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Don't de-bug your features.
It feels like you’re pushing a rope up a hill, until you’ve got it. Once you’ve got it, it feels more like guiding a boulder down the other side.
A wise colleague used this metaphor to describe product-market fit (PMF) the other day and I can’t stop thinking about it.
Not only is this the most evocative and truthful description I’ve encountered of PMF, but I am also starting to think:
His words might be even bigger than products and markets. This rope-push/boulder-guide theory could be…well… a metaphor for everything.
And if not everything, at least for how we find fit in the relationships and environments around us.
How do you know if you’ve got a rope-push or a boulder-guide situation on your hands?
I know I’m in a rope-push as soon as someone says one word attached to any of my essential qualities:
I have been too something for plenty of someones. Maybe you have, too?
In annual reviews, informal feedback sessions, and professional + personal break ups, a small sample of what I’ve been told I am “too much” of:
Those who think a turtle’s too is a bug to be smashed are the same people:
Who are driven by a system* designed to deliver repeatability and conformity (*which I will sometimes broadly refer to as the Matrix, inspired by the film of the same name).
Who find your abundance to threaten their lacking.
It’s really too bad for them, because those are our best features.
While we’re on the topic, I have a confession to make:
Nineteen days before my fortieth birthday, I’ve managed to never grow up. And I don’t plan on starting.
Most of the ‘too muchas’ listed above I’ve been purposely cultivating since kindergarten.
They are my superpowers. (Or my too-per-powers if you’ll allow me to coin a new term1 😉)
My too-per-powers have been nurtured by nature, my parents (especially by my mom), listening to my intuition, and by many teacher-guides along the way.
My too-per-powers have opened doors and minds across aisles and industries.
Protecting and standing for my too-per-powers has shown me that:
Shining my light invites others to do the same (the higher I climb, the further the light can carry✨);
When others shine—without absorbing false prophecies—outsized impacts are had;
When outsized impacts are had, there is actual magic that vibrates across space and time. More is possible. Joy is abundant. Belonging is infinite. 🪄🕰 🛸
Okay turtles, let’s land this saucer for the week…
Prompts for Thought
What are you potentially discouraging when you give feedback? how might you rework your approach so you don’t inadvertently curb someone’s magic?
How might you reframe feedback around your ‘too-per-powers’? What’s the ‘why’ behind the feedback? what might be a false prophecy? how might you discern between the two?
Discernments for Thought
Listen and feel for the rope-pushing moments (e.g. draining, combative, obtuse). Don’t let them last too long. Don’t let them distract, derail, or diminish you. Deselect, deprioritize, and play through them when and where you can.
Listen and feel for the boulder-guiding moments (e.g. such ease, so engaging, very energizing). Who is present? How are you showing up? What are the outcomes? How can you design more of your life to feel this way?
Okay turtles, let’s close it out with help from one of my most favorite musicians singing one of my favorite bops:
I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
Oh, but what will it take till you believe in me /
The way that I believe in you?
I said I love you, that's forever
And this I promise from the heart, mmm /
I couldn't love you any better
I love you just the way you are, right.
You are wonderful, just the way you are.
Too-per-powers is a portmanteau I just made up. It combines “too” and “superpowers”. In linguistics, a portmanteau is a single morph that is analyzed as representing two (or more) underlying morphemes. Infinite gratitude to Erin for teaching me in 2019 that there’s a delicious word for something I love doing.