Going Down

You are already “Growing Down” if:

1. You are over thirty years of age.
2. You are in a leadership position.
3. The longer you are away from work relaxing, the harder it is to return,
4. The people around you seem slow and lacking in initiative.
5. Changing jobs or companies comes to mind while at work.
6. Life seems to be passing you by.
7. You are not as far along in your career as you expected.
8. Others don’t seem to see your unique contribution and value.
9. Someone else always seem to get rewarded for your efforts.
10. You are restless and agitated, but unsure why.

Growing Down refers to a process. A process where we feel a pull or a push to experience parts of life, emotions and feelings, that seem out of our “Normal.” There are many excellent writings on the subject. However, my approach will show that the “Growing Down” process is a natural step in the development of leaders and leadership charisma. Not only the charisma that inspires others to succeed beyond all odds, but a charisma that makes followers want to join you in the next project, and the next, because of “How You Are,” not who you are. I will use the first twenty-seven lines from “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri (1265 -1321), to illustrate the unavoidable journey down into our personal psyche. This journey, conscious or not, will or already is, taking place. The models and skills learned in the Leadership Development Program will use a different lexicon, but the process will safely broaden your personal and professional container to be the kind of leader that can continually lead willing employee beyond normal expectations. Regardless of our feelings of our uniqueness, special talent or privilege, life will pull us down into ourselves through work, family, relationships, illness, depression, financial loss, and chronological aging. In blue type below you can read my interpretation of Dante’s decent into his midlife journey. To read the full text of Canto 1, CLICK HERE.

Canto I: Lines 1through 27
Translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow A Dark Wood The Dark Wood of Error

1 MIDWAY upon the journey of our life

2 I found myself within a forest dark,

3 For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

4 Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say 

5 What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,

6 Which in the very thought renews the fear.

7 So bitter is it, death is little more;

8 But of the good to treat, which there I found,

9 Speak will I of the other things I saw there.

10 I cannot well repeat how there I entered,

11 So full was I of slumber at the moment

12 In which I had abandoned the true way.

13 But after I had reached a mountain's foot, 

14 At that point where the valley terminated,

15 Which had with consternation pierced my heart,

16 Upward I looked, and I beheld its shoulders 

17 Vested already with that planet's rays

18 Which leadeth others right by every road.

19 Then was the fear a little quieted

20 That in my heart's lake had endured throughout

21 The night, which I had passed so piteously

22 And even as he, who, with distressful breath,

23 Forth issued from the sea upon the shore,

24 Turns to the water perilous and gazes; 

25 So did my soul, that still was fleeing onward,

26 Turn itself back to re-behold the pass 

27 Which never yet a living person left.


1.  Our good intention, experience, education and our desire to succeed often fail us in achieving the results wanted from others and/or ourselves.

2.  When helping someone change, understand a concept or take a leap of faith, our good intentions often fall short of our expectations.

3.  Holding on to a vision can be as difficult as trying to hold on to a wave.


1. Understand how you became "wired" and achieve the results desired.
2. Uncover our core "shadow" characteristics and how they prevent desired results.

3. Learn skills to become on the outside what you intend on the inside.  Becoming the wave.

Forest - Wendell Barry, from "The Country of Marriage"

  "... our life reminds me

  of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing

  and in that opening a house,

  an orchard and garden,

  comfortable shades, and flowers...

  The forest is mostly dark, its ways

  to be made anew day after day the dark

  richer than the light and more blessed,

  provided you stay brave

  enough to keep on going in ...


  The Third Body - Robert Bly

  A man and a woman sit near each other,

  and they do not long at this moment to be older, or younger,

  nor born in any other nation,ortime, or place.

  They are content to be where they are, talking or not-talking

  Their breaths together feed someone whom we do not   know.

  The man sees the way his fingers move;

  he sees her hands close around a book she hands to him.

  They obey a third body that they share in common.

  They have made a promise to love that body.

  Age may come, parting may come, death will come.

  A man and a woman sit near each other;

  as they breathe they feed someone we do not know,

  someone we know of, whom we have never seen

Copyright © 2020 Scott Taylor Consulting  All Rights Reserved.

© Scott Taylor 2020