Want to listen to me read this to you? Click here.
“We are on the edge of greatness.
It’s easy to feel that potential, in this moment, as we come to a transition point in a year, starting a whole new decade. But the truth is, we’re always there. The difference between a mere moment and a moment of glory is making the choice to serve in devotion. To say yes to your thing, and live it out in your way.”
I wrote this last December, while I was on my sabbatical, musing about the state of the industry.
It’s aged well in the past few months. In fact, I’d say it feels even more relevant now, when the world’s turned upside down.
Because here’s the thing about doing work that matters. It still matters even when everything around you is changing. It still matters when you have to wear a mask to go to the grocery store. It still matters when you’re applying for unemployment. It still matters when, overnight, you have to transition your work to online. It still matters when you have to make the gut-wrenching decision to furlough your staff.
Moments like these aren’t disruptions. They’re clarifiers.
They are an opportunity to hone our attention, and put it on what really matters, not in spite of what’s going on, but because of it.
There’s a quote I love from GK Chesterton that encapsulates this paradoxical kind of focus:
“A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.”
That’s the same kind of courage I’d invite you to now. To join me in feeling the fear of what’s going on, truly be with it — and still choose to do the work.
Here’s what I DO NOT mean by this:
— That things aren’t scary right now. Of course they’re fucking scary. For many reasons. And yet.
— That you should do this courage thing in one particular way. Courage right now might look like pausing and taking a breath. It might look like getting fired up and leading a movement. It might look like both of those things on different days.
There are no performance requirements, checklists, or expectations of scope when it comes to callings. It’s your calling, you do it your way. But do it.
— That you sacrifice yourself for your calling. You’re not fuel to feed the fire of a calling. You’re a participant in a relationship with it.
— That things don’t matter because ultimately, we’re all going to die anyway and we’re just tiny ants in the universe and blah blah blah. Things DO matter — the fears, the desire to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, the little inconveniences and the big terrifying possibilities. Of course they matter. And your mission matters too.
Yes, this is hard. That’s why we do it. We’re working on the moonshot.
We’re just as close to those moments of glory as we ever have been — and now we can see the stakes that much more clearly.
So join me, won’t you, in the courageous choice of “Yes, and yet…”
It’s an honor to serve with you,