If you have some of these fears and doubts, don´t worry—you are not alone! Change can be scary, and fear is one of the first things that can surface when we unearth the world of possibilities that a program like the Inner MBA inspires: fear that we are not enough, that we will be rejected, and that the problems plaguing our families, organizations, and communities are just too big and we are just too small. But what if we are looking at things from the wrong perspective? What if we were to look at things from a different angle?
Shifting from Fear to Love
Wes Nisker interviewed Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Snyder. At 92 he is one of our greatest poets and environmentalists—Gary has been writing about the environment for more than 50 years. Wes asked him about the climate problems, global warming, rising oceans, loss of species. Did Gary have any advice for us? “Don’t feel guilty,” he said. “Guilt and anger and fear are part of the problem. If you want to save the world, save it because you love it!” (Kornfield, 2020)
This is sound advice not just for environmental advocacy, but for making a difference in any area of life that matters to us. When we connect with what we love and source ourselves from it, we tap into the most powerful life force there is, and our actions cease to be about our separate, small selves. Sourcing ourselves and our work from a place of love rather than fear allows us to access joy, synchronicity, and creativity, all powerful qualities for changing the world around us.
Small Is All!
I remember during one of the live broadcasts in the Inner MBA asking Tami a question about making a significant difference, which in my mind equated to doing something big. Her answer surprised me. Basically, she questioned why I thought making a significant difference had to do with doing something big and said to me that small is all! This phrase has stayed with me. It is a reminder that every act of consciousness, kindness, compassion, service, and love, no matter how small, is in and of itself significant. Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can all do small things with great love.”
To me, doing small things with great love means fully showing up wherever I am, being considerate and kind to all the people I meet, being of service to others whenever I can, and letting go of my reasons, opinions, and judgments when they do not serve the greater good. It can be as simple as really listening to someone else, offering a kind word to someone, speaking the truth when no one else will, or smiling and finding joy even (and especially) in difficult moments. It means letting go of delusion about the way things should be and making a difference right where I am within the circumstances and realities of my life.
What does doing small things with great love mean to you?
In my work as an organizational consultant, I often find myself in difficult situations where people are simply not willing or ready to change. No matter how logical a change might seem to me and how much a client says that they are committed to changing, I sometimes find that change as I envision it is just not available. This can be discouraging, particularly if I hold on to my ideas about how change should look. During my career, I have seen many colleagues become bitter because of it. A quote from the Talmud (and the movie Schindler’s List) that keeps me going in my work and life during these difficult situations is “He who saves a life saves the world entire.” We are not called to change the whole world, but rather to make a difference with those people who are in our circle of influence, one person and one conversation at a time. Perhaps making a difference with one person is saving the world entire, and I can certainly do that!
Meeting People Where They Are
Through my work I have also learned, sometimes at the expense of losing a client, that we must meet people where they are. Each of us is on a journey of developing consciousness, and what makes sense to us may not make sense to others in that moment in time, not to mention the fact that our personal ideas of what constitutes what is right could actually be wrong. Perhaps the work of being an agent of transformation is often more about meeting people where they are and helping them to make the next step on their journey rather than forcing our ideas—no matter how enlightened they may seem to us—on them! This requires both humility and wisdom.
Starting Where We Are
We all have specific ideas about what it means to make a difference in our families, communities, and organizations. We may dream of changing our world and think we would do this if only we had more time, money, resources, or ability, but we can only effect change right where we are. As such, making a difference is more about our willingness to fully show up and contribute rather than any special quality or circumstance we may have. Much like spiritual practice, making a difference in the world relies on being present and aware, accepting and surrendering to what is so, and effecting change right where we are with what is available to us in the moment.
Starting where we are means realizing that we are enough to make a profound difference and that the place in which we find ourselves and the people we are with is perfect just as it is for us to begin the process of transformation. In other words, we have everything we need to make a significant difference. The problems of our world may seem too big and daunting for us to tackle, but we can always shift from fear to love and from darkness to light, and choose to be kind, compassionate, generous, and loving with those around us. In a world full of fear, this is nothing short of miraculous!
As Marianne Williamson once said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Bringing transformation to our lives, our families, our communities, our organizations, and to the world at large invites us to go beyond our fears and embrace the light that is always available right where we are.
Eduardo Lan is a consultant and coach with a passion for the human condition and potential. He works with leaders, teams, and individuals to transform organizational culture, enhance communication, improve safety performance, and achieve extraordinary results in both projects and ongoing operations.
With more than 20 years of professional experience in transformational coaching and consulting, he has designed strategies that have enabled outstanding results for his clients’ personal and professional lives.
He has a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in organization development and change from Pennsylvania State University, along with several specializations in consulting, coaching, ontology, MBTI, safety, integral theory, appreciative inquiry, adaptive leadership, conscious leadership, and mindfulness.
Kornfield, J. (2020, January 17). The World Needs Your Love. Jack Kornfield. Retrieved July 10, 2022, from jackkornfield.com/the-world-needs-you.
Williamson, M. (n.d.). A quote from A Return to Love. Goodreads. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from goodreads.com/quotes/928-our-deepest-fear-is-not-that-we-are-inadequate-our.