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LEAN OUT, BREAK FREE, RISE UP!

Introduction

This is a book about finding the courage to change your life when you’re torn between the need to cling to what is known and predictable, and being compelled by an inner urge to grow beyond what you already know.  At the point where those two conflicting needs meet, there is a gap.  This book is about getting inside that gap, finding the tools to re-invent yourself, build your courage, and create a brave new life beyond the box.  

Inside your comfort zone, you know the game. You’ve carefully set up your life to be predictable with no surprises.  You’ve screened and filtered out the people and events that could potentially shake things up.  And because comfort zones are designed for, guess what, comfort, you can remain in your nice little nest, pull up the covers and settle in for a stress free life.  And sooner or later, like Rip Van Winkle, you’ll fall asleep.  

And then one day, you wake up and realize that stress free life feels more like a prison than a cozy nest.  What used to have you feel safe and secure, now feels like a suit of armor, encasing your entire body.  You yearn to break free and break loose.  You long to know what lies beyond that box, constructed so long ago from your limiting beliefs, fears, unexpressed emotions, painful memories, and stories from your past.  You long to grow and explore the territory out beyond what you already know.  And finally, one day, you build up the courage to lean out, break free and rise up.  

This book is about what it takes to make the journey from inside the box to beyond the box.  It seems like such a short distance.  How could it be so difficult to take that step?  How is it you’ve spent your entire life in resistance to making this leap?  How much of your energy have you invested in keeping the walls of the box intact?  How many wondrous possibilities have you missed, having chosen instead to remain inside what you felt you could control?

These are the myths you’ll be confronting as we journey together beyond the box.  I have taken this journey with thousands of people during the past forty-three years in my career as a personal and leadership development trainer.  

For decades, I have coached clients and training participants in countries all over the world to  “think outside the box”. I taught that if we want to create different results than the ones we currently have, it requires that we think differently than we’ve always thought and take different kinds of actions than the ones we’ve always taken.  That is still sound advice.  But it’s no longer enough simply to think outside the box.   

In today’s environment, change is happening so quickly we often don’t even have time to consider “thinking” outside the box.  Why?  Because we have entered a time where whatever box we might have thought we were thinking inside of has been blown to smithereens and is nothing more than a memory.  The very idea of having a comfort zone is becoming history. Change is now happening so rapidly, we must learn to adapt our ideas of what constitutes comfort.  We are evolving into a new species of humans who no longer have comfort as an option.  In other words, we must learn to become comfortable being uncomfortable!  

In case you’re still holding on to the shreds of that old box, still hoping there’s light at the end of that tunnel, still wanting to play safe and thinking that strategy will produce the satisfying life you yearn to live, I hate to tell you, but that ship has sailed. The old box has been shredded and is on its way to recycling.  

So what’s the alternative?  What comes after the box is gone?  Isn’t peace and comfort what everyone wants?  Isn’t that what we all work so hard to achieve? 

Why should anyone give up a life of comfort and choose to confront their fear instead?  Why would I, or anyone, suggest that a more creative, fulfilling life lies beyond the box?  What constitutes an “uncomfortable life” that is actually worth living?  I’ve written this book to address these questions as they lie at the heart of what drives 99% of human behavior.  

For starters, how about learning to live from a fuller expression of your potential, with freedom, courage, choice and creativity as your guideposts? How about welcoming the opportunity to create a life not based on old beliefs, patterns, attitudes and opinions?  Why not embrace the idea that you can learn to operate free of the expectations of parents, teachers and other well meaning people who planted their own fears into what became your “box” where you took up the mantle and lived as if it were your own?  Let’s learn to live bravely.  Let’s learn to lean out, break free and rise up to the challenges that face us as human beings on the planet in the twenty first century.  

If you’re facing these questions in your own life, this book is for you.  Think of this as the manual for upgrading your life when the old manual has become outdated. 

It offers practical advice on how to develop the necessary skills needed to prepare you for living that brave, new life you desire.  

Each chapter addresses issues we’re all facing as we face these turbulent times and offers guidance for how to find your way towards living a purposeful and satisfying life beyond the box.

My intention is to have this book support you to update the files on your mental, emotional and spiritual hard drives.  Which files need deleting because their programming has kept you stuck? What new files are necessary to help you move forward and create the life you want now? 

Our job, as human beings inhabiting planet Earth today, is to develop the inner and outer skills necessary to find our selves again and again as we get caught in the riptides of change and lose our way. Life today dictates you learn these skills and do this work.   

In spite of the chaos, disruption and turbulence, we can learn to not only survive but also thrive in these times.  We can use this time as an opportunity to clean our inner house, take a reckoning of ourselves, discover who are, and learn to build courage and resilience.  We can learn to use the energy of chaos and turbulence to create lasting, transformational change in our lives, if we’re willing to prepare ourselves and participate fully.   

One thing is for certain:  we’re not going back from whence we came.  But neither do we know what lies ahead.  We only know we have within ourselves the raw material from which to forge a creative and satisfying life, even in the face of unprecedented change, and even if we don’t yet know how to access that raw material.  We can sense it’s potential and that’s the fuel we’re going to use to build out that brave, new life. 

Are you ready to begin?  So am I.  Let’s get started.