Danger and Opportunity

by Jan Yuill

Apparently, the word for ‘crisis’ is made up of the two Chinese characters for danger and opportunity. On Tuesday, February 5th, I had reached my business crisis. As many of you know, I have invested considerable time, money, and energy in the Organizations Alive! work since the printing of the book in 2003. It has been an exciting time and an enormous learning curve.

There are no guarantees when one ventures off to create something new – whether it is getting married, having a baby, starting a franchise, opening a shop, writing a book, building a house or anything else. A strong conviction is what compels us forward, but it takes a whole heap of hard work to make it work.

So it was on that snowy, wet day in February, over a cup of coffee with my good friend and colleague, Tracey, that I declared myself spent. Defeated. Overwhelmed. Done. I had lost my gumption. My resolve. My faith.

That evening, I went home in quite an emotional state. I had killed Organizations Alive! I was overwhelmed with both grief and relief at the same time. My daughter and I cried. I was going to find a job and live a normal life … for once. These declarations did not ring entirely true to me, but I knew there would be some adjustment to this New Normal. It was then that I realized that the next day was Ash Wednesday.

I don’t normally celebrate religious holidays in a big way. Lent, in particular, wasn’t something I have ever given much notice. It always seemed to be a time when people quit smoking, or cut out desserts for a while. I am not very good at those kinds of declarations. I usually wimp out.

But here was a 40-day period spread out before me. And it even had a name! Lent. What if I gave up striving for 40 days? What if I just did the minimum to keep things going for the next 40 days, and invest the ‘extra time’ listening, and noticing, and wondering about what might happen after that? What would it be like to wait and rest a while?

I decided to do just that. Wait. Listen. Hope. Dream. Notice. Slow down. Remain open. Hold off on any big decisions.

It is over half-way into Lent at the time of this writing. And I am amazed. I know that I have read and heard and learned and imagined things, that would have remained hidden, had I not decided to pay attention. The mundane ebb and flow of life holds many small miracles. And I have been repeatedly humbled by my lack of awe of what is going on around me.

Some very special people have supported my dangerous ride through this opportune time. And I am grateful … forever.

What about you?

Do you give yourself time to rest?
When do turn off the treadmill? Appreciate the little things? Listen to the stillness?
Why not give it a try? Even for a day. Or an hour. Or the next five minutes?