More lessons from the edge

In my work as an experiential educator in the fields of leadership and team building, I often invite people to play with their edges. I do this because we know from research and practice that when an individual does this, growth and learning happens. We know that when growth and learning happens, capacity expands.

It’s easier to talk about when we are all in our comfort zones. What I know and what I experienced while hiking up Doe mountain is that when I was afraid, that would have been the absolute worst time to talk to me about expanding my capacity. If you would have asked me in that moment “what are you learning?”…I probably would have cussed you out and said something like “I have no f#*king idea what I’m learning, I’m just trying to keep one foot in front of the other and not fall off this d#%m edge”.

I share this because sometimes as a leader you simply have to take people to their edges and give them experiences there. The time to reflect and articulate the learning from the experience is NOT when the person is playing on the edges of the experience. Those times are generally messy, emotional, and COMPLETELY necessary for growth and learning to happen. Understanding happens with reflection, choice, and application of these newly learned skills.

Some of your colleagues will LOVE talking about what they are learning from the edges, some will LOVE not talking about what they are learning from the edges and rather enjoy simply playing there, some will resist going to the edges yet yearn to go there, while others will LOVE to list the step by step procedure for going to the edges and beyond.

Some of you are reading this and probably have some great examples of learning that happened around the edges where you work or live. I’d love to hear about them. Please do share here.


About melindarabrams

Melinda Abrams, CPCC, MSA is a champion of the shared experience. She consistently moves individuals and groups to deeper levels of connection and support, and models ‘being moved’ by what is present in the space. She believes that in this creative combustion, capacity expands ….simply, naturally, magnificently. In addition to coaching corporate executives, Melinda takes great pleasure collecting and sharing messages about Loving the Life you Lead on facebook and her blog Moving Leaders. She loves coaching, delivering experiential programs at outdoor education centers, teaching teleclasses, holding weekend retreats, and guiding leaders to MOVE. Melinda brings over 20 years of teaching and leadership development to Moving Leaders. Her work spans experiences with youth, corporate clients, and both business and medical graduate students at Duke, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest Universities. Her commitment is to serve emerging leaders as they move towards shared enthusiastic leadership. And YES! Melinda is also an artist. She creates unique handpainted scarves. In my art, my coaching, and my spiritual practice I consistently return to wonder and awe. As I turn to wonder and create from there I experience a profound connection with source. This movement brings me to this latest series of scarves. I love the idea of wrapping oneself in an idea–an intention– a possibility, and creating beauty with that intention. My hope is that when one chooses this scarf to wear, they turn from disconnected bland to soulful brilliant. Of course when the scarf is open and hung you can read the message, yet when it is draped and worn, the message is simply seen as a design. My promise is that the wearer is reminded to turn towards the message and that the message is shared through the wearers actions and interactions with others. Melinda Abrams Melinda loves living in Chapel Hill, NC with her husband and three children.
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