Tonight I read to my children from a collection of Aesop’s fables. We ended the night by reading, The North Wind and the Sun. If you’re not familiar with this fable, here’s how it goes (borrowing from wikipedia):
The North Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger, when a traveler came along wrapped in a warm cloak.
They agreed that the one who first succeeded in making the traveler take his cloak off should be considered stronger than the other.
Then the North Wind blew as hard as he could, but the more he blew the more closely did the traveler fold his cloak around him;
and at last the North Wind gave up the attempt. Then the Sun shined out warmly, and immediately the traveler took off his cloak.
And so the North Wind was obliged to confess that the Sun was the stronger of the two.
The moral of the story has been offered several ways through history. The moral I prefer is: Persuasion is better than force.
Instead–okay, maybe in addition–I’d rather you consider being a sun in your own life and allowing yourself to see potential and the warmth in trying something new (say, like driving change or making a career change or investing in your strengths).
Stop being your own north wind, who’s constantly beating yourself up for not being smart enough, fast enough, brave enough–you pick–to have chosen long ago to drive change (or learn a foreign language, or whatever you’d like to do and haven’t done yet).
Let your sun shine, take off your coat and get to work driving change or whatever it is you want to do.