Steve Jobs is well known for his quote, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes … the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. … You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. … They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
This is one of my favourite quotes. The crazy ones do in fact push the human race forward. They make people think. They inspire. And very honestly they provide a place for many to park their skepticism and criticism and fears. While the crazies do, many watch in judgement.
Until Sunday at around 10am I have referred to myself as the “crazy”. This self naming gave allowed me to label my behaviour without really having to explain. It allowed me to pursue learnings, try things, put myself out there, … “colour outside the lines”… When people furrowed their brows and asked – why to my “antics” I easily responded with because I am crazy. The askers would offer their often negative commentary/judgement and I would continue on, wounded but determined.
During my 5 “Nature Vigil” (1 day workshop with a group of approx 40, 3 days alone in a tent with no amenities, no tech and nothing to eat but a fasting solution, closed with 1 day with the group) on highly charged native lands the overall theme of my personal learnings was “everyone thinks you are crazy until you are not”. We each had to explain our learnings to the group and so I explained, everyone thinks you are crazy until all of a sudden your work is identified as significant or game changing or life changing, until you inspire another or,… In fairness all pioneers have at first been defined as crazy. I explained that I have done and continue to do many things which others do not and to all those in my circle I justify my actions by defining myself as crazy so that people just let me continue on my path. At the end of my explanation, our guide, an acclaimed man; a shaman, a business leader, a husband, a father, a friend, a mentor, a good human,… reached for my hand and asked to comment on my learnings. This man has known me for some time now and he has watched my development at work and now in these workshops and so when he comments on my learnings I know he “knows” and he “knows me”. Holding my hand he asked me to let go of crazy and to embrace “visionary”. To stop diminishing my gift. My eyes filled with tears. He held my hand and went on to explain and provide context and some examples. I am not crazy, I am a visionary – crazy has been my mask. Its time to get rid of the mask.
I know this about myself, this visionary capability. I see things people cannot. I move from A to Z and 1 to 10 at the speed of light because I can see the end game quickly. I am challenged to pace through the steps/stops in between because I flow through them very rapidly. While I have known this about myself I have not fully embraced/owned it.
Several years ago a girlfriend quickly said in a conversation, “you know you are a visionary” and I laughed her off but it stuck in my mind. Earlier this month I did some one on one business and personal brand architecture work and the guide (highly acclaimed) identified me as a visionary also. I did not laugh this comment off.
Those guiding and teaching me are using the term/label – now it is my turn. On Sunday in front of my Nature Vigil friends I declared that I would embrace this about myself.
I know I am a visionary. I have been far too humble to stake my claim. I have been far too wounded by years of criticism and judgement over my “visionary” perspectives and my relentless curiosity and pursuit of knowledge (in general) and self awareness to say it out loud – crazy is easier.
I have known I am a visionary since I was 8 years old – I don’t even think my parents know this about me.
There were many other significant learnings while on the Vigil and they will unfold in the days ahead but the key one is owning my gift. I do love crazy but it is not correct and it diminishes me and my gift.
So the mask is off, in fact I have thrown it away (with some fear as it has provided a safe haven for years).