Jessica Soroky continues her series Leadership is a Choice.
It is almost indescribable, the feeling I create when my level of confront is met or my anxiety shoots through the roof. This is my human rollercoaster ride of responsibility.
Time slows down; it slows down so much that I can feel the weight of my heart in my chest. I feel the strain from my muscles as my heart constricts and, in this moment, it hurts. I take a deep breath trying to validate myself; I still can. Instead of the deep intake I know my lungs are capable of, in an instant it feels as if I am battling a cold. My nose becomes useless, my throat struggles to function without hurting, and my lungs express their gratitude for every half breath that makes it to them.
I close my eyes, retreating to the most dangerous and powerful place possible – my mind. What is happening to me? Why am I doing this to myself? Panic starts to set in. I need time to speed up again for my body to go back to normal. I thought I was past this – did I not beat this beast?
I have found a new level of disappointment in myself. Its one thing to fail and be able to rest on blame or justify, but now I know it is all me all the time. I have nothing to rest upon but myself. The worst and best part is knowing that only I choose to see it as failure and only I have the power to stop.
How can I fail me like this?
I open my mouth and desperation is all I can get out, a plea for this to stop. I am fully aware I’m below the line; I don’t even try to move into other mental states. This is what I am capable of right now and in this moment I am ok with it.
My heart beats again and the familiar pain in my chest is met with an unrelenting weight laying across my entire body. How can I be sitting here in my house and feel as if I am 10,000 feet below the surface with the weight of the ocean pressing down on me?
There is so much energy coursing through my body; it searches for outlets. Tears and punching the air are all it can find.
I haven’t felt like this in months; how could I do this to myself? I know they didn’t cause this – it isn’t their fault. I know my ownership is manifesting as shame. I know yet I am still choosing this.
How can a choice I made that is so organic and natural cause so much pain? Do I trust me more than anything else? Am I being negatively selfish? Questions race through my head before my heart can beat.
We have the ability to feel so immensely, so deeply, and so passionately. The challenge is those feelings are not always positive. The absolute amazing, freeing, powerful portion is that we have complete control and ownership over these feelings.
Wiping tears away, letting go, and putting all the walls down I expose the core of me. I let go of all the fight I had, all the ego, and beliefs. I simply embrace who I am and the feelings I am choosing to experience. All focus shifts to learning to breathe again.
The reason I feel this way is irrelevant. The thing, the people, the conversation, the days, the sleepless nights that led to this moment of pure fright and desperation all have one thing in common.
I chose them, I created them, and I attracted them. I did this.
I don’t care anymore why I did this. The only important question is will I continue to do it?
Opening my eyes feels like I have lived an entire lifetime in what has only been a few minutes. My hands shake as they reach for the collar of my shirt pulling it as far as possible away from my neck.
Breathe. I know I can. I know I will be ok. As soon as I am ready to stop doing this, I will.
My lungs expand and finally fill to capacity. My heart beats faster again and the weight starts to lift from my chest. I am still here. Closing my eyes again I can do nothing more than take one breath at a time.
The sun bursts forth as my lids raise and I know instantly – this is my limit. This is my line in the sand. I have reached the amount of confront I can handle at this point. Without having to tell my lungs to expand again as the weight lifts entirely. I am at my limit of confront.
Wow – that is a new awareness I have never experienced before.
It was over. I let go. The energy that had built up so intensely to only find release in tears was now redirected through every centimeter and ounce in my body.
This is my human rollercoaster ride of responsibility. No matter how much self-awareness I have, no matter how much I exercise my confront-muscle, I will remain human. I will experience fear, panic, and pain. Most importantly though, I get to be fully present in my reality and know that I have choice. When I am ready, I can choose to feel the way I want. I can forgive myself for being human and move forward, stronger and more aware than before.
Jessica Soroky, CSM
Jessica is a Certified Scrum Master with over three years of practice in agile delivery and seven years of team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.
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