The Maverick Challenge

For the maverick, life presents a series of challenges which she will tackle with her formidable problem solving skills. She may even distinguish herself as a crisis management expert. But after the crisis is over, and in spite of multiple victories, the unmoderated maverick breaks some glass here and there. Relationships function at some level, business gets done, but there are occasional bouts of unjustified ranting, or too direct public pronouncements or any other manner of flare up.

Mavericks are so good at what they do, that the people around them often overlook or tolerate the maverick flare ups. For the rest of the mavericks, they are in a slow cooking cauldron that will eventually manifest in a mess, unless the maverick summons the courage to begin the process of change.

This cannot happen unless the maverick decides that it needs to happen. Remember, what a maverick resists, persists. The very thing that you loathe to look at may be the very thing that you need to look at.

If a maverick prefers to be “right” over growth and harmony, he will forfeit the next higher level of personal evolution, which is harmonious relationships. Harmony is the ultimate state of maverick effectiveness.

A maverick who decides to head on, straight up, take on his maverick challenge will learn to use his power fairly, to be inclusive and to act as a community builder, thereby amping up his interpersonal effectiveness. There is no denying when a maverick has done this work because his whole being becomes lighter, more persuasive, and more artful. He becomes charismatic.

And then the fun begins. A liberated maverick is an awesome power to be released.

The Nature of Power:

Power is about influence, quite simply. Charismatic people are influential people. Mavericks are naturally influential, but may still need to learn to moderate their wattage. This is a function of personal power. The kind of personal power techniques that I teach to mavericks are directly related to the art of persuasion, positive direct communication models and self mastery.

During Charm School for Mavericks, mavericks are taught to deploy interpersonal skills with intention, compassion and discretion by becoming self aware, consciously adjusting their social signals, and developing the will to evolve.

Anyone can learn these skills easily if she so chooses. The hurdle for a maverick is to dig deep enough to acknowledge she can sharpen the saw; to embrace the need for personal change; and to commit to a better life of more harmony. Otherwise, she may resist the coaching process and progress will be stalled. I don’t allow mavericks to come to the seminar unless they are ready. They may be pushed by their peers, spouses, bosses or children, and that is fine. However, the maverick himself must ultimately accept his maverick challenge before true growth can occur.

Because mavericks are by their nature very powerful, they often have big armor and a deep fortress that has served them well before, but which may actually impede them now. The very adaptations and defense mechanisms that have served them earlier in life may now become actual impediments to further progress and growth.

Peeling the Onion:

Mavericks are usually multifaceted. They often come to any challenge with an array of skills, tactics, and strategies. They are CEO’s, and other officers, because they are usually at the top of any organization they are in. They are attorneys, judges, executives and other leaders, who know how to get the job done. Mavericks are often survivors of harsh circumstances and know how to forge themselves into what they want to be.

It takes more strength to be vulnerable, after learning how to be really strong, than it takes for a vulnerable person to become stronger. Once you are in a position of strength, it is very difficult to listen to the counter-intuitive suggestion that you need to allow some of your vulnerabilities to come out and guide you so that you are more compassionate and personable.

Some mavericks are “sent” to Charm School for Mavericks because they have just experienced a blunder or failure of some kind and their managers want them to get with the program.

As we peel away the awesome strength, we get to the tender part and acknowledge emotions as a guiding force. Instead of shunning emotions or stuffing them down, we embrace their message and release them. This is the path of the peaceful warrior. The internal battle ceases, we feel released of the lifetime of accumulated tensions and find ourselves easing into harmony. The old programs cease and we start to live intentionally.

Peace through Strength:

It is our strength as mavericks that may be the very thing that allows us to do the deepest work that a person can do. Jung called this individuation. Others have referred to it as self fulfillment, dream work, or life planning. For mavericks, I call the process Charm School because it is a process of learning how to harmoniously get what you want out of life. We mavericks deserve nothing less.

L. Kay Wilson is the founder of Charm School for Mavericks and the Maverick Leadership Institute. She has over eighteen years of experience as an employment lawyer, twelve years of experience as an executive coach and ten years as a professional motivational speaker. Her work and research on principles of trust, the cultivation of safe and fair workplaces, and fair uses of power are on the cutting edge of what current psychology tells us about the motivations and behaviors of people in the workplace. You may reach her at kay@kaywilson.net.