Beyond Our Edge

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Beyond Our Edge

Category:Collaboration,Creation Spaces,Edges,Emotions,Exploration,Institutional Innovation,Learning,Movements,Narratives,Opportunity,Passion,Potential,Trust

I’ve got some exciting news. I’ve opened up a new company – Beyond Our Edge, LLC.  Its goal is to motivate more and more people to come together and move beyond our edge so that we can achieve more of our potential together. Many of us are already drawn to our edge, but we’ll be much more likely to move beyond our edge if we come together on the journey. I’ve always been inspired by the African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.”

This move has been made possible by my retirement from Deloitte, even though I have no intention of “retiring.” I’m now free to venture beyond my edge and I’ll want to connect with others who share my passion for exploration and driving meaningful change.

My next book

In that context, my first priority is to finish writing my next book – its working title is “From Pressure to Passion.” Two triggers motivated me to write this book. First, even though my business career has been largely focused on business strategy, I’ve come to believe that achieving impact depends less on strategy and more on psychology – if we don’t see and understand the emotions that are driving our choices and actions, we’ll never achieve what we really need and want. Second, as I’ve traveled around the world over the past several years (well before the current pandemic), the dominant emotion that I encountered everywhere is fear – at the highest levels of organizations, on the front lines and out in the community.

While that fear is understandable – there are many reasons to be afraid – it’s also potentially very dysfunctional. We need to acknowledge the fear but, equally importantly, we need to find ways to cultivate hope and excitement that will motivate us to move forward in spite of our fear. My new book is partly about my personal journey from fear to hope and excitement, but it draws on that experience to outline approaches that we all can use to make that journey.

While my book focuses on helping people to make this personal journey, it also highlights the need to drive fundamental change in the environments that we live in. We’re in a world that’s rapidly evolving. It’s a paradoxical world – it provides exponentially expanding opportunity as well as mounting performance pressure.

Bringing movements together

Right now, most of us are experiencing mounting performance pressure, in part because all our institutions were designed for an earlier, more stable world. The institutions that provided stability in the past are increasingly proving ill-equipped for the rapidly changing world around us. We all see this. It’s a key reason that trust in all our institutions is eroding around the world. It’s also feeding our fear – the institutions that we thought we could rely on are increasingly failing us.

Our institutions have become significant barriers to our efforts to harness the exponentially expanding opportunity that’s now becoming available to us. So, even if we find ways to overcome our fear and take more bold moves to pursue opportunities, we’ll find our existing institutions standing in our way and limiting our potential for impact.

That’s why we need to drive change on two fronts – individual change and institutional change. For decades, we’ve had two movements proceeding in parallel – the human potential movement and social change movements. The challenge is that there’s very little interaction between these two movements – it’s either all about helping individuals to overcome their internal obstacles or driving change in the broader society or economy. Unless we can drive change on both fronts, we’ll never create the conditions that will enable all of us to achieve much more of our potential by harnessing exponentially expanding opportunity. We need to find ways to bring these two movements together.

Impact groups inspired by narratives

It will come as no surprise to those who’ve been following me to hear that I believe the key to bringing these two movements together is to focus on organizing small impact groups that can then connect and scale their efforts through broader networks and platforms.

Let me be clear – to harness exponentially expanding opportunities, we need to come together. If we act alone, we’ll only achieve a small fraction of the potential available to us. By coming together, we’ll be much more likely to overcome our fear and find the courage to move beyond our edges and achieve much more of our potential.

What will it take to bring us together? I’ve become a strong proponent of opportunity-based narratives that frame really big, inspiring opportunities in the future and that represent a call to action to all of us today, emphasizing that those opportunities will not be achieved unless we act together. Imagine what amazing things we could accomplish if we all came together?

Understanding edges

As we come together, we need to find ways to help each other move beyond our edge. In this context, edges have many meanings. At one level, edges are defined by areas of expertise – for example, marketing, economics or equipment maintenance. At another level, edges are defined by our comfort zones – where do we start to become uncomfortable when confronted with new experiences?

For many of us, edges create the image of a cliff where we need to be very careful or we’ll slip and slide into oblivion. I prefer to view edges as walls – they’re the boundaries that limit our ability to explore and discover more of our potential. And we can’t just look beyond the walls, we need to climb over the walls and explore the territory that’s been hidden from us.

Sure, venturing beyond these walls can be scary and make us very uncomfortable because we’re venturing into unknown territory, but we’re much more likely to make the journey if we’re joined by others whom we trust and who will provide us with support and encouragement. We’re also likely to learn more if we go together, rather than heading out alone. No matter how smart any of us are, we’ll learn a lot faster if we’re sharing experiences with others and learning through action together.

Bottom line

I’m hoping that my new book will become a catalyst to motivate more of us to venture beyond our edge together. Over the next several months, I’ll be looking to connect with others who share my conviction that there’s exponentially expanding opportunity available to all of us if we choose to address the root causes that are holding us back – the emotion of fear within all of us and the institutions that are increasingly serving as barriers to progress. It’s an unprecedented opportunity, but we need to act now, together, and venture beyond our edge.


23 Comments

Maximilian Schroeck

August 31, 2020at 4:40 pm

Looking forward to your new book and more wisdom and insight, John.

Kevin Allen

August 28, 2020at 3:11 pm

Could not agree more John! We have so much opportunity and fear is a major driver that holds many back. It is this fear that structures organizations and incentives in a way that is keeping us from a future of abundance. Looking forward to the many communities around the world that want to positively impact our future coming together!

