A Developmental Moment #4: What Does Influence Mean and Why Does it Matter?

The Differences Between Internal and External Influence and Their Relationship to Service

Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

As I was pondering the next developmental moment, and was considering influence as a topic, I had to stop, and reflect upon the past three years. What to say about influence?

Well, as with most things in my life today, an insight did occur, which will now come out through me and to you. Fun.

Alright, so influence is an important topic when you are leading teams; and, well, I do believe it is an important topic in everyone’s development, regardless of their iteration of self-development, or their interest in leadership. Why?

Because, we all will, at some point, apply for a job, need to grow our network, and, or, seek new areas of self-expression. And, to be fully self-expressed, or, rather, to self-express yourself fully, it is nice to understand the concept of influence. Let’s do just that then. Take a look at how I interpret the concept of influence.

Ready? Good. Here we go.

influence

verb /ˈɪnfluəns/ 

to have an effect on the way that someone behaves or thinks, especially by giving them an example to follow.

influence something, influence how, where, etc. to have an effect on a particular situation and the way that it develops.

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There we go.

Alright, so here’s what we have for influence; to have an effect on a particular situation and the way it develops, or the way that someone behaves or thinks, especially in regard to providing them an example to follow.

Now let’s discuss influence in two different ways. Let’s take a look at internal influence, and external influence. Both are important, and both are needed. Here we go.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Internal Influence

When I write the phrase internal influence, I am referring to your influence within the business, organization, or institution in which you work.

Understanding influence as an opportunity to build cultural capital inside of the business, organization, or institution in which you work is important for a leader to consider. If your influence wanes, it may be hard, for example, to garner political support on a project your team is working on.

However, if your influence is strong, or even adequate, garnering support will be easier. Pretty simple.

What I’ve found to be most true about internal influence is that being who you really are is of utmost importance. Meaning, to be the authentic leader you know yourself to be.

Yes, we all have to make concessions at times, and, yet, we all have the creative power to effect change. And, this is true, even when our influence is bourgeoning.

A quick aside. Influence, like most things in life, lives along a spectrum. Meaning, that influence is not binary. You gain influence over time; and, it takes time.

Maybe you’re asking yourself, okay, well, how do we create influence, and effect change. Here are a few important considerations for those interested in increasing their internal influence.

  1. Relationships – as I’ve written many times, everything starts with relationships. The one we have with ourselves, yes, and then with everyone else. Being in a relationship means having easy and difficult conversations. Remembering this truth is important in leadership.
  2. Questions – asking questions is always an important step in creating influence. Often, people shy away from asking the tough questions. Ask them. It is important to your own development, and that of your teams.
  3. Creativity – being open, flexible, and innovative, is an important aspect of influencing the future. Without creativity, the past is the future, a stamped reproduction. Thus, being open to new ideas, those from your peers, and your team is essential.
  4. Integrity – doing what we say we are going to do is important to all aspects of our lives, and there is no exception in creating influence. If we are unable to make it to a meeting, or are going to be late, communicate. Open communication ensures that we are always keeping everyone in the conversation, and keeping our integrity intact.
  5. Authenticity – be who you are. You are just as you are supposed to be, so embrace your unique-self, and let that shine. There is only one you, which means there’s not another person on the planet that can create influence, or anything else for that matter, just like you. When we are authentic, people know, and respect our truth. And, if they don’t? Remember, that’s their issue. Not yours. Be who you are.

Alright, there are five examples, and considerations for you, on how to create influence within a business, organization, or institution. Remember, influence takes time to cultivate. It’s kind of like gardening. You must water your relationships, questions, creativity, integrity, and authenticity, and, when you do, you will see your influence grow.

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

External Influence

External influence is similar to internal influence, and yet, also different. You can use the five considerations aforementioned with those clients, students, or customers, that are external to your business, organization, or institution. And?

There are a couple more strategies for you to consider. Here we go.

