FullSizeRenderIn a contracting world we have a choice to make: we can contract along with it, shrinking in the face of so much uncertainty, allowing the unknown to overwhelm us. Or, we can expand ourselves to meet the moment, growing larger both in our belief about what’s possible and in our efforts to create the new “known.”

Contraction looks and sounds like this:

Holding on to what we know at all cost, desperate to preserve the status quo.



Diminishment of others, their ideas and their potential.






“It’s already been done.”

“This is how it’s done.”

“It can’t be done.”

“Don’t bother.”

“You’re an idealist/a pollyanna/a dreamer/a pushover.”

Expansiveness looks and sounds like this:

More and better questions.



Understanding self and others.

Exploration…walking new paths.

Connecting dots.


“I don’t know.”

“You decide.”



Paying attention to the natural world.

“Let’s go see.”

“What did we discover?”

“What’s next?”

“Who else wants to play?”

There’s a huge opportunity right now to become the kind of leader you want to follow. You have to say “no” to every impulse you have to stay small and “yes” to every opportunity to grow, expand, include and learn. How will you know the difference?

Start by paying attention. Trust what you see and hear.

DAVID BERRY is the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world, especially the parts where he doesn’t handle it very well. If you enjoyed this post someone else might, too. Please pass it along.

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