Adventure vs. Safety: The Leadership Question

Why do I feel now as if I am standing on the deck of a ship, where the ground beneath me and the landscape around me are constantly shifting? Perhaps I felt this way before, but simply didn’t find it disturbing at all – in fact, not so long ago, I would have found it exhilarating, like a great adventure. Are you in danger of losing your spirit of adventure? The late Dr. Edwin Friedman, in his book A Failure of Nerve, cited one primary factor that indicated a group was stuck:  the valuing of safety over adventure.

There are many reasons this happens to us, not the least of which is to live in tumultuous times.  When everything seems to be shifting, isn’t it natural to grab for whatever safety and sameness you can reach?  I suppose it’s natural, but I think Dr. Friedman is also right, that our grasp on safety will cause us to lose our spirit of adventure.

As we begin a new year, I want to regain my own spirit of adventure.  That way I won’t have to take myself so seriously, or wonder whether or not I am doing everything exactly right.  In the midst of an adventure, there is no time for that. There is no time for worry and little time for anxiety.  You can’t really plan an adventure – you can only live it.

Life with the Spirit is the boldest summons to adventure there is. In fact, I can’t really follow the Spirit’s leading without seeing the unfolding as nothing less than a great adventure. So remind me of this if you ever see my knuckles are white from too tight a grip on life.  A tight grip comes from trying to control things, or wanting to slavishly follow a schedule of my own choosing.  Instead, I want only to find my ‘sea legs’ so I can maintain my balance … and not miss a thing.