Written by Tammy Stanley
Most adults know what it means to have an agenda, and it is not uncommon for us to talk about others who have one. However, at my first Team Management and Leadership Program weekend in November I was introduced to a slightly different concept, namely, operating from my own agenda. As I had never considered this concept, I quickly assumed it probably did not apply to me. Yes, yes – I suspect that you immediately see the inauthenticity of that thought!
When I awoke on Saturday morning I felt incredibly excited to get started and attend the session in the big ballroom, until I was stopped at the ballroom doors and was asked to leave my cup of tea outside. The opportunity was right there for me to see how my disappointment and frustration all resulted from operating from my own agenda, but I missed the opportunity in that moment because I knew the hotel would allow me to drink my tea in the room as long as I had purchased it at the hotel. This was not about me operating from my own agenda; I had a “good reason” to be upset!
During the lunch break on Sunday our team had much to accomplish, and when I arrived in our meeting room I learned that we were going to accomplish those things before having someone go and retrieve the food we had ordered. To say that I felt unhappy about that would be a gross understatement. After our team reached a point of completion, I muttered, “All right, can we eat now?” Yes, I withheld that comment from the rest of my team because I did not want to discuss another thought or emotion that would delay lunchtime any longer! Hmm… I wonder if I could have been operating from my own agenda! Do I need to mention that I told myself that I was not because I had a good reason – I was hungry!
When I returned home after that first weekend, I experienced a couple of breakdowns in communication, and more specifically around requests from my team. For example, a request came by email to get our Game in the World to our committed colleagues and to our coach by a specific time and date. I got mixed up about the correct time and date. I told myself that could easily happen to first quarter on Team participant. However, when I finally chose to look at what was so, as opposed to my story and my reasons, I saw that operating from my own agenda was what had gotten in the way – when the email request came through, I was busy with a writing project and chose to put that request into existence later. That “later” never happened, but I was not concerned because I have a great memory. I invite you to consider that my great memory is really great at remembering requests in terms of how they work best for my schedule, and therefore my own agenda!
When I finally became present to the way in which I was operating, a whole new possibility opened up for me – the possibility to set my own agenda aside and to fully commit myself to being the distinction Team! A delightful situation arose – space and room showed up in my schedule. I suddenly found myself seizing opportunities to reach out to people and make a difference where before I felt certain I did not have the time. Opportunities showed up as opportunities as opposed to “One more thing I have to do.” I felt relaxed about taking on accountabilities because the conversation that I did not have time for such things in my schedule was no longer the conversation in which I was engaged.
I not only experienced freedom in this new way of being, but I also experienced the real difference I began to make for others by taking on requests without hesitation and offering support where before it occurred as though I was too busy. But the most amazing transformation took place quite unexpectedly. For years I had wanted my daughter-in-law feel completely free to talk to me and be with me like one of my own daughters, but no matter how many times I authentically shared my inauthentic ways of being, I felt as though something remained in the way. Indeed there was something in the way – my own agenda! I never realized how my generosity was always inside my own agenda. Once my own agenda was out of the way, my daughter-in-law had no trouble expressing deep gratitude for who I am for her, and in a moment our relationship transformed – love and affinity fully present!
How wondrous that there is no room for your own agenda in the distinction Team! By releasing your own agenda to express Team, a whole new world of possibility and opportunity presents itself.