Play BIG: Own It!

It is the way it is and the way it is not

This is simply so no matter where one finds one’s self, and with whatever it is that one is facing and/or grappling with: It is the way it is and the way it is not.

If one can be ok with the way it is and is not then one can simply go about one’s business – living – harmoniously.  Conversation over.

Playing small with regards to the way it is and the way it is not

Rare, is the person (in the West) who can be ok with the way it is and is not.  The conversing starts here: that which is wrong with the world, wrong with this government, wrong with state of leadership, wrong with the media, wrong with the business world, wrong with capitalism/socialism/communism, wrong with the folks I work with, wrong with the folks I live with…..

When I am in this place, the place of its not ok the way it is and is not, what is it that I am doing?  I am in the stands looking at that which is occurring  over there in the arena. Not liking that which I see, I complain about him/her/them/this/that.

This showing up and operating from the stands complaining about what is and is not happening in the arena is playing small.  Playing small is ubiquitous – I do it, you do it, we all do it.  Playing small is the dominant mode of being-in-the-world.

Playing BIG with regards to the way it is and the way it is not

There is an alternative to complaining about that which is and is not. Or about becoming resigned to the way that it is and is not.  What’s the alternative?

Playing BIG as in moving from the stands into the arena, taking ownership as in owning it heart-body-soul, shaping that which is occurring, effecting change.  Realise this: the switch from playing small to playing BIG with regards to that which matters is the biggest change you can make to your experience of your existence in this world!

Allow me to share a small example and thus bring this conversation to life.  It’s Thursday morning for me, it’s Thursday afternoon for my five colleagues in India.  I ask them what they have accomplished over the last 3.5 days. Silence. I ask them who is leading them / managing the work that has to be accomplished. Silence.  I ask them if they know what they have to work on tomorrow. Silence.  What is clear is that no work has been assigned, no work has been done, and no work will be done if things continue this way.

Playing small, the default, would have been to complain: complain about the chap who is supposed to be leading this team and managing their work; complain about the onshore-offshore model of getting IT development done; complain about the situation that I find myself in; and finally to complain about myself to myself for allowing myself to be in this  position once again – different project, same old s**t!

This time I chose to play BIG: to own it!  What do I mean by that?  I mean to own the way it is and is not AND accept responsibility for shaping the way that it is and is not.  What did this involve?  It involved:

  • Asking for help from a person who has the requisite knowledge of the development work to be done by this team;
  • Working with this person to think through how long it is likely to take to configure/code the user stories, and which development skills are needed for each user story;
  • With the help of this person assigning the right work to each person – day by day for the next two weeks;
  • Spending half a day copying information from one system into an Excel spreadsheet;
  • Communicating the assignment of work along with all the information they need (Excel sheet) to do their work; and
  • Accepting that owning this would necessarily mean trespassing on the territory of the chap who is officially leading/managing this team and working with the trouble this person can be counted on to make.

I invite you to consider that the ultimate in playing BIG is owning (the state of) that which matters to you: the state of your health, the state of your relationships with family/friends, the state of your community, the state of your workplace, the state of the environment, the state of the word….

If I have not been clear then let me say this: Owning some state of affairs (as it is and is not) is to take FULL responsibility for the way it is and is not.  That necessarily includes taking FULL responsibility to shaping the game, effecting the changes that one wishes to see in this state of affairs.  If there is to any complaining then it is complaining to oneself about oneself as a form of reflection to call forth more effective ways of being-doing.

Now it is up to you to choose whether, for that which matters to you, you wish to play small – in the stands complaining and/or resigned to that which is happening or not in the arena – or BIG -in the arena, taking action, effecting change / shaping the play.y

Since I wrote this one of best friends died. Brain cancer. So I say to you and me: We are mortal, our days are limited, so if you and I are up for owning it then let’s start owning it right now!  I can assure you that it has been that much easier to deal with the loss of my friend knowing I had owned my part/contribution in his existence since I found out he had terminal cancer back in May17. He died on Monday, and I spent three hours by his bedside on Sunday – talking, helping, making him laugh.  In this time of sadness this makes a big difference – no regrets!

I thank you for your listening, and wish you the very best.  Until the next time….

The Myth of Scarcity: That’s Just The Way It Is

Some time ago I started sharing some of that which spoke to me and showed up as worth sharing with you from Lynne Twist’s book: The Soul of Money. As it has been a little while since I last wrote, it may be worth revisiting the first two posts in this conversation:

The Myth of Scarcity: There’s Not Enough

The Myth of Scarcity: More Is Better

Ok, let’s listen to Lynne speak-share the third toxic myth that constitutes an important underpinning for the myth of scarcity. 

Toxic Myth 3: That’s Just The Way It Is

“….. that’s just the way it is, and there’s no way out. There’s not enough to go around, more is definitely better, and the people who have more are always people other than us. It’s not fair but we’d better play the game because that’s just the way it is and it’s hopeless, helpless, unequal, unfair world where you can never get out of this trap.

That’s just the way it is is just another myth, but it’s probably the one with the most grip, because you can always make a case for it. When something has always been a certain way,  and traditions, assumptions, or habits make it resistant to change then it seems logical …. that the way it is is the way it will stay. This is when the blindness, the numbness, the trance, and, underneath it all, the resignation of scarcity sets in. Resignation makes us feel hopeless, helpless, and cynical. Resignation also keeps us in line……. Resignation keeps us from questioning how much we’ll compromise ourselves or exploit others for the money available to us in a job, or career, a personal relationship or a business opportunity. 

That’s just the way it is justifies the greed, the prejudice and inaction that scarcity fosters in our relationship with money and the rest of the human race……

We say we feel bad about these and other inequities in the world, but the problems seem so deeply rooted as to be insurmountable and we resign ourselves to that’s just the way it is, declaring ourselves helpless to change things. In that resignation, we abandon our human potential, and the possibility of contributing to a thriving, equitable, healthy world……

We have to be willing to let go of that’s just the way it is, even if just for a moment, to consider the possibility that there isn’t a way it is or a way it isn’t. There’s the way we choose to act and what we choose to make or our circumstance.”

In my next post, I will continue this conversation and share with you how the possibilities open to us are shaped and closed off by the life sentences imposed on us – by our cultural practices and by us.

And finally

Before I end this conversation, I pose a question or two for us to consider:

  • granted that it is the way it is and it’s not the way it’s not, who/what caused it be the way it is and the way it’s not? 
  • has it always been the way it is and is no right now – across time, across cultures? And if it has not been as it is and is not right now, then who/what caused the shifts in the way that it is and is not?  
  • what would show up in my living, your living, our living if I/you showed up from the stand that “I have a say in the way that it is and is not, the way it will be and not be.”?