Our ninth Quest2017 prompt comes from Desiree Adaway, a Principal of the Adaway Group. She helps professionals and organizations succeed through transition and growth, and takes on and leads difficult conversations on race, diversity, class, and gender. Desiree asks us:

How have you allowed a system, institution, or tradition to hold you back? What will you do to make sure this does not happen in 2017?

What have I allowed to hold me back? The wording here is important. Not “what holds me back?” but what have I allowed to hold me back. And is that which I’ve allowed to hold me back a system, institution, or tradition, or is it something else? Are there ways in which I am holding myself back?

Here’s what I’m thinking:
I have the potential to be an influencer and game-changer. It’s not a role I’ve wanted, though, for a variety of reasons. My preference has been to live a quieter life. Realizing I make a difference for others in my immediate orbit has been a source of deep satisfaction. I have been sharing my gifts with the world, in a way that meets some of the world’s deep needs. I don’t experience this as holding myself back, but as being in the place I want to be. Yet, is feeling that this is the place I want to be a way of holding myself back? Perhaps so. Perhaps not. Either way, I now feel called to do more.

Though there are countless imperfections and injustices in the traditions, institutions and systems that I’m influenced by, things have been okay enough. There’s even been progress that, while hard to see on a day to day basis, is evident when you look back across the decades I’ve spent on this planet. Today, though, things look different. Today, what stands out in sharp relief is how much more there is to be done. Seeing where there is still so much lack of progress calls me to do something different, something more.

This year we’ve seen the depths of the divides in our country, in our world, outlined in dramatic relief. The question I am asking is, who benefits from this process deeper divides and heightened tensions? Certainly not those who have been oppressed for generations. Certainly not those who voted desperately for change in their flagging economic and social circumstances.

The divides, and the ways in which our world has failed to address them, are not new. It is time to stop holding back. It is time to move ourselves forward, to forge systems, traditions and institutions that allow us to do and be our best. I am ready to help make that happen.

My Previous Quest2017 Posts

As a Human Being

Do You Love Yourself Enough?

Uniquely You

A Force for Good

Sacrifice: Risk, Joy, and the Greater Good

We’ve had a several other prompts; some didn’t lead me to developing blog posts, but to more private reflections. Later, I’ll add some links, so you can find what other Questers are saying on the topic of allowing yourself to be held back.

Interested in learning more about Quest2017?  It’s lead by Jeffrey Davis, Chief Tracker at Tracking Wonder. The Tracking Wonder Quest, begun 3 years ago, gathers up people like you and me, creatives, business artists and professionals, in search of ways to do good and do better in the coming year. You can still join us. The Quest is free, and you will have access to the first five prompts. You can respond privately, post just in our private FB group, or share your responses in your blog on social media.