Edge of Safe

Marilee Adams

Oct 31, 2013

Sometimes we choose to embark on an exciting adventure even when it carries inherent risk and uncertainties—times that are high-stakes and when success really matters. These are times when you know your fears will come to the party but you won’t let them be the life of it. I call this “living at the edge of safe” and I’m about to take a big leap into that space.

On November 2nd we leave for a month-long trip to Malaysia, Singapore and China where I’ll be presenting keynotes and workshops on the POWER THINQING and mindset work to large groups of business people and educators. For me, the biggest challenge will be in Beijing where I’ll be keynoting at a conference of professionals representing 300 Chinese companies. I’m used to delivering the goods to English-speaking audiences, but this is different altogether. What a situation to have my first experience being translated!


Is all the uncertainty worth it? You bet. I invite clients to push their growing edge all the time, and now I get to live that experience myself in a very big way. Fortunately, Kim Aubry, Executive Director of the Inquiry Institute, will be accompanying me for this entire adventure, and her colleagueship and support will make all this both safer and lots more fun.

What an amazing opportunity and privilege for us to be invited to take this thinking, questioning, and mindset work to the other side of the world. I feel a deep responsibility to this work and am honored to be its ambassador.  We’ve loved having people from other countries (including Singapore and China) attend our workshops here in the US – but seeing our work truly live and make a difference in other cultures…this is thrilling in a whole new way.

Still, this trip is a far bigger experience of “not knowing” than either of us is used to.  There are the obvious preparations, including what clothes to take since Malaysia and Singapore will be very hot, probably over 90 degrees F and Beijing will be pretty cold.  But the real preparations for presenting in a very different culture are far more layered and complex.  I am reading like crazy, including a book entitled Think Like Chinese.  We’ve also been having frequent Skype call with colleagues in all three countries.

The experiences of “not knowing” with trips like this are very obvious, especially in the cultural sense.  However, we all face challenges navigating cultural differences across relationships, organizations, regions, and even families.  These are times when the importance of one of the Top 12 Questions for Success rises to another level: “What assumptions am I making?”

There’s a saying that ships are safe in the harbor but that’s not what ships are built for. I’ll be sending you blog posts from our trip so I can share this journey with you. In the meantime, I’d like to share a question that helped me embrace the challenge of this trip. I also offer it as a question for you to ask yourself:

What’s important enough in my own life to choose living at the edge of safe?

Written by:

Marilee Adams

Oct 31, 2013