The Tyranny of “They”

fullsizeoutput_1860

There are many, many bright and thoughtful people who will be happy to tell you which path to follow. It’s much easier to play armchair quarterback with someone else’s life so opinions come freely and often.

The tyranny of “they” afflicts us in two ways:

First, it supports our reservations about declaring our path through an invasive voice that asks, “What will they think?”

Second, it muddies our efforts at clarity by allowing too many theys to have a say.

They are vital for support, strength and guidance. But only a select few. For my money, this is a combination that works well:

One person who loves you unconditionally; a person who only wants the best for you and will take extraordinary measures to make sure that you get it.

PLUS…

One person who respects you; someone who is familiar with your work but has an arm’s-length distance in personal matters. This person believes in you and holds a broad and diverse perspective.

PLUS…

One person who challenges you; someone who has a track record of telling it to you straight. They don’t suffer fools and aren’t concerned about offending. You’ve probably disagreed with them before and will again.

When I finally decided to leap a number of years ago, my wife said “Of course…we will make it work.” A former boss said “Let’s talk this through” and coached me to the strategies vital to successful first steps. And an associate spoke plainly about the potential pitfalls ahead.

In the end, the decision was mine. And it was made with loving, respectful and challenging support.


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.

Coming and going

La ruta nos aportó otro paso natural = The path provides the natural next step.


It’s not only that this spanish phrase is a nifty palindrome but the way that it’s essence as a palindrome combined with its meaning gives it so much usable weight.

Whether you are coming from or going towards, you are in motion, on a path from what has been to what will be. What you know from walking that path is that it is as much the walking as it is the path that shapes your experience.

What have you begun that hasn’t shape-shifted into something you could not have anticipated?

What has become of your life that you could not have predicted all those years ago?

What new path do you yearn to walk, the encounter with which you imagine with a specificity bordering on fantasy?

It never goes as you think it will. But that doesn’t keep you from walking. It only helps you do so with a keener sense of curiosity, enthralled by the holiness of the unknown.

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.