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Dreaming & Risking: Anaïs Nin's Poetry and the OpenSourceOD Approach to Transformation

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom ~ Anaïs Nin

A change is like the dance of a dervish; it revolves, it evolves, and it invites us to embrace its rhythm. A change brings fear but also holds a potential for magnificent beauty. A change demands us to be dreamers and risk-takers, embodying the ideals of a genuine transformer.

Such transformational change resonates with the eloquent verses of the 20th-century writer and diarist, Anaïs Nin, particularly in two of her enchanting poems, "The Dream" and "Risk".

As I delved into the depths of Nin's poetic mastery tonight, I couldn't help but see a clear mirror of our endeavors here at OpenSourceOD.

Her words echo the spirit of our M.O.S.T Meaningful Work Project and the space we create through Immersive Learning Circles. "The Dream," as Nin frames it, is not an illusion, but a vibrant pulsating reality where we come face-to-face with our desires and passions, reminiscent of the journey we undertake with our M.O.S.T Assessment. On the other hand, "Risk" embodies the uncharted territory we explore in our Immersive Learning Circicles. It's about embracing vulnerability, stepping into the fear of failure, pain, and loss, for it is through risk-taking that we unearth our true selves and discover our genuine passions.

​The Dream

I had a dream,

a vivid, pulsating dream,

where the boundaries of reality dissolved,

and I floated in a sea of sensations.

In that dream,

I discovered my hidden desires,

my secret passions,

and the depths of my own being.

I woke up,

longing to chase that dream,

to bring it to life,

to make it my reality.


Risking everything for love,

taking the leap,

risking complete exposure,

telling all,

showing all,

revealing all,

risking ridicule,

risking failure,

risking rejection,

risking pain,

risking loss,

risking myself.

Only through risk can I gain my true self.

Only through risk can I find my true love.

Anaïs Nin herself was an emblem of risk-taking and dreaming. In an era when many women were confined by societal norms, Nin dared to explore the depths of her own psyche, embracing the unfamiliar and often unsettling terrain of her desires and passions. Her unflinching authenticity and courage in expressing her innermost thoughts and feelings were seen as radically ahead of her time. In Nin's remarkable life and profound poetry, we find parallels with our endeavors at OpenSourceOD, particularly in our M.O.S.T Meaningful Work Project and our Immersive Learning Circles.

The M.O.S.T Meaningful Work Program

Just as Nin awakened to chase her dream, we invite you to explore your unique strengths and interests through our M.O.S.T Meaningful Work Assessment. M.O.S.T. stands for Mastering Organizational & Societal Transformation and it has been taken over 1,000 times! Peter Block recently suggested we call it an "invitation" rather than an assessment. Although it takes the "form" of an assessment, it's "function" is to invite you into a personalized view of possibility based on research around the attributes of real careers which mean different things to different change agents! By taking this first step, you'll begin to align your inherent abilities and aspirations with professions that resonate more as 'professional callings' rather than mere occupations. The result? You'll embark on a fulfilling journey that reveals your distinct Meaningful Career Preference from 16 possible pathways. And that's just the beginning!

The detailed, personalized report that pops into your inbox reveals potential career paths suited to your preference, supplemented with a range of resources drawn from comprehensive research among positive change experts, educators, employers, and emerging practitioners. It is akin to stepping into Nin's dream - a vivid, pulsating dream that dissolves the boundaries of conventional reality and opens up a universe of thrilling possibilities.

We'd like to think that in addition to two years worth of research, the Organization Development Network gave us its 2023 Article of the Year Award because our "Invitation" helps dreamers (who help other dreamers) strategically chart genuinely meaningful OD career journeys. To make sense of these possibilities in a meaningful and strategic fashion, you are also invited to join me in one-on-one coaching that has already resulted in dozens of "dream realizations" by participants (check out the testimonials!).

Immersive Learning Circles (ILCs)

Now, what about the risk that Nin speaks of in her verse? We venture into this territory through our Immersive Learning Circles (ILCs). Here, you, like Nin, risk everything for the love of self-exploration and growth. The ILCs challenge you to remain flexible amidst ambiguity, regulate your emotions effectively, understand non-verbal cues, embrace mistakes as learning opportunities, and act with amplified confidence.

These circles are not just about risk; they're about exhilaration, the exhilaration of discovery, of learning alongside fellow change agents who, like Nin, push boundaries and strive to infuse humanity back into work and society. Anaïs Nin was a dreamer and a risk-taker, and through her, we're reminded that to transform - ourselves, our work, our society - we must dare to dream and be bold enough to risk. At OpenSourceOD, we offer you the tools and space to embark on this transformative journey. Inspired by Nin, we invite you to step into your dream, embrace the exhilaration of risk, and become the change agent you're destined to be.

Stir up your Status Quo Here are closing questions you might consider yourself (and share with colleagues) if you are so bold. Transformation demands a degree of audacity. The audacity to ask the questions we shy away from; questions that jolt us from complacency and ignite our radical potential.

  1. Are you dreaming, or simply sleepwalking through life? Is your dream just an escape from reality, or a burning beacon that fires up your passions and demands action?

  2. How boldly are you carving your path towards your wildest dream? Are you treading lightly, afraid to disturb the quiet, or are you raising a storm, determined to turn your vision into reality?

  3. Are you playing it safe, or are you playing for keeps? Do you retreat into your comfort zone when faced with uncertainty, or do you dive headfirst into the unknown, intrigued by what you might discover?

  4. When was the last time you danced with danger and emerged stronger? What did this encounter with raw vulnerability reveal about your resilience, and how did it redefine your relationship with risk?

  5. Are you willing to put it all on the line for your dream? How prepared are you to strip away the façade, defy the cynics (including the cynic in you), confront failure head-on, and risk heartbreak in pursuit of your deepest desires?

The Diaries of Anaïs Nin

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