The human species became so dominant because of our ability to live on the edge. We evolved by venturing out the safety of the forest onto the plains to hunt, gather, and live. Yet so many of the leaders I work with consistently fall into the trap of hiding in a nest of comfort or getting lost in a wilderness of overwork. If you want to be one of the world’s most exceptional leaders you must master the art of living on the edge between comfort and catastrophe.
Here’s how I help my clients find their true edge.
Knowing where you live:
- Used to be passionate about your work, but now you’re mostly bored.
- Find that your achievements impress others but don’t inspire you.
- Think about quitting sometimes and you light up with excitement.
- Notice yourself always complaining about your employees, your industry, your partners, and the market.
- Feel like you’ve been coasting for a long time.
You’re living in a nest of comfortable success.
If this is you, then stop pretending that what you’re doing is hard. I know that this will be scary and maybe people around you will wonder why you’re shaking things up, but extraordinary leaders are meant to live on the edge. It’s where they thrive, grow, and create things that shape the world.
Stop protecting your success and start asking:
- What would be possible if I challenged myself to create something truly extraordinary?
- What would I have do to multiply my current success by ten?
- What am I ignoring?
- What do I secretly want to do, but am pretending it doesn’t matter that much?
- Where am I holding back?
- What is my impossible goal?
- Notice that it never feels like enough.
- Bury your head in work whenever things get hard.
- Find yourself bragging about how busy you are and how hard you work.
- Can’t remember the last time you took a day off.
- Never ask for help.
- Take pride in all the sacrifices you take, even if you don’t always need to take them.
You’re crawling through the wilderness of overwork.
If this is you . . . STOP being a flipping martyr! No one is watching and no one will benefit when you burn out in the prime of your life. The world needs leaders who lead and create, not tyrants bent on progress at all cost. (We’ve already got plenty of those.)
Instead SLOW DOWN and ask yourself:
- What would I do if I could only work two days a week?
- If I saw my adult kids/nieces/nephews doing what I’m doing now, how would I feel about it?
- Why do I continue to remain in a situation that is so stressful?
- What am I afraid would happen if I slowed down?
- What am I holding onto that I need to let go of?
- Who would I be if I lost it all?
- Is what I’m building the legacy/impact project that I really want to leave to my children/the world?
- What if I said ‘screw it’ and only did what I love to do?
Please don’t just read this post and think, hmm those are some good questions. Ask these questions. Live into them.
The cost of avoiding your edge is not small. Most people live in a place of stagnation. They grow only until they find a careful equilibrium called ‘success’ and then they wither.
The path of the extraordinary demands that you keep the hunger of curiosity alive. It demands that you look at your life with fresh eyes. Stop pretending that how you are is the way you have to be. Find your edge, wherever it is, and endeavour to live there with everything you’ve got.