Deeper Knowing Of Not Knowing

Posted by Audrey Lin on May 15, 2017
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Halfway through our Spring Laddership Circles, it's been a privilege to learn from all the insights and experiences that surface week-in and week-out!

In our particular circle this week, we dove into topics around questions like: "How do you design for emergence?" "How to lead with a conviction in not knowing?" "Is there a difference in holding space with strangers vs. those closest to us?" "Do actions speak louder than words?" "How does our frame of mind inform how we handle challenges?" "How to design group conversations to hold space for richer and deeper shares?"

Among the many thoughtful stories and reflections, here's a touching share from Jane, on the deeper knowing of not knowing:
I can’t tell you the relief of being able to be in the space of "I don’t know.” Because the stress that’s created from the consistent demand of yourself to know the answers -- I think it takes years of your life, really, if you allow it to go on. If I look at myself from ages twenty to forty of my adulthood, there’s a brittleness that is present there, because it’s almost like you’re always looking over your shoulder in case you make a mistake. In case you’re not really right. And yet you’re trying to project this front of certainty.

In my profession [as a lawyer], it’s not really acceptable to not know. You’re kind of being paid to know what the answer is. That compounded a kind of brittleness, and it means, somehow, a kind of inability to participate fully in life. To relate it to the tree root system metaphor, it’s like you’re never really deeply tapping into the roots. You’re very shallow into the soil, so when the storms do come, you’re very vulnerable to them in that kind of brittle certainty, “hope-no-one-finds-out-that-I-don’t-really-know," braced against life. So I think that space of “I don’t know” allows you to occupy that unknown world. It means you’re putting roots really deeply into the collective intelligence, into our shared experience of humanity.

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