Friday, June 5, 2009

On the Edge!

In my coaching practice there is a common theme that emerges about being on an edge. The edge is a place that is really uncomfortable, possibly dangerous. A risk and a change is wanting to happen. A leap of faith. Go over the edge and emerge changed. Step into the void and trust you have the skills and resources to succeed. Stay, holding on with bleeding knuckles, exhausted. The edge is a vantage point, a place to look out from, a place of choice--"will I leap or will I stay?"

It is at this edge when we consider our options and then begin to negotiate and bargain and deal. It can be a place where imaginations run wild and a place where a slow emotional and physical death can occur. The edge is a place where the barrier between action and inaction comes front and center. "I can go over the edge if..." "I will jump when..." "Wow, look at all the possibilities from up here..." "Gosh, I can see forever from here..." "Don't come near me up here..." This edge place in our lives and in our days can be filled with great anticipation and change, utter fear, chaos, and paralysis, celebration and faith.

Think about your edge(s). What is it today? What does your edge look like (a cliff? the top of the Empire State Building observation deck? On a bungee jump platform?)? When you are on this edge, what do you see possible out there? What's keeping you on the edge, keeping you from leaping? What is it about being on this edge that propels you into action? What is the difference between what you have on the edge and what could be over the edge? Consider going over the edge--will it be an elegant dive or do you need to be shoved, a gentle tip toe over or holding the hand of someone who joins you?

Two movie images come to mind that describe the edge I feel I am on today: One is from the movie "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid" when Butch and Sundance (played by actors Paul Newman and Robert Redford) were standing literally on the edge of a very tall cliff with a gang of gun toting cowboys at the top of the cliff and a raging river at the bottom of the cliff. After some banter on the cliff while bullets rained down upon them, they decide to leap all the while yelling "Whooooooooaaaaaa shiiiiiiiittttt!!!!" until they hit the water below. Kind of where I am at the moment...on the edge, bullets above and a raging river below, partner beside me, time to leap. And the other feels a bit like "Thelma & Louise" when actors Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis decided to drive their cool car off the edge of the Grand Canyon--to a certain death--because this was a better choice from that vantage point than facing the legions of law enforcement trailing them. Either way, two great movies, four great actors, and two incredible edges to consider. The images make me smile.

Go forward, to the edge, and leap. Whoooooooaaaaa Shiiiiiittttt!