  1. Engagement – being fully engaged at all times with those you serve is important. Meaning, that it is important to create an engagement system that you can rely upon, which will ensure your engagement is, well, like a drum beat. Your clients, students, or customers need to rely upon your engagement pattern. I write about developing my LinkedIn engagement system in the post, A Blogger’s Diary 12/27/20: On Writing, Goal-Setting, Systems, and the Holidays, which can serve as one of many examples to draw upon.
  2. Consistency – a drum beat, or pattern, on which your clients, students, or customers can rely. Important. There are lots of ways to ensure you stay on track with your engagement. You can calendar your engagements, enter them into a project management software system, or keep them in a planner. The tool matters far less, than the output of making sure to engage regularly and consistently.
  3. Reciprocity – relationships are built upon many things, and reciprocity is one. Being in relationships means sharing yourself with your clients, students, or customers. And doing so in a genuine way. Remember, people know when we are inauthentic. They can see, hear, and feel it. Just be who you are, and reciprocate.
  4. Value – our clients, students, or customers want to know they are valued. They would like value, and to know they are valued. Both. Providing value comes in many forms, and it’s not always, actually rarely, monetary. It’s about being there for your clients, students, or customers. Taking care of them, treating them with kindness, and valuing their needs.
  5. Service – in the end, it’s all about service. All of it. The service we give ourselves, and the service we give out to our clients, students, or customers. When we value our service, we are always looking for, and creating, new ways to serve. Whether that is through a new business model, a new product, or a new service. Really. Ultimately, it’s about understanding the need, reflecting on that need, and creating a bridge for that need.

Internal and external influence matter. It’s not about ego. We are leaving ego at the door. It’s about service. About taking care of people. Finding out what they need, and working with them to fill that need.

When we are in relationship with people, we are in a unique position to serve.

And, as we continue to serve, our influence grows. Influence grows as we grow and deepen our relationships. The relationships we have with those we serve. Ultimately, it’s our peers, teams, clients, students, and customers that let us know about our influence.

When we have movement in our relationships, we can see it and feel it; and, when we have traction, we know, because reciprocity flourishes as we enter into new relationships each day. And, as we enter into more relationships, our service grows; and, yes, we also grow. Fun.

#authenticity, #consistency, #creativity, #development, #developmentalmoment, #engagement, #externalinfluence, #influence, #integrity, #internalinfluence, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #questions, #reciprocity, #relationships, #self-development, #service, #value

Water

Photo by iam_os on Unsplash

Your majesty,
I do see while
sitting under the
shady tree.

As I look out
at Your crests,
and hold true to
the feeling in my chest.

A beauty beyond
comprehension.

On land,
we only ever see

a fraction

of Your love
and devotion,

which You send
to us all, even
when we least expect
it.

And, that’s when it’s
most detected
by the senses,
even if we don’t

know

what’s protecting
us
in each moment.

You know,
and always have,
for your Grace is
everlasting, like

a strand
that goes on
forever and ever
until the very end.

And, then?

It all starts again.

#poetry, #beauty, #life, #love, #nature, #poem, #poems, #water

The Leadership Series Part 2.5: Why Developing the Self is Always the First Step in Leadership

The Leadership Sociology of How we Speak and Act

Photo by Ilham Wicaksono on Unsplash

Alright, leadership sociology. What a fun phrase. What does it mean though? Good question. Let’s reset the last installment, and then we will get into that question.

In the last installment in the Leaders Series, The Leadership Series Part 2: Why Developing the Self is Always the First Step in Leadership, we began a discussion of four concepts important to leadership, which are thinking, feeling, speaking, and action. Then, in the last installment we elaborated on two of them. Namely, thinking and feeling.

Now, in this article, we will discuss the latter two, speaking and acting. Ready? Good. Here we go.

Leadership Sociology

Sociology is basically the study of group behavior. And, what do you have in groups? Yep, people. So, the study of people within context is super important. And, in fact, that’s one part of what we are doing in this series; and, we are doing so from a leadership lens.

When we reflect upon how we think and feel, we will ultimately get to a place where we are also considering how we speak, and then take action. All of these concepts are important to being, and becoming, an effective leader. Hm. When I write about effective leadership, what do you think of?

Well, in this context, I mean, a leader that understands themselves, first. Understanding yourself, who you are as a human being, is always the first step in becoming an effective leader. Why?

Because everything we do starts with us. Really. If we don’t understand why we think as we do, why we feel as we do, or speak and act as we do, we can never understand how the people we lead think, feel, speak, and act. Not possible.

However, when we are self-aware, we understand ourselves, and then? We understand the people we surround ourselves with, including our teams. Alright. Now, let’s discuss speaking and acting.

