Posted by Jeremy Parsons | December 9, 2022
“You’re an embarrassment to this organization.”
I wasn’t very emotionally aware in that season of my life, but in hindsight, the flood of shame feels pretty powerful as I think back to that moment. A big conference room. Powerful people around the table. The topic? A load of mistakes, mishaps, and (perhaps) misunderstandings of what “management” needed from us.
We were told to be better and reminded that lots of other humans would beg for jobs like ours. Sigh.
Oh, what shame does to a human soul.
A boss yelling and criticizing and proving how bad we are weighs about as much as an anvil.
As I recall this meeting, I recall my anger in the moment. I was determined to both eat the shit sandwich that was being served, while also vowing that “my goodness, if I’m ever able to shape a culture and team, we won’t do it this way.”
What a weird concept in the corporate ladder climb; the jockey for position game I once played to near perfection; the defend your turf game (even if it means lying-to-do-so.)
The extension of relationship to our sloppy, messy, well-intentioned parts. The admission of our own badness, shortcomings, and weird baggage we don’t get to check at the front door.
And because of that: the acceptance of others when they do the same.
Here’s my belief: when a collective of caring humans put their best feet forward each day, while being courageous enough to display courteous goodwill to our unkept-ness – that’s precisely when our ability to grow deeper roots, build stronger bonds, and do our best work.
It happens when we can look at each other, with honesty and humility and say:
“You’re not an embarrassment.
You’re a brave human.
And it’s really hard and scary out there.
But there’s grace available for all of us on this path.”
That’s where we’re going, and what we’re building.