Chapter 9. Lighting a Spark. It’s not about us. It’s about them. What are you doing to pay-forward from your universe of possibility?
My immediate response to this question is “not enough.” This is a great question because pursuing a higher degree puts you in a position to think about your personal achievement or advancement. Chapter 9 lets you know that if the focus is on others, your own advancement will most likely be a by-product of pay-forward actions. I started a company about 5 years ago providing instructional design services to corporate clients. As most companies in these economic times, my primary focus has been on increasing profits. About two years ago, I started investigating converting my company to a not-for-profit to service Charter schools or private Church affiliated schools. Now that we are approaching the end of the EMDT program, that concept has resurfaced in my mind. Last year, a golfing buddy of mine was involved in starting the first all male Charter school in Georgia. I thought that would be a great starting place.
Chapter 10. Being the Board: It’s not them. It’s not the circumstances. It’s me. It’s my choices. Now what do I do?
Life is all about choices. Someone said that making the same choices and expecting different outcome is insanity. So, in my efforts to avoid insanity, it is important to review previous choices and the results before making quick, uncalculated decisions. As mentioned in Chapter 10, sometimes we (me included) get caught up in the need to maintain a certain level of control over our life almost to a fault. The Zanders point out the importance of turning relationships into partnerships. I don’t think it should stop there. I think the quality of the partnership is just as important. This will require my spending the right amount of time to nurture the relationships into quality partnerships. Sometimes that means doing something for nothing.
When I took over the management of the jazz club in Ghana, it was in financial trouble and owed money to suppliers to the point they refused to make deliveries unless the account was brought current. My first act in my role as General Manager of the club was to visit all of the vendors. They were shocked that I made that effort and viewed me as a partner rather than an unpaid account on their books. The results? They extended the credit until I could pay it off while continuing to service the club. Those relationships also lead to sponsorships for special events at the club.
Chapter 11. Creating Frameworks for Possibility: How do I take this flash of insight and make it into daily thing? And how do I share this with others?
Nelson Mandela’s words quoted at the end of Chapter 11 are very powerful. My favorite line in that speech is: “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world” (p. 178). It is so tempting to be content with the status quo. I think reminding myself daily of this powerful truth is a start. In terms of sharing it with other, I believe it is important to encourage others with the knowledge we have gained from this book when the opportunity presents itself. Our society is bombarded with negativity through news, for example. Making it a habit to encourage others positions us to personally stay encouraged opening many doors of possibility.
Chapter 12. Telling the WE Story: I told you it wasn’t about you. Have you been able to tap into the power of combining your expertise and passions with someone equally gifted? Have you had the pleasure of lifting a teammate, student, stranger up enabling them to realize their dreams and exceed anything that you could have imagined?
One of the things I loved about training leadership in the corporate environment for many years was the opportunity to participate in seeing someone work toward personal dreams. I have watched individuals transformed in front of my eyes. That is amazing. I have absolutely had the opportunity to tap into others who are equally gifted and it is amazing as well. I think the hardest thing is to let go and welcome the input of others. Creative people sometimes get totally caught up in their passion and do not realize we need others for inspiration sometimes. Teamwork is so important. As an instructional designer in a very high energy develop shop, we are constantly collaborating to make sure we release the highest quality product possible. That is the bottom line. The return is not limited to a job well done. It sometimes creates a paradigm shift in how you will move forward.
Coda: Now what do we do?
The most important message is to get self out of the way. Be open to the passion and talents of others and be prepared to be amazed with the possibilities.
Jacqueline, I really like how you set up the question each chapter posed and then brought it home to yourself and what you do in your work (past and present). It seems that you have a firm grasp of the art of possibility, employ it and see how to increase it's implications as you move forward into the future. Your quote from Mandela was so "on". Nothing changes if nothing changes. Stagnancy occurs and with that is often discord. I often reflect on the downward spiral of negativity, how quickly it gains in strength. The same can happen with the positive, but we must be willing to use our strengths to climb upward rather than falling into the downward plunge which requires so little effort.