Today’s thoughts come from ideas I am exploring in the book, The Zen Leader by Ginny Whitelaw. Before you stop reading because you don’t see yourself as a leader, wait! Everyone is a leader and that includes you! (More on this another day…)
Now that you’re with me, the simple idea for today is this:
What don’t I know?
What would be different in my life experience if I kept this question constantly at the ready?
If you are like me, you are an expert at approaching situations and trying to figure out what you know, what is familiar, the answer. From here, of course, you know what to do and how to handle yourself! But if we remain focused on what we already know, how does anything new come into being? How do we expand? How does humanity move forward if we only act based on yesterday’s knowledge?
Great leaders explore the unknown and vision what’s possible. How could this leadership trait impact our day-to-day lives? Imagine waking up to another day filled with family commitments, work, personal self-care, volunteer opportunities, … all the usual activities on the calendar. Now:
- What if you open your eyes in the morning and ask, “What don’t I know about the possibilities for my physical body today?”
- What if your child or significant other comes to ask a favor and you think, “What don’t I know about his or her inspirations, dreams, desires?”
- What if you go to your job and ask, “What don’t I know about my coworkers? What don’t I know that might make my efforts more efficient or easier?”
- What if you pause to think about your future and ask, “What don’t I know?”
What is the power of “What don’t I know?”? I think it is an opening, a crack in limited thinking, a ray of hope and expansion and possibility in a world that sometimes feels small and hopeless. I believe it is also an opportunity to open ourselves to others, to collaboration, to the awareness that we are not alone and that we have much to learn and many ways to work and grow together.
Care to play this game with me today?
What don’t YOU know?