Archive for January, 2011
This last month has been a high-change period for me, on a professional level. It started with unexpected shifts in two staff positions, which had a big ripple effect into other areas of the business, and led to our fast-tracking some big changes we had anticipated making later in the year.
I noticed that the part of this situation I found most stressful and not-fun was the initial stage: the sudden appearance of new and very different circumstances. It made me realize that the thing I most dislike about change is the sense that the ground has changed under me without any warning. It feels scary and out-of-control: it’s the reason people don’t like earthquakes.
My business partner Jeff and I immediately went into assess-and-envision mode, and within a few days, we had clarified our hoped-for future in this situation, and had a good and reasonable path laid out for getting there. It was still somewhat stressful, because even though we had it mapped out, I still wasn’t sure if we could make it work. In other words, less out-of-control, but still scarily variable-laden.
Now, three weeks or so in, the big pieces are falling into place, and I find I’m getting excited. The part of change I like is making it happen; I like it when things actually start moving toward a new state.
So, what about you? Do you love the whole process of change? Hate it all? Or like me, do you not like the initial stages (especially when the change isn’t self-initiated), but like it when it’s moving toward some positive end-state?
I’m not a religious person. I have a whole litany of issues with organized religion; I won’t bore you with the details.
However, I have a really lovely relationship with the power that sustains the universe. I feel enormously grateful for being alive and for the ability to love and be loved; I am daily aware of the extraordinary grace and beauty that shines through the physical world, the faces of my loved ones, a line of poetry, a simple melody. I am often struck with joy for no discernible reason. I celebrate and express my thanks by making the effort to live as clear and honorable and loving a life as I am capable of living.
I’m reading a wonderful book right now, Chasing Francis, by a new friend and colleague, Ian Cron. It’s a spiritual exploration in novel form, and it’s resonating for me really deeply. The protagonist goes through a spiritual crisis and awakening, helped along by a cast of quirky and thoughtful characters, who focus him on the life and teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi. Ian deals with the central issues of God, faith and religion in such a loving, clear way – unflinching and at the same time funny – that I find myself completely enchanted.
It’s reinforcing for me that our longing for the divine, and our pure joy in feeling that divinity, is the basic human need and fulfillment. And that there is no need to put our experience of the divine in a separate compartment of our lives, labeled “religion” or “spirituality”; our appreciation of this divinely benevolent universe can infuse every aspect of our lives, every day.
Thank you, Ian.
Yesterday I had lunch with the newest member of the Proteus team, a wonderful guy named Jason Kent – authentic, smart and capable – with whom I’m very excited about working. This morning I’m going to see potential spaces for our new Manhattan offices. Later today I’m talking with another new “Protean,” a lovely, passionate man named Ian Cron who’s working to get certified in our Vision and Strategy process and take it into a new market. And this afternoon, my partner Jeff and I are interviewing candidates for the new position of office manager and executive assistant in the new office.
New year, indeed!
Whew! It’s times like this that I feel grateful for two things: the constants in my life, and a process for envisioning, planning and executing change. In this swirl of newness, my beloved husband, my kids, my siblings, friends, and my dear partner Jeff are solid and present. And our approach to being strategic – yes, we do eat our own caviar – provides a wonderful mindset and skill set for clarifying and moving toward the hoped-for future.
I suspect I’m not the only one making big changes as we start to come out of the recession. How do you keep yourself grounded and moving forward in times of especially high change?
That is, absolutely free of charge. Not a bad deal. I began my blog at forbes.com, How Work Works, on Wednesday, and I invite you to take a look. It will be less free-form than this one (where I talk about pretty much whatever strikes my fancy).
I actually established my intended turf in my first post. I talked about my belief that work should and can be both productive and fun – and my related belief that doing good work and having a good time are what most people want from their jobs. I set a goal of focusing on making work what we want it to be.
I’d love to have you be a part of that conversation, if that sounds interesting to you: let’s share things at work and in business that we observe are working well, and think about how we can help those things spread. And let’s talk about things that aren’t working so well, and how we might be able to fix them.
In the spirit of that, my second post was about Groupon – a company that seems to be doing well on a how bunch of levels: building a “tribe” of highly engaged employees who are providing a useful service in a simple way that benefits consumers, businesses and groupon. Not just win-win: win-win-win!
I think this is going to be a good year. Of course, I generally think that – I tend to approach every new year with optimism; it’s how I’m wired.
But this year I’m particularly excited. On the professional front, there are a number of things that Jeff and I and our team at Proteus set in motion last year that should bear fruit this year. On the personal side, everything just seems to be getting better and better – more love, deeper connections, health and growth on lots of levels. And a grandbaby!
And it seems that some pundits (and the data they’re looking at) are agreeing with me. I just read an article in Bloomberg a few days ago about the housing market showing some signs of resuscitation (housing starts are up; prices have risen in some markets for the first time in almost four years). And then I watched an ABC News video that talks very positively (and persuasively) about the prospects for economic recovery in the US.
So here’s what I propose. This year, let’s each put a moratorium on talking so much about how things suck (even if they do), and instead, turn our attention to how to make things — in our own lives and in society in general — better.
What do you think?