When computers get bogged down and stop performing well, “defragging” is often the first step. It’s the process of sorting through all the fragments of files and programs that have been spread across the hard drive and grouping them back together in a way that the computer can easily access them.
Imagine if you had to hunt for your mouse, your monitor, and your power plug every time you wanted to use your computer. Or if you had to find your shoes, wallet, keys, and coat every time you needed to go out (something I do more than I care to admit.)
It’s a pretty inefficient way for computers — and people — to get anything done, so we need this spring cleaning and organization process to get things back to optimal performance.
So what about when we feel stuck as individuals and don’t feel like we’re living our best selves? Or when businesses are stuck, fail to thrive, and can’t make forward progress? Or when our society is split in two with seemingly irreconcilable differences? Or when we are unable to fix big hairy issues with no single root cause — like homelessness, deforestation and climate change — with our (you guessed it) fragmented approach to problem-solving?
Yep. Defrag it all.
The process shows up a little differently depending on the context, but it’s the same concept at the core.
I’ve been at this defrag business for a long time… much longer than I’d realized. I was stuck personally for decades.
It really sucks when you read through old journals and realize you’re writing the exact. same. thing. over and over and over, never seeming to learn how to breakthrough.
Because I couldn’t see the fragmentation in myself, I tried to fix it wherever I could out there. I worked on how to defrag businesses and big systemic problems, calling the process “getting all the wood behind one arrow:” When people are aligned on the same goal and have a way to prioritize the best way forward, we can go farther, faster.
And recently, over the past five years or so, I finally did break through personally.
Not all at once, but consistently and gradually.
Like Michelangelo carving David out of a rock, I carved away everything that wasn’t Jen. Small successes built the confidence to take bigger risks and to release more and more ways that I’d inaccurately defined myself.
And now I can look back and see how all the challenges we face in ourselves, businesses, and societies have their roots in fragmentation and isolation. Us versus them. Rejecting the un-rejectable parts of ourselves, our humanity, our world.
What does “defragging the self” look like?
Well… first of all, we need to figure out if it needs to be defragged.
Are you showing up as one person in your personal life and a different one at work? That’s a pretty big clue. Are you hiding behind a mask out of fear that people won’t like the real you? Another big clue. Do you have totally separate goals for every area of your life, that don’t fit together and create feelings of overwhelm? Yep. Another clue.
Defragging means to get focused on who you really are… how you want to feel… your core needs that need to be met in any/every area of your life. Find the whole, integrated human being buried under the rubble of shoulds, expectations, and trying not to feel like an outlier.
We’re ALL outliers to one extent or another. Just own it already.
Revel in your individuality.
Whole, healthy organizations are created by whole, healthy leaders. If you’re a game-changing leader or entrepreneur who feels trapped by overwhelm or is simply tired of playing the game, let’s talk. You can book a complimentary session here.