“How does who you are becoming fit into your vision of the future?” When Dr. Mac McDonald (Mac) asked that question on a call with several Line of Sight Coaching clients, I could not stop thinking about the significance of the question. It resonated with me on several levels.
I began considering how who I was becoming had changed my life for the better. Then, I realized that these changes could not have happened without my awareness of what I had been before. It allowed me to see how I was unknowingly showing up for the people that mattered most in my life. This awareness was unquestionably life-changing and the beginning of my journey to becoming a better, more authentic person and leader.
I then thought about one of my favorite quotes from Carl Jung: “Until we make the unconscious conscious, it will direct our lives, and we will call it fate.” The truth of this statement now impacts me more than ever.
Next, I contemplated why Mac chose the word “becoming” rather than asking us to consider what we had become? And the answer came to me. We are always becoming. We never become. Life is a fluid process, and we are all in the process of becoming. To state that we have become something implies a state of stasis that is incompatible with our existence and vitality.
In the context of purposeful leadership, becoming is a never-ending journey filled with constant reflection and self-directed change. Leaders face many challenges and occasional failures that require reassessment and purposeful redirection.
Finally, I thought about the unquestionable connection between who we are becoming and our vision of the future. One could easily restate Mac’s question by asking how our vision of the future fits with who we are becoming. The question is reversed, but no less meaningful. Who we are becoming will lack purpose and significance without a vision of what the becoming means, and conversely, our future vision is unachievable without our realization of who we must become to attain it. The two are inextricably linked.
Each of us has a vision of a preferred future. For some the vision lacks clarity and the necessary positive tension required to achieve the future vision. These folks are stuck in a state of limbo, constantly wishing for something they want desperately but believe to be unattainable.
For emerging leaders in a state of becoming, the vision of their preferred future is crystal clear and a powerful driving force. By living as if their preferred future currently exists, they are better able to anticipate and preemptively remove potential barriers to realizing their vision.
Knowing who we need to become is a vital realization and opens new unrealized potentials for our preferred future. It does not mean that we must change who we are. Instead, the state of becoming requires us to mitigate our negative reactive tendencies and emphasize our unique creative competencies, all of which already reside within each of us and exist within our reach.