Well it happened. I blew it and missed a posting. Ugh.
On Tuesday August 27, I was far away from my computer at Burning Man making my annual pilgrimage. The truth is I realized it even before it happened, as I was madly packing all the things four days earlier.
And, I decided to just skip it.
I could have at least posted a note acknowledging that I was not going to post that day, but I had a story I was too busy and too excited and too distracted even for that.
Out on the playa, I had an amazing day.
I volunteered most of the day at the Media Mecca reception center for journalists, and then at 4 PM got into a pink and jeweled outfit for our camp’s now annual Flablngle Roving Dance Party.
Sometime during the day I had a moment of sadness and shame when I realized I was out of integrity with my commitment to post every two weeks, and I admit I beat myself up for a couple minutes. What arose was that old tired story that I am not good enough, and I am a fraud and a fake, an imposter who pretends to write about purpose and mission when in fact, I am actually a screw-up.
Happily, I caught myself and went to my training and my tools. I quickly decided that this was the perfect opportunity for Accountability.
Among the myriad amazing gifts of The ManKind Project, accountability is for me the biggest one.
Before I learned about this process, I used to screw up and then punish myself for a long time, indulging and even wallowing in my shadow beliefs, making the case like the good lawyer that I am, for my own sucky-ness.
Then I learned that Accountability and Integrity are not about being perfect.
Indeed, it’s the opposite.
Accountability is about recognizing that when I blow it and make a mistake, the most important next step is to own it, clean it up, learn from it, and tell about it.
In this way, every mistake becomes an opportunity for growth and evolution and even leadership by modeling for others.
Imagine if more leaders in our society showed up in this way, rather than the opposite. We see our leaders shy away from ownership, shun accountability and truth, and instead strain to blame others or cover it up.
So here goes my Accountability Process:
What was the Agreement or Commitment: That I would post a purpose newsletter post every two weeks on Tuesday.
What did I do instead? I went to Burning Man, and blew off the post completely
What is the possible Impact on others? loss of trust in me, disappointment, concern that MKP is not an organization of integrity and follow-through, loss of interest in the Purpose Newsletter, confusion
What was the impact on me? shame, regret, self-criticism, writing this post now about accountability, exposure, and also freedom to do what I want, setting down a burden, writing this post now
What was the Shadow underlying my choice? the belief that led to this choice was, partly, that nothing I do really matters, that it doesn’t make any difference if I kept my agreement, because no one cares or will notice. AND, a separate competing belief that I am above the rules, I am special, and I can do what I want
Is this the man I want to be? No. I want to be a man who keeps his agreements and commitments, and who holds and understands that what he does matters and makes a difference, and who understands that though I am indeed special, this does not exempt me from keeping my agreements and commitments.
To be clear, this is a process which is best done in a dyad or group, with a facilitator asking the questions, while listening deeply and inviting the man doing the work to dig deeper.
I invite you, readers, what other questions do you have for me? What am I missing? What other opportunity is there for me in this process?
Often this process ends with an act of service, which might allow me to make a new agreement and then keep it, or to do something which pierces the shadow which led to the choice.
Today I offer a poem I wrote a ways back as an act of service, and a photo of the Flablingle. I am the one with the pibk parasol at center right.
Thank you for being here and for hearing my effort to get back in integrity.
Have a wonderful day brothers and sisters!
King Bee, Fire-Tender