Beyond Your Edge

One of my favorite personal development techniques comes from a poster we had at Facebook in the early 2010s. The sign read, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

A meme went around the office to answer this question and post it for your coworkers to see. Mine was "Visit China."

Once the fear was written out and shown to my friends, I knew I had to do it.

I flew to China and then, standing in Tiananmen Square, found that new desires arose.

My sense of possibility had expanded.

I wanted to see the rest of Asia, and to live outside the USA for at least a year.

Eventually I went and did that, too. But I would have never done it if I hadn't first pushed my edges.

Every year since I ask myself, “What would you I do if I wasn't afraid?”

This question works because any honest answer is right at the boundary between desire and fear.

I want it badly enough that I acknowledge it, but it's far enough outside my comfort zone that I'll only do it with a push.

But once I get through the push, my sense of possibility expands once more.

Today I know that there are many names for this technique. Robert Ellis calls it "Edge Work". In "The Lion Tracker's Guide to Life", Boyd Varty calls it "Finding the first track."

What matters is that once you find an action you really want to do, you need to go do it.

You'll never know what's on the other side until you get there.

And if you really want to do it — that's a hint of expanded possibilities in your future.

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