“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke.
I have loved this quote for many years. This quote has been my lamp through the darkness of uncertainty in my life – professionally and personally. One of the biggest areas of uncertainty for me has been and continues to be realizing a dream for leading a company that expands consciousness for others and that operates in a way that is profoundly conscious as well.
Over the years, so much uncertainty has arisen for me, especially around whether this dream was really possible or whether I was good enough to manifest it. When the question felt too big and too uncertain, I would remember the part of the quote that says, “Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.” It allowed me to accept that I and this company are works in progress, and I’m not going to get a definitive answer now as to whether this dream will be fully realized in the future.
Instead, I can “try to love the questions themselves”, as the quote says. Lately most of my questions are around the “hows”. How are we going to create sustainable growth, how are we going to have the company embody conscious values, how are we going to get to all the things we need to do to realize this dream, how are we going to get others to commit to the journey with us? Loving and living these questions means approaching them with a sense of wonder, awe and curiosity instead of dread, fear and worry. When I can love and live the questions in this way, it opens up the mental space, as uncomfortable as it may feel, for real growth.
Processing through the discomfort of uncertainty is a practice and skill that can be evolved. We explore this practice in this month’s The New Lens of Leadership journey. If you are not a subscriber, I invite you to learn more.
The best part of approaching uncertainty with greater awareness is that it allows me to live more fully in the present and enjoy where I am today, versus delaying fully living for some time in the future… “and the point is, to live everything.”