On a lot of days, I’m just not up for it. Not even close.
I wrote and titled my book “A More Daring Life” precisely because there are days when I want nothing to do with deeper understanding, stronger connection and continuous learning. I wrote it because there are days when I want to make a truce with the world and it’s many odd inhabitants: let’s just leave each other alone for a while.
I wrote it because even on those days when I am up for it, it’s harder than hell to make progress, to learn, to connect…to stay in a much bigger conversation than that for which I feel equipped.
On those days…those days when I’d rather disappear than contend with the hard work of discomfort, edges and insight, I make a deal with myself that goes like this:
First, I remind myself that this is a temporary state, not a permanent condition. That some days, I just need a break. I am a systemic, cyclical creature. I ebb and flow. I progress and regress. It’s just what is.
Second, I challenge myself to get just a little bit curious. What’s going on…what’s been going on that makes this what’s needed now?
Third, I let someone know that this is where I’m at and this is what I need. By sharing it I normalize the feelings and take some of the pressure off to “hurry up and figure it out.”
Fourth and finally, I give myself permission to play small. I find that it’s easy to be seduced by big aspirations. That they always require big actions and big sacrifices, and occasionally they do. But that’s rare. “Playing small” means that I reconcile myself to the necessary truth that all big aspirations are achieved through many small instances of intention knitted together over time.
Some days it’s enough that knowing myself simply means noticing that I am here.
Some days it’s enough that connection simply means noticing that you are here.
Some days it’s enough that exploration simply means recognition of how much I have to learn.
Some days all I can do to lead a more daring life is to simply live my life.
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and 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.