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A Beginner’s Guide to Falling Apart

I haven’t been myself lately.

In fact, since my dad died about six weeks ago, between you and me, “not myself” is an understatement.

The truth is, I’ve been a bit of a basket case. It’s a ‘falling apart’ of sorts. All messy and not very pretty.

I have found myself resisting the discomfort of this space, rushing to get through or around this new territory.

And yet, there’s also a part of me that is curious – as detached as a US border control official – as to what happens to us when things don’t go according to plan. When things (we/products/organisations/relationships) crumble. When we journey into po*.

There is a natural resistance to…

Unravelling
Deconstruction
Darkness
Death (of a product, a dream, a relationship)
Descending into the metaphorical “underworld”
Not knowing

But I’m learning the more I resist this ‘falling apart’, the more it persists – just with a bit more of a brutal scorpion-tail sting.

So what I’m currently sitting with is:

What if I lean into this dark cave-like space?
What if I seek to see its gifts?
Or, at the very least, allow myself to BE in it?

After all, it is the natural order of things. The ongoing balance of life.

Where there is day, there is night.
Where there is light, there is darkness.
Where there is sunshine, there is rain.

What would happen if organisations and leaders were more comfortable with this energy of dying? Falling apart? Endings? The darkness of ‘not knowing’?

What would happen if we stopped feeling the need to have it all worked out? To be ‘held together’ all the time?

What would emerge if leaders were vulnerable more often?

*Po is the Maori word for darkness or night.

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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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