November Thoughts from Sherry
I’ve always enjoyed listening to podcasts and reading books on how human change allows for possibility. Possibility thinking has always attracted me. The glass is half full. Yes, I know too well that there are tough, tragic and desperate times, but I also believe there is eventually a time for the pendulum to swing back.
One of the most inspiring story tellers and interviewers on humanness that I know is Krista Tippett. She is a nationally renowned, wonderful journalist and entrepreneur. I listen to her podcast, On Being. She brings inspiring guests to her series and I always learn something from her artfully orchestrated conversations. She recently said that we are “in a time as thick with uncertainty as with possibility.”
I have observed that many of our friends and business colleagues yearn for more possibility, but find themselves exhausted and frustrated in this current environment of uncertainty. While this kind of world can overwhelm, they are also aiming for a brighter, healthier path forward. Many are searching for ways to shift from burnout and fear to incorporating good energy in their lives. It seems easier to make this shift when appreciating the gifts of those with different lived experiences. This creates possibilities to learn, give and reflect. I’ve seen great examples of this with people I know that are working in three specific ways: corporate learning, good causes, and experiencing the arts.
On the learning front I have two examples. First, our REACH program allows us to see the passion and creative energy of our learners, who are young professionals being developed for leadership roles. Second, I’ve witnessed some HR colleagues that are committing to learning in a big way.
Tammy Sicard and I are continually inspired by our REACH learners and their bosses. The monthly sessions offer them a time for reflection and unfiltered conversation as well as coaching. They get to explore how they want to “be and do” as a leader. Their sponsors are some of the most progressive leaders I have met. They see development of talent as an investment in emotionally intelligent and self-aware humans who will be leading teams and organizations someday.
From learners to executives, two of my HR executive colleagues started their graduate programs this year. I asked why now? For both of them, they shared their desire to continue to learn, while having the unique chance to be a part of an energized, forward-looking cohort. No longer did they want this experience to stay on a ‘wish list’, hoping that it was going to happen someday. They both have incredibly demanding and stressful roles leading the people function at growing companies and are committed to this deep dive into their own development as a student and better leader.
One of my early bosses, Steve Harrison, a pioneer in the outplacement industry who passed away earlier this year, used to say, “be a student of the game.” I recall his dedication to helping us be better people first. In his book, The Manager’s Book of Decencies he wrote, “…we are businesspeople, but first, we are people. We are colleagues who make a difference in another person’s day, and we’re people who want to be treated with respect, humanity, and caring. Out of such actions, multiplied dozens of times a day over a period of time, corporate cultures take root and sprout a thousand points of light.” To me he exemplifies a true possibility thinker and an inspiring leader.
This past year, I have had a wonderful opportunity to get to know and support Glenn Motola, CEO of Reimagine OC in Santa Ana. Glenn and his team are role models for bringing possibility to life. They provide innovative, first of its kind services to disabled children and adults.
At the height of the pandemic their campus closed and the team rapidly responded to continue their services through virtual learning, telehealth and parent support. Their mission is “to reimagine and relentlessly pursue possibilities throughout the lifespan of every person with disabilities.” They have placed possibility at the highest level of intention and their reason for being. Next month I plan to highlight them in our December newsletter. For now, they are a great example of transforming uncertainty into possibility.
In the arts, we have an explosion of creative individuals who make art, write, design, build, landscape, paint, sculpt, and cook, just to name a few. We all have creative sides of ourselves to explore. The possibility thinking that artists are able to share in the most unexpected ways heightens our curiosity and brings smiles, deeper thinking and confidence into our life when we most need it. You can see this in visiting a gallery, walking through the Huntington Gardens (a favorite!), seeing an exhibition of provocative artists, or sharing a newly created recipe with a friend.
Many of you know that my son is a creative writer, photographer and artist. He recently dedicated himself as a co-curator to a very impactful and rewarding project, collaborating with a pair of gallerists and the director of a historical architectural landmark. You could see their vision, collaboration skills, possibility thinking, and resilience when things got tough along with wonderfully earned personal pride.
You may not think of yourself as an artist but those possibility skills are there. I believe those are the skills and mindset that will define this next generation. That gives me hope for 2022 and beyond.
You are probably in a transition or in change at this very moment. Who isn’t?
November is a great time to reflect, be grateful, give to others and plan for the New Year. Jeremy Hunter says that change is distinctly different that transition. If we find that our transition results in an inner shift of identity or belief in a possibility that might have been illusive but is getting clearer for us in some way, then celebrate.
Why not re-start your learning journey or visit a gallery, write a poem for a loved one, take a creative workshop, volunteer or donate to the non-profit you are inspired by or better yet, plan your thanksgiving celebration with the special humans in your life.
Our family wishes you a safe, healthy and wonderful holiday season.