Paul Kurchina

August 28, 2020at 4:10 am

Congratulations and thanks for sharing

Meg Bear

August 24, 2020at 7:07 pm

The empowered and optimistic framing of this brings me hope. I look forward to reading this when it’s ready.

lisa caulfield

August 24, 2020at 11:43 am

Congratulations John, it was so great to meet you at Deloitte University! I wish you all the best on your next adventure 🙂

Robert Hillard

August 22, 2020at 10:36 pm

I’m really looking forward to your insights which are always, in equal parts, insightful, inspiring and uncomfortable!

Andrea Kates

August 22, 2020at 1:00 pm

Super excited to hear this news. We are overdue for a social distance breakfast to dive deeper into these themes. Really the perfect moment for your approach. Also great potential intersections with my world of Futureproofing: Next and our Grey Swan Guild. Let’s find a time to connect in September. Bravo…

Charlie Firestone

August 22, 2020at 12:18 pm

Congratulations, John. We need to reconnect. The mission of the Rose Bowl Institute is to “champion sportsmanship and leverage the power of sports to unite people everywhere.” http://www.rosebowlinstitute.org

ahmad mansur

August 21, 2020at 8:17 pm

John, congrats on taking the next steps on your own personal journey. Interestingly, I’m actually writing a similar book to be completed this year. My interest is how individuals understand the new terrain to cultivate their talents as a transformational journey of becoming. Some of my thinking comes from your pull model, which remains one of my most recommended books.

Hopefully, we can find a moment to chat, as i am creating online opportunities to do so.

Mark Yolton

August 21, 2020at 2:18 pm

Congratulations, John, on finding the passion and purpose for your next important project. You have a constant introspection, a way of seeing and describing waves and trends of the future, and a knack for pulling people together in a shared mission; I imagine that this next set of work and book will draw on all three skills. I would be honored to participate, assist, or support as you might find useful. Cheers to your next adventure!

Karen Arsenault

August 21, 2020at 1:51 pm

Congratulations, John! Excited to see what comes next. Wishing you all the best.

Heather B

August 21, 2020at 10:57 am

Fabulous – read everything avidly – all the best and will be agog for the next instalment

Bernard O’Brien

August 21, 2020at 6:36 am

John, delighted to hear of this new venture. I continue to be an avid reader of your thinking and wish you good fortune

Annalie

August 21, 2020at 1:55 am

Congratulations John! You’ve been “writing that book for years” – it’s been your passion- and I think the time for passion has arrived!

Would you be interested to talk about joining the sparks & honey Advisory Board as Passion Diviner?

We are 65 amazing people now – everyone an edge thinker/ do-er and all driven by passion!

Braden Kelley

August 21, 2020at 12:12 am

Congratulations John on your new adventure! It has always been a pleasure to follow your thinking and share it with others. I look forward to seeing where you turn your ship next!

Paul

August 20, 2020at 7:52 pm

John exciting news. How may I be of service? It would be great to finally find a way to work together.
Paul

Sarah Queen

August 20, 2020at 7:13 pm

John, I was introduced to your work about 10 years ago by Meg Withgott and Kris Halvorsen, and I have been following you closely since then. I have been bringing your ideas to the oil and gas industry; they are at work in our transformation. I want you to be aware in case you need more contacts in this business. Congratulations on your new chapter!

Henry Chesbrough

August 20, 2020at 7:09 pm

John, congratulations for your long and inspiring contributions at the Center for the Edge. It’s exciting to hear about you going beyond even that. Human potential and social movements clearly need to intersect much more, and opportunity-based narratives make sense to me as an entry point to do that. Best wishes for your next journey!

John Karageorgiou

August 20, 2020at 5:32 pm

All the best John, and so much inspiration to draw from in the writing of your new book. #livingbeyondouredges #connectingbeyondouredges

John Chisholm

August 20, 2020at 5:29 pm

John, delighted and excited. See you on the other side!

Ralf Lippold

August 20, 2020at 3:05 pm

Dear John, Wishing you all the best on your new ventures on the edge (as always). Your first thoughts of your post remind me of what went through my mind when I had listened to 89-year-old Jay W. Forrester in a 90-minutes session during a workshop at MIT Sloan School of Management. “The earliest time to ‘retire’ will be 89. Being as sharp and curious as Jay is what I will aim for!”

Looking forward to seeing you around, and I certainly will have a deeper look at your new book.

Best, your “edgy” friend Ralf

lisa drake

August 20, 2020at 2:21 pm

omg, this is great! i am so interested. the favorite thing i do right now is to help an organization called climate ride which helps to fight climate change by organizing bike rides around the world (pre pandemic) in which participants both raise money for non profits helping the planet and learn about what different countries are doing to promote solutions. bhutan was amazing for ex. i think our little non profit is a microcosm of which you speak!

Terry Heaton

August 20, 2020at 1:49 pm

Beyond the edge means the same thing to me as beyond the sun. This is the realm of the spirit, where science has a difficult time, because it can only measure what’s under the sun. The book of Ecclesiastes spells it out for us, the ultimate prize being to eat, drink, and make the best of what we have under the sun. Your quest seems to want to reach beyond all that, for surely our purpose can’t, in the end, be so self-centered. A great many are searching, and my sword is with you, should you wish to use it.

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