September marks five months since the beginning of this project: daily writing on the often hidden possibilities of living and working, arising directly from my work supporting people in their development.
It seems an appropriate moment to say something about why I’ve made a commitment to this, the largest body of work I’ve produced to date and the one that has so far been among the most satisfying and exciting to write.
There’s a certain urgency to it. Because I hope it will do something.
It starts with my sense that we’ve constructed much of the working world in a way that sends us to sleep to ourselves, to others, and to what’s possible for us. We’re often fearful. We’re afraid to be fully seen. We hide behind words, procedures, frameworks, policies, perfectionism. We avoid the risky and important work of understanding one another.
We use shame to get what we want at the expense of people’s dignity. We take the burdens of the world on ourselves without reaching out for help, and expect others to do the same. We make sure we look fine. And we feel alone.
All this stifles our creativity, and has us hold back our most essential contribution from one another.
We design roles marked by how much of people’s uniqueness must be left out, rather than included. And we frequently treat people as if they were machines – particularly troublesome ones who won’t fit into the frameworks and designs we have for them.
Much of this happens even in many of the most sophisticated, principled of organisations.
While we’re doing this to others, we’re also doing it to ourselves. And most of the time we don’t even know that this is what we’re up to.
The writing here aims to help each of us undo all of this, bit by bit.
My hope is to support you if you recognise even a shred of what I’m saying here in yourself or in others; if you lead, whether ‘leadership’ is stated in your job title or not; and if you want to take your development seriously, so you can bring yourself with integrity, courage, generosity, wisdom, and fierce humanity to the world.
At heart, this project is about cultivating both inner and outer human freedom, so that we can release ourselves and others to make the contribution we’re really here to make.
And it’s about a scary thought – that it’s possible to bring about genuine, powerful change that matters.
To the over 200 people who receive this every day, and the many more who join in occasionally – thank you. There’s much more to come.
Photo by Justin Wise