I was reading my daughter her story last night and the character, a little girl, discovered a secret wood. Standing on the edge she tiptoed in, there were weeping willows dripping into an endless sprawling floor of bluebells, a scene more beautiful than ever seen before. She was on her own staring into a new perspective. She stayed listening to the sounds of the wood, the space, the fullness of the emptiness. She was scared and full of anticipation. Should she go in?
It reminded me of times in my life when I had seen great beauty and it had taken my breath away, thrilled me and humbled me. And when I think back, these moments of immense wonder, the breathtaking openness and overall ‘bigness’ of the vista spread out before me, I also experienced a tinge of fear. What is this fear? The fear of being pulled into the emptiness (that familiar fear of feeling compelled to jump off a bridge or precipice), or the fear of being so small in comparison to the hugeness of this view, this world.
This feeling is not too dissimilar to that described to me almost weekly by different leaders. That moment when you are on the edge of a decision, do you jump or not? Are you alone? Is this perspective something only you can see? Only you can do? What is that bigger world and is it friend or foe? How inconsequential or powerful are we and how will this effect others?
Fear is such a big part of big decisions and fear is such an immense part of us, whether we have learnt to control it and appreciate, whether it guides us helpfully or unhelpfully. I am constantly impressed and amazed at brave women and men leading business and how they do exactly what the little girl in the story did. She took bold action by entering the wood despite her sense of foreboding and the threat of chastisement of others. She subsequently discovered a new perspective on life with new opportunities, she learnt respect for the new world and how to work along side it, she flexed her behaviour and learnt and subsequently encouraged bravery in others. I encourage you to check that your choice at decision making points is not directed exclusively by fear, rather it is informed by fear. Use it to inform, but then give bigger airtime to your goal. Be brave, head for your goals even when, or perhaps, especially when, you are on your own staring into new perspectives.
Dr Amy Silver is an expert in behavioural change for business excellence. If you would like to be added to her mailing list ‘Silverline’ings’ to hear of her news please visit dramysilver.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org!