Lesson one – The Art and Ease of Not Knowing
Recently the universe slowed me down with an unexpected speed bump that fast tracked me into a new space of not knowing. It came from nowhere, well that’s not entirely totally true, it revealed itself with a discrete lump in my breast only noticed while having an impromptu, impulsive rendezvous with my x lover. I chose to ignore it for a couple of weeks until sitting on the beach with a girlfriend who encouraged, no forced me to get the lump checked out…
Jump ahead 3 months, a cancer diagnosis, surgery, reconstruction (in the process) and an all clear on the margins front. So where am I going with this? This cancer experience has gifted me with an opportunity of intense learning, I have made a promise to myself that I am determined to ensure that I will take away as many lessons as I can from this unexpected speed bump and there have been a few. This is an ongoing process, many of my learnings are only now beginning to come to the fore, I’m excited and curious to see where they will take me.
One of them is the power we gain when we are at ease with not knowing. Not knowing the outcome, not knowing what the journey entails, not knowing the choices I will have to make and not knowing how I will come out of this physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Consciously making the choice to sit back, to embrace, to trust and to be ok with not being in control. Often during the past 3 months, I had a choice on how I approached this speed bump, simply put I could be internally fearful or I could be calm and trust. The outcome would be the same either way (this was, for the most, out of my hands) but the journey there, I had complete internal control over. I didn’t get it right 100%, I had a couple of deep dives into the bucket of fear. Propelled by the need to make choices I never thought I would have to make, such as: Do I keep one breast or two? Do I keep my nipples? I allowed myself these dives, I cried, I prayed, I screamed but I did not allow myself to dwell there. It was too dark and scary to remain for long.
I’m fortunate that I can be a disciplined individual (when I choose to be) and I know that nature feeds my soul, she makes me feel calm and I ensured I drank many of her offerings to pull myself away from the door of fear and into the happy fields of love, abundance and most of all gratitude. On one occasion, a few days after surgery and whilst still in hospital it was the night of the moons full eclipse. An odd looking woman (yes me) could be spotted in the streets close to the hospital in her slippers and gown in search of a glimpse of mothers natures elaborate performance.
I believe the art of being at ease with not knowing is a super skill. In truth all that we think we have control over is a fabricated false sense of comfort anyhow. Reliance on anything external, people, jobs, money, family, politics is all very fragile at the best of times. We tighten the reigns of control and hold on to what we know when often the key is to retreat, pause and move away. It takes inner strength and confidence to do this. The ease one feels when a leader admits to not knowing. The strength they show in making themselves vulnerable, open to dialogue, suggestions and change, in a world where not knowing has been given the label of “lesser than”. Why do we feel we need to know all the answers? Can we encourage our leaders our teams to take the responsibility to admit that not knowing is healthy and let’s have fun with this. So many leaders restrict themselves, their teams & their organisations by insisting on “knowing the path forward” when so often the path has actually eroded with a new one waiting patiently to be discovered.
I encourage you to not know more often. I encourage you to settle into the discomfort of not knowing. I encourage you to sit with it and see what comes up for you. Who knows, maybe in the space of not knowing is where the answer lies and then the real growth & magic starts to happen.