My first RTC Intervention came quite a while, I think, before we named it. I had just returned home from Australia and flown to Florida to meet David, Erin, and Corey for one of our retreats. I had almost not made it, because my personal life was a raw, wildly beating pulse of uncertainty, and I had no clue when—or if—it would return to normal rhythm.
And no one from the company knew about it. That was, until Corey asked if he could purchase my ticket and I said, “I don’t know if I can go.”
One night, over designer beer in a dark pub, Erin asked, “Why didn’t you tell us what’s been happening?”
I shrugged, prickly with discomfort. “It just didn’t seem . . . I don’t know, professional. I didn’t want to cross that line—make you doubt that I was capable of doing my job.”
Clearly, I was still under the mistaken impression that RTC was a normal company.
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The team gaped at me. “‘Professional?’” Dave repeated. “We ask our clients to be vulnerable all the time—you ask them to be vulnerable all the time—and yet, you weren’t willing to be vulnerable with us. No one would doubt that you could do your job. But now I’m uncomfortable knowing that you could keep these big life events from us. It makes me feel like we could just suddenly be left in the lurch. It makes me feel like I trust you less.”
When it comes to confrontation of any kind, even the gentlest, most loving type, I’m a crier. So I began furiously wiping tears, angry at myself for being hypocritical and not trusting my team, angry at my team for demanding I share personal struggles that not even I had fully wrapped my mind around, and then angry at myself again for my anger at everyone, everything.
Then I talked. I peeled myself open and, through a heat of embarrassment and tears, told them of my scaldingly recent separation, how painful the last year had been, how little I knew what the future held. Erin leaned toward me in the booth and pulled me into the tightest, warmest hug, my nose squished into her puffy jacket.
“Love you,” she whispered, rubbing my back.
I cried some more, gurgling back, “Love you, too.”
That was when it really hit me: we weren’t a company with a staid, stark line between Professional and Personal—two realms whose occupants were never supposed to see one another, let alone touch. We were a family. A new one, perhaps. A growing one. But one that unapologetically required the same thing we ask of our clients: the trusting willingness to strip off the smile and reveal whatever hides beneath, even if it feels, well, unloveable.
Because that’s the thing with the RTC Intervention (to which I am now no stranger): no matter how uncomfortable, invaded, defensive, or frightened it makes you feel, at its heart is love.
I don’t know why that would surprise me.