Fearlessness & Work as Offering



I’ve been a little stuck lately – wanting to step out more fully into the world, fully embodying the Work I am here to do, yet meandering in a place of trying to figure the Work thing out. Business is really good right now, and…

I can see snippets of what that Work is. Although my work with people, mostly women, to help them move toward their vision has found great success already, there’s a place where I have felt somewhat stuck.

Just today, in researching for this post about Margaret Wheatley (who will be speaking in Oakland this Saturday), I came across words she wrote some time ago that seem to directly speak to the place inside of me where a sense of stuckness has been living.

“What if we could offer our work as a gift so lightly, and with so much love, that that’s really the source of fearlessness? We don’t need it to be accepted in any one way. We don’t need it to create any certain outcome. We don’t need it to be any one thing. It is in the way we offer it, that the work transforms us. It is in the way we offer our work as a gift to those we love, to those we care about, to the issues we care about. It is in the way we offer the work that we find fearlessness. Beyond hope and fear, I think, is the possibility of love.”

I usually see insights…meaning, I see images that show me something I’ve not known. In these images that have come to me, I see myself offering this work in love, from a deep place of love that is far beyond me or anything my rational mind could conjure up.

Work as Offering

Perhaps like you, I’ve been taught and conditioned to look for results, to see success in my work as something results-oriented. In our current paradigm, that’s how success is measured. Even streams of thought that teach us that success is not based on dollar figures still hold a sense that success is about a certain outcome.

When I read Margaret’s words, “We don’t need it to be any one thing. It is in the way we offer it, that the work transforms us.”, my mind relaxes. I can feel how its been caught up in ‘understanding’ what the ‘one thing’ is that my work must be.

When I read, “It is in the way we offer our work as a gift…”, “It is in the way we offer the work that we find fearlessness.”, I can see my focus has been on the how, on what I am getting done (or not), rather than on the way I offer it and how I hold the work itself.

I sense the how comes out of the offering, the next step comes when I am let go into the love that is there for “those I love, to those I care about, to the issues I care about…”

A love so vast

In the short video on fearlessness I’ve shared with you below, Margaret shares this quote:

“Fearlessness is not being afraid of who you are.” ~ Chogyam Trungpa

When I heard these words, I saw that being tied to the ‘what’ of my Work keeps me stuck.

When I feel the love I have for those I am here to serve, I feel a letting go happen on its own.

Simply offering what is here without any attachment is having to ‘be with’, really ‘be with’ the vast unknown that is at the heart of this love.

It’s a vastness that is terrifying yet in some strange way reassuring because it is the only thing that never changes. It is that which has always been here, unchanging, yet from which change seems to be born from.

I have a sense that who I really am is a love so vast that it scares the begeebus out of me. I’ve had glimpses of this love and I literally can’t hold the glimpse, can’t stay with it because it is too much contain.

Latent Powers

I have to laugh at these words as they appear on the page. Of course I can’t contain it. The small “I” seems to think it can do this. This small “I” sees it all as impossible, because the small “I” is not the power behind one’s life-task…

“Our proper life-task must necessarily appear impossible to us, for only then can we be certain that all our latent powers will be brought into play.” ~ C. G. Jung, Letters vol. 1, p. 94

I can see that what I sense lies ahead appears impossible, and reading Jung’s words helps me have a sense of why that is. These latent powers within us can come forth when we get out of our own way, in a sense a kind of ‘bowing down’ to the real you that you are, the one you are afraid of. In my experience, it doesn’t have anything to do with the small “I”, or me, that is attached to the outcomes, does want success, or longs to have it be seen or received in a certain way.

That part will always try to control, and it is this control that is creating a sense of stuckness within.

A Call to Fearlessness

I have dined on Margaret Wheatley’s wisdom many times in my life. I first saw her speak in person in 2005 at one of the Thought Leaders Gathering in the Bay Area. Her wisdom, as she shares in this short video, always opens something new in me…

This Saturday, October 22nd, along with the wise and multi-talented Barbara McAffee, Margaret Wheatley will speak to a community of change-agents in a day-long event titled, A Call to Fearlessness: Discovering Your True Leadership Voice to Create Community and Joy.

