There is a common example in yoga about the importance of holding tension. Namely, that we must inhale and exhale to stay alive. They refer to it as “riding the breath.”
And, I get that sort of literal example. I have to sustain the right blend of breadth and depth to advance in what I’m doing.
Athletes work to sustain peek flexibility and strength. Organizations move between local and distributed control, or of innovation and efficiency. In any of these examples, the goal is to balance the act of replicating success against the need to get to the next performance level.
And there it is, sneaking up on me: my comfort zone.
Too much effort on either side leads to lopsided outcomes. When I merely replicate what I am good I lean more toward efficiency and stagnate. When this happens, it’s an indicator that it’s time to start taking a few more risks and start innovating.
Easier said than done.
Finding tension in this sense is messy, unsteady, risky, and hard. It requires me to be highly focused. I have to find ways to manage my emotions of overwhelm, frustration, or even boredom in order to remain present and pay serious attention to the nuances of my work.
I have to learn to adopt a certain kind of stance, one that is relaxed with what is and what will be.