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Last Saturday I was told, ‘Not Now.’

Your time is… Not Now or Now are the phrases used in the ManKind Project to convey the results of a certification panel. My time was Not Now to be able to lead Leadership Training 3: The Authentic Servant Leader.

On Wednesday, I was talking with my coach when I said that this was my first Not Now. He challenged me on my assertion.

We all get not nows.

What I meant was that I have been certified to lead the New Warrior Training Adventure and as a leader trainer without receiving a Not Now along the way, but he was right; I’ve had my share of not nows. I bet you have too.

I’ve not been hired for jobs I wanted, I’ve been fired, had relationships that never started and others that ended by someone else’s choice, and I’ve not been selected for many opportunities I wanted badly.

As someone who is living your purpose, stretching, pushing personal boundaries and limitations, what do you do when you get a “not now”? What do you do when you don’t get what you want? What do you do when you face obstacles?

Here’s how my week has unfolded since hearing Now Now.

Support

I’d brought my friend Jon into the certification panel to sit and speak in support of me during the process. This is a powerful practice that does not have to be limited to these MKP challenges. Next time I face an obstacle, I’m going to bring an ally with me energetically.

Immediately after hearing the words, “Your time to be an LT3 Leader Training is…Not Now, I connected with Jon. He held space for me to absorb the answer and to feel my disappointment.

Anger

Disappointment turned to anger and judgments. It’s toxic to stuff these emotions, I let them flow out of me so that I could be free of their grip.

No Shame

My partner, son, friends, and warrior brothers were waiting to hear the good news that I’d been endorsed to lead LT3. I made the same calls I’d have made if the panel’s decision had been Now because as Brene Brown says, shame needs silence, secrecy, and judgment to grow.

I don’t want to give shame, and it’s toxic energy more places to grow in my soul, so I choose to share my disappointments as freely as my joy.

Compassion

Following the phone calls to those who were waiting to hear I began to find compassion. In the face of failure, I can be highly critical of myself, yet I know that if locked into a critical feedback loop there is no way to grow.

As I allowed compassion to wash over me, I was able to find compassion for others too – the men who sat on the panel that rendered the judgment that my time is Not Now. I went to each man to acknowledge that I know it was not easy for them either and that I appreciate them.

Growth

While I don’t fully understand the reasoning for their decision, it’s my job to harvest the learning; otherwise, it’s a wasted growth opportunity.

I believe that the best in me comes out when I’m teaching and sharing what I know. I’ve been asking myself, “How can I show up more fully in my life to bring about learning in others?”

Space

Time and space yield perspective. A practice within MKP is to allow space after not getting what we want. In this case, that means not talking with the men who were on the panel about the process, their judgments, or decision for at least two weeks.

Personally, it also means setting down my thoughts as much as I’m able. Sometimes of the day I do, and sometimes I don’t.

Journaling

Putting my thoughts down on paper allows me to listen to myself, see what’s true and what’s not, and answer questions which will lead to my continued growth.

Remember, the phases of compassion, growth, space, and journaling are not linear. We flow in and out of them over time.

This is my process. I hope it helps you with your next not now.

Live a Bold & Authentic Life

Matt

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