Do you get caught up in the What ifs of worry?
What if I can't get everything done?
What if our society falls apart?
What if my child ......?
What if our non-profit donors don't contribute enough?
What if we need to lay off or furlough staff?
What if I can't sleep at night (that's a nice hall of mirrors of worry, eh!)?
I say ''caught up" in worry, because at least for me...once I start worrying about one thing, I can easily begin to worry about many things.
It seems safe to say that anxiety is on the rise in our times. And understandably so. The coronavirus pandemic combined with the pandemic of racial injustice and the failure of political leadership can leave us off balance, looking for solid ground, and not always sure we are going to find it.
Anxiety that becomes chronic leads to health problems.
Often we don't feel like we have a choice; it's a reflexive response that has become hard-wired.
I wonder if we often get anxious because it seems like the end. For instance, What if our society falls apart? We envision catastrophe and only ''bad things'' happening. And to be fair, that likely a response that helps us gear up for what could be coming. But again, when anxiety runs amok, it can swamp our thinking and our possibility for making room for something new to happen.
A few years ago, I learned this method... When I say ''What if .... ? from a worried place.. I can follow it with ...Then I can
For example... What if I can't sleep tonight... then I can get up and read that novel I've been wanting to find time for.... then I can clean my kitchen... then I can journal
What if our society falls apart....? Then we can rebuild something new that will be what we need for a more just and sustainable future.
[Hmmmm... I wonder what that might look like?]
What we are doing here is rebuilding our sense of agency and imagination. What can I do even if X happens, what can We do together even if it falls apart.
Moving our What if ... from Worry to Wonder
Last week I posted on Dr. Natalie Nixon's book, The Creativity Leap". As per usual I start talking about books before I've even read them. Well my two copies came in the mail this week and I started diving in!
She is highlighting creativity as much needed core skill that we can develop and grow. She defines creativity as the ability to toggle between wonder and rigor in order to solve problems and deliver novel value.
Wonder is the component of creativity that requires awe, audacity, pausing, and asking audacious "What if....?" questions. Complex situations are grand in scale, so they deserve and require grandiose thinking that wonder inspires. - Natalie Nixon (p27, "The Creativity Leap")
What if we created more space in our lives for wonder and combined it with rigor?
What if we saw this time in our nation's history as a time of great newness and opportunity to face the injustices of past and present, as they did with the TRC in South Africa?
What if you could live in a place where who you are aligns with the work you do and the impact you want to make in the world?
What if you could show up as your more authentic (and imperfect) self every day?
What if you could unlock orders of magnitude of greater potential in your team and organization by creating a culture of presence, support, agility, wonder, creativity, along with the rigor you've already got?
What if you gave yourself time to wonder?