Asking again…

Asking again…

As a child I was taught it was rude to ask. We were to wait until offered, and certainly never to ask a second time.

All sorts of things shape our ability to ask healthily. Don’t worry I’m not going into deep psychological water today! But I am curious about what we ask of ourselves.

I suspect that this is a rich kaleidoscope, varying person to person and issue by issue. So bringing it into the light isn’t a one-off exercise, but it might help us take steps forward. To be free from the unhelpful blocks that either close us down or trip us up.

Big expectations

When we stop and think back – what have we been asking of ourselves? What are the refrains going round in our head? And what are they doing to us?

For a number of us – me included – they are stretching expectations. We want to do better, be more consistent, get stuff done. And done well.

That’s great, but what’s behind it? What’s the real driver?

For me, the refrain often has the undertone of ‘perfect first time’. And if I don’t achieve it, that translates to I can’t achieve it. Somehow I’m deficient.

So my striving for excellence – my best – always has judgement attached. And therefore it becomes a pretty unhealthy rock because it doesn’t give me enough room to grow. So I’m usually just fighting to stop giving up.

How daft is that!

So instead this weekend I’m taking heart from a short video called THE GAP by Ira Glass:

THE GAP by Ira Glass from Daniel Sax on Vimeo.


Little excuses

Of course we don’t only trip up by asking too much of ourselves. We can also do it by not asking enough.

There are some areas of my life, particularly emotional, where my expectations are low. Here, I don’t even ask myself questions. I already have the answer, so why bother asking.

So what’s that about? Why did we choose to construct this particular cocoon? What do we think it’s shielding us from?

I don’t know. But I am sure that if I choose to live here, then there are aspects of my being that will be muffled. And my voice, my work, my relationships and my fruitfulness will be distorted.

And then I’m reminded of the profound Paradoxical Theory of Change proposed by the American Psychiatrist, Dr Arnold Beisser:

“… that change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not.”

Only by leaning into our reality can we hope to shed our excuses.

Digging deep

The chrysalis in the cocoon is a lovely illustration. There is a time when they simply can’t stay inside any longer. Their natural urge to be who they are becoming outweighs the inertia of staying put.

I sense that there are a growing number of people who are asking that same question. Admitting to themselves that they can’t stay where they are – metaphorically or even physically.

Who am I? What is my voice? Where is my difference-making?

What is it that only I can give, because of who I am?

That’s not arrogance. Nor is it a futile question. And there is a right time to be asking. And maybe that’s now.

I really enjoy Gapingvoid art and culture design work. The Daily Email yesterday was a classic piece of insight: ‘How love is the path to excellence’  – when you love what you do the world pays attention.

Thanks for reading.


The Bookclub  – we’ve finally launched and have completely re-written the whole website… I’d be really grateful if you had time to take a look (comment and even sign up)!

This week

It has been an interesting and varied week – with some core themes running through.