Have you ever had that moment when you're interacting with someone and time seems to stand still? There's a million responses running around in your head. You choose one. The safe one. 20 minutes later you think to yourself, "OOOOHHHH! I shoulda said BLANK!"
That, my friend, was an Authentic Chasm Moment….missed.
Let's switch it around. Think about 5 moments in your life that were significant. REALLY significant. Write them down right now.
<jeopardy music plays>
I'd place a large bet that at least two of those five significant moments, there was an Authentic Chasm Moment. A moment in time you took a diving leap of faith. A HUGE risk. The moment right after that Authentic Chasm Moment, you can't believe what came out of your mouth and yet, there it is. Because you labelled it a significant moment, something purely magical happened next, right?
This too, is an Authentic Chasm Moment, but at the most significant times in your life, you stepped INTO that chasm.
So often, when we reach the edge of that Authentic Chasm, we sidestep it. Why? Safety? Fear? Preservation? We avoid taking the risk by playing it safe. Perhaps that's the prudent thing to do. Are you being Authentic? True to yourself?
What is Authenticity?
The Webster definition of Authentic is the quality of being real or true. True to one's personality, character or spirit. The first important question is do you KNOW your true personality, character or spirit?! That's a whole lifelong mission right there, discovering your Authentic Self. One of the two obligations we have from cradle to grave is to hone our unique talents to be the BEST version of ourselves. Outside influencers help us to hone the gem we call … ME. Therapy. Counseling. Coaching. Find someone who gives you feedback from the outside IN and cares enough about you to tell you when you're pulling the wool over your own eyes.
By the Way: I am a Certified High Performance Coach ™ if you want to discover more of your Authentic Self. www.patrickmosher.com/chpc
Let's assume you have a good handle on your Authentic Self. Do you show up as your Authentic Self? I apologize for that Yes/No question. Actually, Authenticity isn't ON or OFF. It exists on a continuum. We have times where we are MORE true to our Authentic Self than other times. However, I suspect we can level up our Authenticity a little or a lot more, don't you think?
Wisdom Story of an Authentic Chasm Moment
I was sitting in the back of the conference room. 4 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) from Fortune 500 companies sat around the table. They had gathered to figure out how to participate in an independent parts exchange for their industry. Complicated business. Leaders from my competitor consulting company were in the front of the room, facilitating the conversation. I was invited because I was leading the people side of this initiative. The conversation was careening off the rails. These were fierce competitors. Each in their industry for decades. They were meeting with their enemies. Things got hot. Hotter. Scalding. Boiling over until one of the CIOs, red-faced shot up out of his chair, knocking it to the floor and yelled at the top of his voice, "This is all just Mental Masturbation."
This, my friend, is an Authentic Chasm Moment.
In slow motion, I'll describe what happened next. This all happened in a fraction of a second. I glanced at the two consultants at the front of the room. Wide-eyed, dumbfounded and speechless. I quickly checked the other participants as they reacted to the eruption. Energy building up like erupting volcanos, ready to react. Words rolling around in my head… NOT my meeting. Not my meeting. Not my meeting. I took a deep breath and emptied myself to the universe. The next thing that escaped from my lips startled ALL, even me.
"Sit DOWN. You're acting like you're in Grade School!"
Horrified by what came out of my mouth, I had channeled my first grade playground monitor as if I had just discovered two kids brawling in the dust.
All eyes snap to the back of the room, on me.
They erupted, but this time in unison. The cacophony of voices was difficult to understand. I'll spare you the details of their words, but basically they all said, 'you have no right to treat us this way.'
In a low voice, I said, "well now at least you all agree on SOMETHING."
The confused looks on their faces was priceless as the battle they anticipated didn't materialize. Someone laughed. Then they all started laughing. The meeting continued with a light-heartedness. Collaboration. Dare I even say, camaraderie.
An Authentic Chasm Moment. I jumped in. That's why I call it a chasm. There is no bridge in these moments. Looks like a chasm. Feels like a chasm. Every sane part of your mind and body screams, SIDESTEP! And you jump. With Faith. Curiosity. Courage. These moments build our character. We find and define our Authentic Self.
What Do You Do When You Face an Authentic Chasm?
I'm not suggesting we jump into that Authentic Chasm every moment of our lives. There are too many steep mountains to tumble down. Too many relationships to damage. Too much risk to endure.
In these rare moments where the world opens up at my feet and that chasm feels like a bottomless pit, I empty myself of thoughts and fears and TRUST that the next thing out of my mouth will be PERFECT.
Authentic Chasm Moments are rare opportunities for us to show up as our most Authentic Self.
Willing to give it a try?