Once upon a time there was a beautiful young girl with long golden hair. Well… an average looking 35 year old with shortish brown hair. Her name was Mousy-locks.
Mousy-locks worked in marketing. She wasn’t particularly confident at the best of times. Speaking in front of people was always an ordeal for her. She feared all sorts of things: criticism, people laughing at her, getting things wrong, looking foolish or stupid…
Above all, though, she dreaded meetings with her boss’s, boss’s boss. He was roundish in shape with a head that sunk into his shoulders and a grizzly brown beard. Mousy-locks was terrified of him. She did everything she could to avoid his bark of disapproval. Let’s call him Boss-Bear.
Before a meeting with him she would have weeks of preparation, weeks of sleepless nights and then would sit in silence as he dismissed her proposal with a flick of his head or worse slammed a huge paw down on the table, growling about her incompetence and the-entry-level-basics-that-she-had-completely-failed-to-grasp-and-did-she-even-know-anything-about-marketing-anyway…?
Then one day Mousy-locks went on holiday to Canada, rounded a corner and came face to face with a bear. A real bear. A mother bear. Up on two legs, teeth bared, claws extended, two young cubs copying her. Mousy-locks and her dear husband,
who for some godforsaken reason only known to him had arranged for them to stay in a lodge to which the only access was on mountain bike through a bear-filled forest who she loved with all her heart and whose judgement especially when it came to booking holidays she never questioned, backed away. They moved behind the corner, slowly got their bear spray cans out of their back packs and waited. After half an hour they moved slowly forward again. The bear (let’s call her Real Bear) was gone.
Back in the office, a meeting was scheduled with Boss Bear. Mousy Locks realised something was different. In Canada she had rounded a corner, stared possible death in the face and had known what to do. In the office, what would happen to her? Being criticised? Not getting a promotion? Being shouted at or sacked. Strangely, none of it seemed a problem. She wasn’t so afraid any more.
Except it’s not of course. Because many years later Mousy-locks went on Michael Neill’s Super Coach Academy and thought a bit more about Boss Bear and Real Bear.
She realised that Real Bear was real. A real bear up on her hind legs. Mousy-locks realised that in that moment in the Canadian forest, 100% present, no time for over-thinking or second guessing, she had known what to do. That she always would. Wisdom is always available.
She also realised that Boss Bear was a character in a story. Well there was a bearded person there in the room who was paid more than her but apart from that, she was pretty much making everything else up. A whole long story about what he thought of her and what that imaginary opinion meant, what other people thought of what he said and what would be the consequence of his disapproval, how she couldn’t possibly ever simply say what she saw to be true.
All of it was a carefully constructed story with a carefully constructed villain designed to keep the heroine of our tale as a small mousey person who can’t speak up in meetings, can’t say what she wants and who is scared of people in high places.
So Mousy-locks finished SuperCoach Academy, along the way realising that fairy tales are great until you mistake them for real life. She changed her name to Clare Dimond, Transformative Coach and lived happily ever after.
postscript 1: she hasn’t been back to Canada yet but she definitely will.
postscript 2: her husband really is very good at arranging holidays
postscript 3: she hasn’t seen Boss Bear in a long time but would like to. She owes him an apology.