A More Daring Life? No, thanks.

DSC08616On 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.

Put Out Into Deep Water

Casting-Net-Maintenance

Each one of us has a net in which we capture an understanding of ourselves. That net is strong, it can hold a lot. And testing that strength scares us so we don’t do it very often, if ever. Instead, we keep tossing our net in the shallow end of our experience, catching and re-catching what we have long known about ourselves, hoping that this time the limitations of our understanding won’t hold us back, won’t prevent us from getting closer to our heart’s desire.

Put out into deep water. Go to the depths that frighten you. Find there, in the shadowy darkness of the water a revelation of who you are. Only then will you be equipped to determine what serves you and what must be thrown back. 

Each one of us has a net in which we gather the collective force of our connection to others. That net is strong, it can hold a lot. And testing that strength scares us so we don’t do it very often, if ever. Instead, we keep tossing our net on the surface of our experience, keeping our relationships at a safe distance, rarely risking bringing them closer and almost never including someone new. We falsely believe that this distance protects us, reducing the risk of being known for who we truly are.

Put out into deep water. Go to the depths that frighten you. Find there, in the shadowy darkness of the water a revelation of who loves you, just as you are. Only then will you be equipped to close the difficult distance between the fear of loss and the exponential truth of full relationship.  

Each one of us has a net in which we collect all the learning of our adult life. That net is strong, it can hold a lot. And testing that strength scares us so we don’t do so very often, if ever. Instead, we toss our net in the shallow waters of what is known, comforted by the embrace of the status quo, keeping a wide territory between us and the edge of the new with its persistent threat of exposure, embarrassment and failure.

Put out into deep water. Go to the depths that frighten you. Find there, in the shadowy darkness of the water a revelation of new learning. Only then will you be equipped to say “I am, and always have been a beginner.” 

Each one of us has a net. It is large and strong. It works fine along the shore but it is built for deeper water.

It cannot throw itself.

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. If you enjoyed this post someone else might, too. Please pass it along.