The authors show how leaders can provide feedback in ways that “meet people where they are” while expanding the developmental capacities educators bring to their work. Drago-Severson and Blum-DeStefano provide real-life examples with practical strategies for creating a safe space for feedback, finding the right words, and bridging feedback and action.”

How to Say It to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap with Our Elders
“In How to Say It to Seniors, geriatric psychology expert David Solie offers help in removing the typical communication blocks many experience with the elderly. By sharing his insights into the later stages of life, Solie helps in understanding the unique perspective of seniors, and provides the tools to relate to them.”

Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
“Barricades between people become barriers to success and happiness, so getting through is not just a fine art–it’s a crucial skill. With Just Listen, readers learn how to transform the “impossible” and “unreachable” people in their lives into true allies, loyal customers, and lifelong friends.”

About Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague and supervising an employee. Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Jennifer's publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course by the same name.

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