Are you being called to the edge? It’s the place between the known and the unknown, certainty and uncertainty, the current and the new.
The world is brought to an edge when worldviews clash. Industry comes to an edge with the booms and busts of volatile markets. Organizations are called to an edge as they shift from an old to a new identity in moving towards a big opportunity. Teams find themselves at an edge each time they are required to go in an unfamiliar direction. Individuals meet an edge when a belief system is called into question.
Whenever change calls to us, we have a choice.
We can acknowledge our personal and collective edges. Or deny them.
As brink leaders in brink times, we choose to be poised at the edge of change. Recognizing edges allows us the opportunity to slow down and step into the discomfort of a transitional and ambiguous space. To explore the polarity of what is known and unknown, of where we feel sure and unsure. In this fertile ground at the edge, we ourselves, our teams, organizations, and the world have the greatest potential for learning, growth, creativity and innovation.
Julie Diamond, author of A Path Made By Walking, speaks to the majesty and magic of edges when she says, ‘Encountering an edge is like producing art: the interplay between constraint and creativity.’
Sudden, energetic changes signal personal and collective edges. Eruptions and disruptions, laughter and silence, nervousness and excitement, or gaps in information, such as incongruent messages and actions, cycling, and dissociation.
We may fail to notice or purposefully choose to ignore signals that we are at the edge. Yet we do not escape the experience of discomfort in the tension between what is here now and what is wanting to emerge. More disturbingly, we risk missing the opportunity to grow through transition and to emerge transformed.
When all around us change is happening – fast and slow – up and down – booms and busts – what do we do? Do we react or respond? Do we take a moment to stop and become aware to the emotional process within us? Do we listen for the congruence or incongruence between our head, heart, and gut? Do we check in with what is going on around us? What are those around us thinking, feeling, sensing? Do we have the curiosity, compassion, and courage to acknowledge our personal and collective edges?
If we deny our edges, we deny ourselves, our teams, organizations, industries, and world the opportunity to inspire change, lead transition and emerge transformed.
It’s edgy, yet it’s our choice.
‘To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself,’ wrote Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard.
As change leaders, we explore the edges. We dare to stumble and to be real, to acknowledge and be with the discomfort in ourselves and others. We make the invisible visible. We are brink leaders and It’s from the edge that we have an opportunity to fly.
Kerry Woodcock, Ph.D., guides pioneers, leapers, influencers, and bridge builders in her change leadership work as principal of Novalda Coaching & Consulting Inc.