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Lucy Ball is a leadership coach and facilitator

Dark clouds and loving our weaknesses

I’m prone to melancholy. Although I know bright optimism and joy, I also very keenly feel hopelessness. I consider it one of my weaknesses – I wish I could more easily pull myself together and put on a happy face. But there are days and sometimes weeks when the dark cloud above my head breaks only frequently. This is one of those days. Under this cloud the little voices in my head say What’s the point? You’re not good enough! And more hopelessly… Humans are broken! Organisations are dysfunctional! Our plans are a joke! As I go about my day of client calls and emails to respond to, those voices are never far in the background.
Earlier this week I went to a yoga class which focused on weakness. In the class we worked predominantly on our weaker side (for most people their left) and our tightest muscles. I admit to competitive urges in yoga, I have a need to prove to myself that I can hold a pose for longer or get my leg straighter than last time or than the person next to me. I notice how much I favour the positions I feel strongest in and rely on my right leg which is much stronger than my left.  In this class I was required by the teacher (thank you, Nicola) to stretch and strengthen my weakest side and to hold positions that were more challenging; to sit with, to accept and to appreciate my weaknesses. It felt very different. I thought I would hate it but I came away feeling restored, more whole.
So today with a cloud hanging over my head I am paying attention to the dark. I am not trying to cheer myself up or put on a false smile. I am instead thinking about what I appreciate about the dark. I am thinking about the the tone and shades it brings to my inner landscape. I am having a hunkering down kind of a day and appreciating the creativity that often brings. I am hoping that the more I am willing to sit with my dark cloud, the easier it will be for me to sit with my clients under theirs. And I am hoping that my openness here will contribute in a small way to more openness in general about our emotional lives at work.

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