Hosted by Bay Area Coaches, this is going to be an event to open your heart to doing work in the world in an entirely different way. Even if you don’t live in the Bay Area, you can still attend via simulcast.

And, if you buy one ticket to attend in person, you can purchase a second ticket for a friend at half price – either in person or via simulcast.

Take a moment right now to taste more of Margaret Wheatley’s wisdom in this article on Eight Fearless Questions. I promise, you’ll come away with an entirely new take on what it means to be fearless.

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11 Replies to “Fearlessness & Work as Offering”

  1. Your exploration here echos what moved through me yesterday when I posted this:

    “How to reverse engineer your Dream Life:
    Start not with what you want to HAVE in your life, but rather what you want to FEEL. When you are laser-clear on how you want to feel, the DOING list also becomes clear AND aligned with the “state of BEing” you ultimately want to cultivate. 😉
    What do you want to FEEL more of in your life? (A biggie for me is JOY!)”

    Of course Love is the key player in a fulfilling life well-lived (in my opinion.) Keep sharing y our voice Julie…you give me courage to continue clearing my own voice channel and share more of my own. 😉

  2. AMEN! I love that your glimpse of the love you are is too immense to hold… because that means we all get the gift of what you can’t contain. Thanks for your words, Julie.

  3. Your insights echo mine, Julie, as I’ve sat deep inside the bottom and now just begin to climb out and up right side of the U (think Otto Scharmer, Theory U), as I find meaning, determine value and offering in this a very different workplace, very different culture. Personal and systemic grief, uncertainty, fear and constriction abound, within and around.
    I’ve been writing in several places (posting my own blog tonight) what I am “re-remembering”: it is now, more than ever, not about what I do, but about who I am, and how I bring that “I am that I am.” Thank you for your thoughtful eloquence.

  4. SO much in here, Julie AND I would have been beyond content/challenged with just the first Wheatley quote and your thoughts on “stuckness.” How we strive and strain. And indeed, how we fear. Better stated, how I strive and strain; how I fear. I do both…all the time. This call to seeing the WAY that we offer as the offering itself? Stunning. And SO much more for me to ponder! THANK YOU.

  5. Julie, Oh how the universe works. Why I even feel surprised by synchronicity anymore I don’t know? Maybe I don’t feel surprise just delight. Anyway, not half an hour ago I was musing on feeling limited to do everything I want to do, share all the parts of myself, because of a fear that this might make some people turn away from me or mean I would lose clients.

    Thanks for bringing me a little closer to meeting and moving through my fears with this post. May our work and lives be a gift, above all else.

  6. So well stated, Julie. This year for me with the loss of both of my beloved dogs has put me where nothing is possible unless it represents the Big Truth of what I am here to do. My way of getting beyond a limited definition for myself and others is to ask that we name our Original Medicine. Have you revisited yours lately? Standing in the power of that knowing, my experience is we step out fully and embody our gifts even when the outcome is unclear, because we understand that without each of us holding our strand of the web of life, hope is elusive. Thanks for your thoughtful and provocative postings, dear friend.

  7. Julie, I love the words “offer” and “gift” and “lightly” in the Wheatley quote–they are a lovely contrast to the way I have been taught to think about work and the way I present myself to the world in general. In the “lightly offered gift” model you describe here, “push,” “attachment,” “quid pro quo,” and of course, “fear” are beautifully absent.

  8. I love this post – have loved it since you posted it when I didn’t have time to string 3 words together and call it a comment. Oh, Jewels, reading this is like laying my head on a soft, supportive pillow. A head so weary from trying to justify and quantify and even explain what I really want to do. To just lay it down, to just do it . . . with love and joy and lightness . . . without worrying a wrinkle about how it will play out at the bank or will “they” understand or the ever-dreaded what-will-they-think. Such a lightness of being. Such a relief and a release. Such a gift. It’s so simple, so obvious, so right, I just laugh out loud.

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