I am delighted to be immersed in learning from some of the most amazing human potential thought leaders on the planet today through WBECS Executive Coaching PreSummit and Summit. Here is an unexpected theme I am noticing: the willingness to not know opens doors to new possibilities.
In the very first session that opened the Pre Summit, Judith E. Glaser talked about how the most healthy organizational leaders are involved in conversations where they ask questions they don’t know the answers to in order to invite brainstorming among teams. This requires a willingness to admit we don’t know everything, and the higher we are in an organization, the more resistance we might feel to this. Aren’t we supposed to at least look like we have all the answers?
I’m learning that the willingness to step into the unknown is an exhilarating adventure that requires a courage muscle many of us have not used much. For those of us who grew up with the model of conventional wisdom encouraging us to take the guaranteed or safe route in our work, it may be a real stretch to step into the unfamiliar. We might need to practice taking baby steps at first.
Robert Dunham presented a webinar entitled, The Power of Not Knowing, where he suggested that where we used to have the assumption that we have to know in order to act, we can now assume that we can act to know—that is we can step into an experience and allow the experience to teach us and inform our next action step.
The world is changing so quickly, we will need to adapt to this model to find our next project or position. Information has exploded at such a rate that we can’t know before acting in every case. Interdependence is required. There is simply too much to know. We must learn new ways of being and doing and making decisions, if we are to continue to be explorers and adventurers.
In fact, if we are to create the future we want to live into, we must be willing to step into the unknown, because the future doesn’t exist yet. We are creating it now.
How do we practice this in our daily lives? We accept that none of us can know all of any topic and ask questions we don’t know the answers to. We invite conversations that explore possibilities that we don’t yet see in our world. We experiment, drawing upon our courage to fail before we hit gold, but believe in the gold all the same. We remain open to new insights that might come from any person, regardless of their age, background or education. We allow quiet moments in nature to inspire us. Even laying in the grass looking at cloud shapes can spark a new combination of ideas.
This is truly an exciting time to be immersed in building a better future for all of us. As we hold intentions that resonate with the soul of us, like living in a world where war is a distant memory, or imagining a life of plenty for every person on the planet, or even seeing all of us collaborating in stewardship of this world we share, new ideas will spark between us. I don’t know how I know it, but I see it clearly in our future. Let us step into possibility together and see what we can co-create.