The quote and question after which I titled my first book is, “Are we not safer leading A More Daring Life?”
The motto of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) is Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, meaning “For the Greater Glory of God.” I first learned this phrase in college, at Loyola Marymount University.
When combined, these two phrases form the statement of my personal aspiration:
To lead a more daring life for the greater glory of God.
I know that I am meant to become the fullest possible expression of myself, using the gift of my very life, as well as my innate and developed abilities, to make a positive difference in my family and community.
I know that I am not meant to play it safe, but to venture inward, exploring the territory of myself, and outward, exploring the territory of relationship and learning, in order to risk and to grow. And to always do so in service of something larger than myself, both terrestrial and spiritual.
I cannot say that I have achieved this because I remain a work in progress. I can say that I aspire to this, knowing that my failures are another opportunity to learn. I would rather fail attempting to live up to a high standard, then to set it so low that I guarantee my “success.”
Today is yet another day to lead a more daring life for the greater glory of God.
I took a risk with a client the other day and did not stick the landing. It got a little messy because I was unclear, following a hunch in the moment and sowing confusion from a place of good intention.
The saving grace is that my client is gracious and understanding, willing to stay with me as I hobbled through an effort to take the work to a new place. Our ensuing conversations brought forth a new level of candor which resulted in a new level of understanding and learning. I’m thankful for the way it worked out. I’m glad I followed my hunch and I will be better for it the next time I am inclined to take that risk.
There are times I’ve been a tourist in my work, painting each interaction by number and “meeting expectations” as so many performance review forms blithely state.
There are also times when I’ve been an explorer, attempting to reach unknown places with no map, a hunch and a flashlight.
I will keep pushing myself to explore because every time I do, no matter how dark or stormy or uncertain, something better comes of it. And because good people are always there to help me find my way back home.
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. Connect with him on Twitter at @berrydavid.