One of my dares for myself this Spring is to be bolder in my thinking, speaking, and doings.
The relentless people pleaser in me would prefer to keep my most polarizing views and edge-pressing ideas to myself.
We need everyone to like us! She quivers.
But I am clear about a few things right now:
1. Staying in the safe, medium, comfortable space moves us backward, culturally, and is a recipe for mediocrity, creatively.
2. To do what I am here to do, I must dare to go beyond my need for being liked.
3. #1 and #2 only work if I simultaneously hold myself rigorously accountable for what I say and do.
Doing the brave thing means risking ruffling a few or a thousand feathers and regularly putting myself in the hot center of discomfort.
Another dare I am issuing myself this Spring is to move toward curiosity and away from claims.
Do you also feel pummeled by claims and guarantees?
THIS smoothie will make you thin!
MY plan will change our country!
Click HERE to change your life!
Claims give us a rush of dopamine and a promise of something greater, while simultaneously rendering us powerless and in a perpetual state of not-enoughness.
If we don’t buy it, believe in it, or download it, we are automatically less than and an outcast — but if we do buy it, join it, download it, and don’t see the result that was promised — we are still not enough, still on the outside looking in at the cool kids, and now, also, a failure.
The good life is sold to us as a before and after story – stripped of the complexities of true transformation — but before and after, while pleasing to watch on a tv show, seems like more of an impressive feat of editing and curation than an actual human experience.
Have you ever experienced this? Told yourself a story that once you quit your job or buy that thing or meet that person or lose that weight your life will finally and immediately burst into color?
Just like a movie montage from the 90s?
Maybe the bold thing I’m trying to say is I am interested in leaders brave enough to admit they don’t have all the answers and admit that lasting change is a complex and often nonlinear process.
Maybe the bold thing I’m also trying to say is that I believe there are a lot of unethical and irresponsible practices happening on the internet.
And I’m mad about it because it is not helping us.
We don’t need more people capitalizing on, and profiting off of our feelings of not enough-ness.
We need invitations to return to the power within us.
This Spring I am inviting myself to fall back in love with deep questions, curiosity, and the murky, liminal, sometimes infuriating space of true change, and to pay attention to leaders and voices who are courageous enough to do the same.
I’m checking myself on all of it – I don’t get to write this in a letter to you without owning up to when I may be out of alignment, too, and I commit to stepping up my own accountability.
It does not seem that societally or creatively we have more to learn about blindly believing other people’s Truths with a capital T, or hastily claiming our own in order to sell things or establish authority or get people to like us.
It does seem there is more to discover about inviting multiple perspectives, being bold enough to make questions sexier than answers, and being more thoughtful about the power of our language – being aware of the responsibility when people are watching and listening to us and always checking to make sure we are walking our own talk.
Curiosity invites us to first listen — within, and then, to each other — before we blindly believe or claim truth.
I watch myself being so easily gobbled up by the quick and slick claims that I sometimes forget to wonder what I really think about the thing being said in the first place.
What if it’s time to tune into our own voice before we turn outside to experts and #influencers?
This spring I dare us to make listening, questions, and curiosity the hottest new trend.
We can really make it a thing if enough of us do it together!
Like flamingos and beards!
In service of this, below are 13 provocative questions that I have been rumbling with these last few months.
I don’t have answers, but I am enchanted by the radical possibilities…
I love what if questions for this reason — to me they are an invitation to imagine — a mini thought experiment that allows us to try on an idea before committing to it.
I’m curious what stirs in you…
13 Provocative Questions for Spring:
1. What if time were your best friend? Your lover? The product of your creation?
2. What if you feel more like a volcano erupting than a flower blooming this Spring? What if your volcano is exactly what we need right now?
3. What if you decided that you matter? What if you spoke to be heard? What if you let yourself be fully seen?
4. What if we measured our worth by the amount of time we get to be creating things or the shine in others’ eyes — instead of likes and audience sizes and how much money we’re making?
5. What if we need to grieve our childhood dreams to fully become the adults we are destined to be?
6. What if we did one brave thing a day for 100 days?
7. What if social media is a spiritual training ground for cultivating deeper integrity, moral fortitude and self-respect?
8. What if your career is organized around a series of questions and themes that you were born to explore instead of a fixed title or identity?
9. What if you could move beyond your need for recognition and acknowledgement? What matters more than being liked?
10. What if no one could change your life but you? What if everyone who claims that they will #changeyourlife is just trying to sell something?
11. What if the at times paralyzing anxiety so many women are feeling right now is nature’s evolutionary alarm — a warning from something greater that change cannot wait?
12. What if we could eradicate perfectionism and imposter syndrome?
13. What if the best is yet to come?
MY DARE TO YOU:
Take at least one of the above that speaks to you and dance with it for a while, without trying to effort a hard and fast answer, and, instead, try it on, play with it, apply it to something going on for you and listen and pay attention to what comes up.
My hunch is the insights you source internally will be more potent than what someone else tells you to do or think.
Perhaps you will write to me or head over to my instagram and share with me what you are discovering.
Perhaps you will tell me about other ideas you are exploring right now.
In the meantime —
To listening within!
To making questions cool again!
I believe in us.
Photography by Cindy Strife