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The Place Beyond Fear and Hope

We're featuring another article by Margaret Wheatley. Wheatley writes, teaches, and speaks about how we can organize and accomplish our work in chaotic times. In this article Wheatley notes that, for many, life these days is a roller coaster ride between hope and fear, oscillating wildly between what’s possible and what is. Once liberated from these two extremes, we can discover clarity and energy, but the journey requires behaviors that don’t come naturally or that we have actively avoided.

Highlights from the Article

Those who endure, who have stamina for the long haul and become wiser in their actions over time, are those who are not attached to outcomes. They don’t seek security in plans or accomplishments. They exchange certainty for curiosity, fear for generosity. They plunge into the problem, treat their attempts as experiments, and learn as they go. This kind of insecurity is energizing; people become engaged in figuring out what works instead of needing to be right or worrying about how to avoid failure.

A willingness to feel insecure, then, is the first step. It leads to the far more challenging state: groundlessness. This means knowing that nothing ever remains the same, learning to live with the unrelenting constant of change, realizing that even the good things won’t last forever, accepting that change is just the way it is.

We would feel stronger if we stopped searching for ground, if we sought only to locate ourselves in the present and do our work from here. All fear (and hope) arises from looking backward or forward. The present moment is the only place of clear seeing unclouded by hope or fear. Only in the present moment, free from hope and fear, do we receive the gifts of clarity and resolve. Freed also from anger, aggression, and urgency, we are able to see the situation clearly, take it all in, and discover what to do. This clarity reveals “right action” - those actions that feel genuinely appropriate in this moment without any concern about whether they will succeed or not.

In the end, it isn’t outcomes that matter. It’s people, our relationships, that give meaning to our struggles. If we free ourselves from hope and fear, from having to succeed, we discover that it becomes easier to love. We are consoled and strengthened by being together. We need each other. Liberated from hope and fear, we find ourselves receiving the gift of patience. We abandon the pursuit of effectiveness and watch as our urgency fades and patience appears. Patience is, perhaps, this journey’s destination.

Read the full article here.

The Gifted Perspective

Staying grounded in the present has been a recurring theme for me for the past few years. It’s an essential life skill and, more and more, it’s also a critical leadership skill in today’s workplace. But it’s an incredibly difficult competency to master, especially for those of us raised in Western culture. Trust me, I know. I’m not very good at it at all.

That may be because it involves 1) a willingness to feel insecure (nope, not me), 2) the ability to remain unattached to outcomes and let go of the need to be in control (are you serious?!), and 3) a level of comfort with being in constant “limbo” in the face of ever changing external circumstance (okay, strike three, I’m out!). Thank God for my coach, Brad Britton, who is helping me get off the roller coaster ride between fear and hope and to embrace an uncertain future with curiosity, generosity, patience, and learning as I go.

At Gifted Leaders, we want to partner with you to coach, consult, support, and encourage you through the change process involved in your journey beyond fear and hope - your journey to becoming an #EnlightenedRebel. Contact us today about individual leadership coaching or our Teams That Talk™ coaching approach!


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