THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE

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Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

Some people are born with higher degrees of restlessness around the ordinary and I confess to falling into that category. Since an extraordinary existence is sustained in the companionship of like-minded people, I particularly like the coaching world because it attracts those people, both clients and colleagues. Most are team oriented in the way they live their lives; long-lasting close relationships are the norm; they love community and they have a life purpose which includes “living life fully and helping others do the same,” as my colleague Phil Sandhal maintains as his purpose in life.

Committing to an extraordinary, fully-lived life requires practice and discipline. That discipline is found where beliefs are challenged, where we let go of thinking that we know our limitations.

Having an adventurous life can mean letting go of living a well-planned life and instead striving for a life with commitment to a vision and a purpose. The well-planned life will often be predictable and secure, but the visionary life keeps dropping us into the unknown. It is that uncertain future that gives rise to extraordinary outcomes.

Robert Quinn, in his book Deep Change, speaks of the ability to discard inaccurate assumptions and ineffective strategies and replace them with unconditional confidence – confidence that does not have the limitations of consensus and tradition. This is the selftrust we must call upon when we reach the edge of our comfort zone.

I know for myself that I need to be challenging myself in life as much as I challenge my clients. Robert Quinn calls the territory just beyond the edge the chasm of uncertainty, and that is where miracles happen. He says: “Trusting in our vision enough to start our journey into the chasm of uncertainty, believing that the resources will appear, can be very difficult.”

It is grounding when Robert Quinn reminds us of the power of intention. He continues: “The fact that we have enough trust and belief in ourselves to pursue our vision is what signals to others that the vision is worth investing in . . . it is usually our actions, not our words, that send the message.”

— Dan Petersen

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