I know exactly what I need (and want!) to change in my life, and I try, but I just can't do it!  Ever had a feeling like that? 

Enter the power of crossing a threshold. 

When it happened, my wife and I were standing in the kitchen next to a simmering pot of coconut curry soup. It was Fall workday dusk in New York City, that shimmering in-between time when the ambition of the city gives way to its inexplicable peace.

We had a full-presence conversation—you know, one of those intense (while not fighting) and loving (while not cuddling) exchanges. 

It was about a dinner we had with our guests last weekend. How did the evening go, what did we notice, stuff like that. As we stood in the middle of the kitchen, an issue emerged, gently, seemingly from nowhere, namely my propensity to take up space with words.

It has been a problem, for years, limiting me relationally, professionally, and spiritually. It touched the nerve.

She grew silent. I grew silent. We were both fully there, sensing that something was about to shift. Then, as if putting a line on the kitchen floor for me to cross, she said: “Is it time? For you. To tell yourself, ‘I’m done with the life of talking. I am a listener now.’”

I stepped forward and moved the soup off of the flame. It was done.

The life of talking.

Right then and there, I released my old story and stepped into my new story.

What a decade of training could not do—turning me from a human transformation amateur to a human transformation professional, a complex transition—it happened in the here and now of the kitchen. 

No, I did not become a listening pro at that instant. But I knew that I would.

I crossed a threshold.

The power of crossing thresholds was first discovered by anthropologists as a natural, versatile, and lasting mechanism of human transformation across religions, cultures, and time. It is grounded in ancient wisdom, confirmed by behavioral science, and expanded upon by contemporary neuroscience and design thinking.

We don’t drift into the life that we want.

We don’t break into the life that we want.

We enter it by crossing thresholds.

Right now, invisible to you and me, we are already transforming within and preparing our outer world for our next threshold-crossing. Our attention is already migrating and our new self is already forming. Are you a bit tired of the old story you have been telling yourself and others?  Have courage; a truer self and a larger story is already growing inside of you. The kitchen moment is coming.

What separates people who live out their dream (living one’s own life) and people who chase a fantasy (living someone else’s life) are the thresholds that we approach deliberately.

We recognize the season of change. We design the threshold with the intentionality, care, and help of others. And finally, we cross the threshold and enter the unknown, changed forever!


FYI, I am working on a digital course/experience called: Cross Your Next Threshold: Eight Weeks to Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life. If you resonate and would like to help me develop it, you can join the interest list:

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Do you like this and want to dive deeper? Make sure to check out my free infographic about a life-giving Practice of Not Knowing...


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