Rock The Boat

by Patrick McNerthney

There’s nothing worse than being deemed so competent, driven, and inspiring that you’re promoted to a leadership role. Lucky for me I’ve only been burdened with this once when I was with an ad agency. I became so unbearable and off-putting that the entire office rebelled and moved my stuff into the parking lot until I agreed to forgo my new title. And, unfortunately, my raise.

After a week of pleading they eventually allowed me to move my stuff back inside. 

In contrast, I have a peer who is much more normal than me and also quite empathetic – she was recently asked to take on more responsibility at her work, which she gladly did in an ego-less way that her organization really appreciates. Go figure. However, now she is “managing the managers,” “going to meetings,” and “missing the everyday interactions with her teams and clients.


(I think they were trying to tell me something.)  

Which means overall, she now finds her job less exciting or interesting.                                                                   

Of course, this also provides an opportunity to make some big changes at her organization. Rather than conform to a pre-established role that meets the expectation of the current leadership, and resign herself to ineffectual meetings and other rote routines, she has a chance to shake things up a bit. 

Hey! I can feel your doubt and resistance to this idea all the way over here. It’s okay, I don’t believe what I just wrote either. As another friend once said about his organization, “I’ve seen what happens when people poke their head too far up from their hole.” The implication being they get smacked for making a ruckus. Bummer.  

Often when we start a job or a career or even when we start our day, we seek the path of least resistance because it feels the safest. This is natural; we humans are wired to seek acceptance from others because we believe our safety and strength increases when we’re part of a collective. We’re afraid to rock the boat because we don’t want to get kicked out of the tribe.

(Actually made for rocking.)

But in order to do work that matters, we often need to welcome  resistance rather than run from it. A willingness to rock the boat comes from embracing the idea that we’re doing so, to make things better for those we seek to serve.  

So when it comes to leadership, we may be lucky enough to be in an organization where we agree with how things are done, where the systems and patterns are constantly questioned, and the answer to why “we do things this way” makes sense. But if this isn’t the case, following rules and short-term error correction makes for good compliance, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for improvement . It takes a mindset open to action to chart a new path, find a new way of doing things, and inspire those around us to trust us enough that they can also be their true selves. 

Fine Art Miracles champions creative expression as a new way to help the elderly and other vulnerable populations suffering at the hands of social isolation. Interactive therapies create engagement, which prevents those you care for from feeling the world has left them behind. Creating and sharing art has also been known  to increase feelings of self-worth, create valuable connection, and provide a channel to express self-mastery. 

Don’t be afraid to rock the boat a bit – you’re doing so for the benefit of those in your charge, to make things better. If you have any questions about how Art Therapy, Music Therapy, or Dance & Movement Therapy can help you shake things up, please reach out. Fine Art Miracles is happy to help! 

In the meantime I’m going to go out there and see if I can find a way to get promoted again. Since I work from home now, nobody can throw my stuff outside. Although now that I think about it they could lock me out of the Zoom room, so never mind.



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