This came from an Inhale, Exhale writing excercise (Martha Beck, Write Into Light) and was where I ended up after writing what came up when I asked the question, “The truth I have never told”. It started with the sentence, I don’t exist! I can’t help wondering who else may be living with that sentence and wondering how to create proof of life.

The roles I accept matter! When I started diving, the role I accepted was supporter, & team member. I didn’t disrupt the deep diver. I fitted in. Then I decided to want to be deepest which was a role I didn’t have permission for. It ‘wasn’t me’ Which is when I realized that there are a whole set of roles that I am unconscious of and they control me, define me and choose my path for me.

The problem is all these roles place me on the same path as everyone else. I am headed to the same place, living similar experiences, all safe, all predictable. And with every role I am living by rules I can’t see and should I be foolish enough to ask, no-one seems to really know. So here I stand on a mandatory path of invisible rules that is sold as safe, but isn’t.

Every role creates my way, defines who I am, how I show up, what people expect, how they interact with me and most importantly, every role defines what is possible for me – a follower seldom becomes the star, a support diver never becomes the deep diver.

It used to be simple to shine. All I had to do was live my role, obey the rules and then if I was lucky and proved I was valuable and was ‘seen’ by one of the select few, then I would be chosen. Only now the old way is being dismantled. Now big corporates are throwing away the old hierarchical structures and going agile. They are bringing in new structures that revolve around no reporting lines, autonomous teams and collaboration. There are roles, but no one really knows what they look like. We are creating a new culture and just like you don’t set a new depth record by following the well-trodden path, you can’t create a new culture by using the same old tired hierarchical structures and roles. Without realising we have gone from a well-trodden path to an explorers path. There is no path, we are building it. And now there is no clear way to shine and no guarantees. It all sounds so good, so simple. We have a structure, we have a set of processes and tools, only no-one has counted on us, the people living this change.

We knew how to show up in the other way. We knew the rules. We knew how to behave, what got us reprimanded and punished, what got us accolades and glory.

Now what?

I spent a lifetime learning how to obey and listen and now you want me to, overnight, create, lead and change. You never taught me that! You never gave me the opportunity.

How do I show up now ?

You want me to create my role ? Based on what ?

What is right and wrong now that you won’t tell me ?

How do I find my path ?

How do I shine ?