I’m uncomfortable even typing that. I’m not certain. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. My story is not fully written yet (FYI: I hope it’s an epic dramedy). You’re probably uncertain. Your story is not fully written yet. And I think that’s great. (If you are certain, I call bullshit.)
Let’s talk about work.
I recently went to a leadership talk given by Liz Wiseman and her surprising, yet welcome theme was this – we’re all winging it at work. She is winging it. You are winging it. I am winging it.
Liz teaches leadership to global executives – Apple, Disney, Nike, Google. She’s listed as one of the top 10 leadership thinkers in the world and, in her spare time, she wrote three best-selling books.
And she thinks we’re all winging it. Scary, right? How can that be when we’re taught to have the answers and are reprimanded when we don’t? How can that be when our intelligence and ability is evaluated based on our knowing how to do things?
So how does winging it fit in? It doesn’t. So we hide it. We hide that we don’t know.
What about love?
Just as we’re expected to know in business, we’re expected to know in love. But do we? Can we? I’m not sure. Love is a big part of our unwritten story.
In Helen Fisher’s TEDtalk about love, she explains that “millions of years ago, we evolved three brain drives: lust, romantic love and attachment.” We know that. We call it monogamy. But we’re also hardwired to “feel deep attachment to a long-term partner while you feel intense romantic love for somebody else, while you feel the sex drive for people unrelated to these other partners.”
Scary, right? I mean we’ve totally bought into monogamy and soul mates and marriage and forever plot. So how does loving multiple people at the same time fit in with soul mates? How does promising monogamy forever – knowing until death do you part – fit in? It doesn’t. So we hide it. We hide that we don’t know.
Let’s talk about not knowing.
If we’re all winging it, why are we all hiding it? I don’t know. I suspect we’re afraid of failure and of being alone and that leads us to fake it until we make it a lot. But that’s a big topic for a different article.
In the meantime, let’s just admit that we’re not sure. Let’s talk about it. Openly. Without judgment. Let’s confess at work and at home that we don’t know. And let’s figure out the ending together.
That’s winging it. And winging it makes life challenging and exciting. It’s okay to not know. There is a freedom in not knowing the outcome, but finding out. A freedom in not knowing about forever, but allowing your relationship to grow and fit in different ways. A freedom in fucking up and learning and doing it all again. That’s life. It’s messy and imperfect. And it’s great. That’s our story.