Today, I’m inviting you to join me in a commitment.
As some of you have read about here, for the past several months I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, worried about what’s happening in our U.S. election.
In July, during one of my nights awake, something interesting happened.
As I stared into the night sky, suddenly a string of words – a thought – arose in my mind.
It came from a soft voice I’ve heard before. That voice is always quiet but firm, matter-of-fact. It never needs more than a few words to say what it has to say. And, interestingly, it shows up more when I’m praying or meditating more frequently.
So, as you can imagine, I’ve come to pay close attention to it.
That night it said this:
“Make the hours of your action equal to the hours of your worry.”
I understood that to mean:
Tara, however many hours you are going to spend ruminating
about the dangers of what’s happening, or venting about them,
spend at least that amount of time doing something that
could make a positive difference.
It suddenly felt clear to me that this is what it means for me to be responsible about what is happening in our country right now. And it also felt clear that this was one of the only ways I was going to find sanity around it.
So then and there, I committed to make the hours of my action equal those of my worry.
The “worrying” side of the ledger includes anything I do around the election that will have no practical impact on its outcome: lamenting or ridiculing what “the other side” just did. Consuming media that largely does the same. It includes any form of preaching to the converted. All of those go on the unproductive side of the tally.
On the other side is volunteering, donating, fundraising, speaking up in ways that I think could matter, and listening in ways that I think could matter.
None of the “worrying” activities are bad. They each have their functions – some educational, some therapeutic. But in this critical time, I believe there is no excuse for making them one’s primary form of engagement.
Here’s a summary of what’s on each side of the tally, for me.
Like so many of the kinds of positive action we talk about in the Playing Big model, the things we do on the “making a difference” side of the ledger may feel a little uncomfortable or scary at first, but ultimately are much more fulfilling, fun and interesting. There is lots of new learning – about yourself and other people – that comes from the activities on the “action” side. Not so much on the other side.
I also encourage you to look at the beliefs you hold as you are taking action – or the beliefs that may hold you back from taking action. For women, “playing small” narratives like these often get in our way around political involvement:
Today, I want to ask you to join me.
In making the hours of your action equal to – or more than – the hours of your worry.
In playing bigger in how you contribute to what is happening in our collective conversation and society right now.
Share this with your friends if you’d like them to join, too. Forward to a friend who you’d love to see speaking up more. Share this challenge with your community on Facebook here, or on Twitter here.
This is going to take all of us.
Tara Sophia Mohr
And don’t forget…
The next session of my Playing Big Course for women is starting soon!
This is my in-depth personal and professional growth class for any woman who is feeling the call to make a greater impact and experience more fulfillment in her life and work. We cover everything you need to play bigger – including working with self-doubt and fear, unhooking from praise and criticism, communication and negotiation skills, and clarifying your calling.
If you are interested in receiving details about the course and getting access to our early bird discount, sign up for our Playing Big Early Information list here.