Would Burke and Wills have set out from Melbourne in 1860 if they had known how the expedition ended?

What would they have done differently? Would they have gone at all?

Burke and Wills achieved the expedition’s goal – to reach the Gulf of Carpentaria…. but did not make it all the way back to home base.

Do we really know what took place? What we do know is that explorers have the courage to go where no-one has gone before, without knowing the outcome. History also tells us that explorers have exhibited enduring levels of stamina, tenacity, and perseverance in their pursuit to survive. There are no guarantees…

As we navigate our way through the COVID pandemic experience, we are explorers too. Just as our predecessors faced adversity, our time has come to deal with a modern genre of ambiguity. The pressure is on for our leaders to dig deep and to draw on their strengths and capabilities to develop new ways of being and doing as they unravel the challenges of our emerging future. Leaders are being called to tap into their inherent levels of courage, to let go of certainty, and view ‘problems’ as ‘symptoms’. By rising upwards to see the whole and distinguishing the complex connections that need fine-tuning, can lead to new solutions that generate more ease and enjoyment for everyone involved.

On a daily basis we are currently being challenged to embrace that state of feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable with the unknown…. These physical moments clear the way to help us see the possibilities.

What feelings come when we move from comfort to discomfort?

In the main we create an emerging awareness of what we might have to deal with. Acknowledging this state has to be appreciated and embraced, because it is useful to recognise the emotion that arrives when we move from comfort to discomfort. The emergent feeling can vary and is frequently associated with fear, trepidation, hope, excitement, or even a sense of joy.

Let us explore this for a moment. What might be the first fear that comes up?

Perhaps a feeling of emptiness, that sense of ‘a void’ associated with not knowing. Or the painful need to let go of something we are deeply attached to. Surely ‘what I already know’ is important?

Ultimately a strong sensation of unease can evoke fear and trepidation. But there is a flip side to this… particularly if we are daring enough to move past our fear and get in touch with the possibilities that are associated with uncertainty.

For the explorer, the adventurer, entrepreneur, letting go of fear of the unknown can stimulate an insatiable and curious appetite for further exploration, learning and discovery. By allowing in an interruption, this momentary bold act has the potential to change everything. It disrupts our ‘go-to’ process of default thinking, that rational logic that supports what we know rather than what we do not know yet.

For breakthrough to happen it is essential to embrace an eagerness to move to a new ‘physical moment’, the place where we can benefit from our insight and connect with our inner-most feelings. That profound place, where we can listen with intent, to make new meaning, create more energy, and test possibilities.

This is that moment when we get comfortable with the feeling of being uncomfortable!

It generously expands the pathway to see what we could not see before.

by Helen Woods