Bridging worlds? If you’re a social entrepreneur, a spiritual entrepreneur, a creative or a mum who wants to utilise entrepreneurial skills, this one’s for you.
Here’s how we happened upon this ‘bridging worlds issue’ with our Women Speaking Up students.
One student was commenting in one of our live workshops;
My problem with being visible is I’m trained professionally as an accountant. So I have technical qualifications and skills, but am also interested in personal development and one of the things that frustrates me in the financial world is the lack of understanding about the inner world. Then one of the things that I find limiting about the personal development realm is the lack of tangible and practical tools to help people manage their money.
In other words, she existed in the middle but couldn’t work out how to be visible there.
On the one hand, she was drawn to the logic, rationality and practicality of the financial world. On the other, she is drawn to the emotional and energetic wisdom, and intuitive guidance, available in the personal development realm.
Her problem was she didn’t feel she fit in either place.
I try to show up fully in the financial realm and that feels inauthentic. Then I try to show up fully in the personal development realm and that feels inauthentic. I just don’t think there’s a space for me.
After some discussion, here’s what we uncovered; she needed to claim the middle but was afraid to do so.
After all, everyone else seemed to be in a box; either this group or that group.
At the time of writing this, we’re living in a world where there’s deep entrenchment amongst human beings. We’ve been indoctrinated by a hierarchical model of thinking where only one person or one perspective can dominate at any one point in time.
So, people are lining up to stand for something or against something. And in many ways, this is a very beneficial thing on the planet. It sets the parameters for the new normal we’re building. We’re clarifying what we will and won’t allow in the future we’re building.
However, if you’re trying to stand in the middle of that, to reach across the aisle and find some value in a differing perspective, your actions might be perceived as dangerous or weak. Perhaps as a compromise, when this is not a time for compromise.
If you’ve come up against that thinking, here the thing to know; if you were born to bridge worlds, you will always stand in the middle. You will always look for connections where others don’t see them.
You were born to do that. It’s part of your assignment on planet earth.
By virtue of being a bridge person, you won’t be in the extremes of each camp which means you’re never going to show up as a true believer in either camp. And while you’re trying to fit your round self into their square box, you’ll always have visibility issues.
But when you redefine yourself not as ‘an outsider’ but as ‘a middle person’ then you’re better able to focus your visibility efforts and cut through the noise being created by the opposing sides. You’ll be able to carve out space where it feels like there is none.
Here’s the vitally important mindset tweak to keep in mind when you’re a bridge person;
- When you stand in the middle you’re not saying no to the perspective presented by either side. You’re saying yes to a lot of both perspectives.
Rather than operating in a world of either/or, you’re coming from the perspective of both/and.
When you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to speak in a way that people will hear you, this is the place to begin. By reminding yourself and your audience that there’s such a thing as both/and.
In other words, you can benefit from financial management tools and have a deep understanding of how money blocks work and you can learn to break through those blocks to improve your capacity to use those tools.
Or you can be deeply committed to social justice and use the tools of entrepreneurship to increase your impact in the world. That doing so doesn’t make you a sell-out, it makes you smart. It means you’re more committed to achieving outcomes than you are to being ‘right’.
- Always remember; you’re adding to each world, not taking from it. When you position things from that perspective, you’re more likely to bring more people on board than when they feel that you’re taking something from them (especially when that thing is connected to their identity or sense of self).
So, your first strategy is this; rather than trying to change yourself, stay in the middle and pick and choose the resonant pieces from each camp, then create a space in the middle that reflects that.
Of course, you’re going to have to overcome some visibility blocks. Internal fears that are niggling with questions like; ‘What if I’m different? What will that mean? Will people judge me? Will I be rejected?’ So some inner investigation and clean up are needed.
It’s important to be aware that setting out as a bridge person can feel lonely for a while. But that’s only until you realise just how many people there are who actually want to occupy the middle space. They just don’t know how, because there’s so much noise at either end of the spectrum.
They need someone to show them what occupying the middle looks like.
They need you.
A really useful guiding question to ask yourself every time you find yourself trying to fit neatly back into one of the entrenched camps is this; What’s the middle ground I’m bridging? Or what are the connecting themes between the areas I’m bridging?
Invariably you’ll find that the worlds you’re bridging have themes in common. They appear not to because people are coming at the topic from a different set of assumptions or interests. If however, you take the time to look, you’ll find that they have a common energetic underpinning. And when you capture that, you’ll have uncovered your visibility anchor. (The theme you can anchor into which will connect all of your content and messaging.)
Here are some potential anchoring themes and energies for a variety of topics;
- Spirituality and entrepreneurship = freedom
- Social justice and entrepreneurship = changing the world
- Creatives and entrepreneurship = creative expression
- Motherhood and entrepreneurship = logistics/project management, service, connection
- Finance and personal development = freedom or security or safety
- Feminism and fitness = body positivity
- Feminism and the birthing industry = women’s sovereignty over their own bodies.
Identifying the common energetic underpinning and anchoring into that – in your communication and messaging – is what brings communities together.
And that, by bridging friend, is precisely what you were born to do.
The middle of the venn diagram is your space. Go claim it.