Photo by hatham on Unsplash

Speaking

When I use the phrase, speaking, I mean it in the literal sense of the word. How we use our words when we speak is important, as words and language, are very powerful. Speaking in this sense may be in actual verbal form, or in written form. Both are important.

In the article, 4 Reasons Why Language is Power, I discuss in some detail why language is powerful. For the purposes of this discussion, it is enough to know that our integrity is tied to how we speak. And, there are a few things we can use to measure our speech.

Here are a few.

  • Why are you saying it?
  • What are you saying?
  • How are you saying it?
  • When will you say it?
  • Whom will you say it to?
  • Where will you say it?

This may seem basic, and yet, to become more aware of how our speech impacts others, we must inquire into the why, what, when, how, whom, and where of our language.

There are several ways we can practice measuring our speech. Here are a few techniques I use.

  1. Write rough drafts – it is important to set out on paper, for me at least, the what and why first about my communications. It gives me a chance to print out the communication, and look at it from a different vantage point. I will also edit from paper.
  2. Email rough drafts – I always write my emails in advance, and will schedule them for a time in the near future. Sometimes that’s the next day, sometimes the next week. Depends. This tactic gives me time to reflect upon the communication some more. I have often when back and reworked an email that has already been scheduled.
  3. Whiteboard work – when I am unsure about the when, whom, and where, I often do whiteboard work about the communication. Well, actually, I often do whiteboard work about most of my communications. It is helpful to see my ideas up on a board, reflect on them, rework them, and then, send. Important and helpful.
  4. Get feedback – another strategy I use is asking coworkers for advice and feedback on my communications. As I’ve mentioned before, I am leading a statewide conversation about noncredit education, and when I have to communicate something clearly to this large group, I’ll get several people to weigh in and provide me feedback. They always see something I didn’t. Super helpful.

Another viable and valid strategy is to hold off on writing or speaking your communication until you are clear. I have actually cancelled team meetings before when the communication I needed to make to the team was just not clear enough for me.

It is much more important to have a high-quality communication that is clear, than a communication that may cause confusion.

Creating and delivering clear communication takes practice. And, that’s okay. We all need time to practice, and believe me, practicing your communication is a worthwhile endeavor. You will find that you will need to communicate less often, when you take more time to communicate clearly.

Photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash

Acting

In leadership, the actions we take, combined with the language we use, really do define our leadership. When I worked in the private sector, my supervisor once said something like “you do a very good job displaying sweat equity.”

I was very young at the time, so I had to ask what it was that he meant.

Sweat equity simply means that you are willing, and do when needed, take any action that you ask a team member to take. Simple.

One of the first things I did in my current role was to learn everyone else’s role. Why? Because it gave me tremendous information about their work, who they were as a human being, and it also provided a context for me to learn about the businesses. Very important.

Here is how I currently organize my actions.

  1. Calendar – people often say something like, “if it’s not on my calendar, then it doesn’t exist,” and, for me, this is a truth. I work on my calendar three months in advance, and have it also scheduled that far in advance. Meaning, that I have sight into, and am actively, creating future contexts for myself and the team. Helpful.
  2. Basecamp – an average project management system, yet the one we have today; and, it works very well to hold information for the team. We have lots of projects running concurrently, so having a single place to hold our next actions is important.
  3. Franklin Planner – a tool I started using last year, and it helps fill the gaps between larger pieces of work and my calendar. I will typically use the planner for tasks related to the larger projects.

And, of course, I use post-its like many people, and whiteboards to help generate and create the thinking related to all of the aforementioned.

The language we use, and the actions we take say, well, really everything about our leadership.

For instance, if we speak about creating a future reality that is inspirational and gets people excited, yet there is no action, there is an incongruence that will leave people confused about the team’s directions.

Conversely, if we act and begin to create a future reality that is inspirational and has the potential to get people excited, yet there is no speaking about this newly created reality, again, there will be confusion about the team’s direction.

You may be asking, how do you know these things?

Pixabay

Well, like most things I write about, I’ve lived through them; and, our team has grown through them, and is stronger today for doing so.

Now, once you are in action, and your team is moving, it is important to keep the momentum going. Steve Jobs said something about this concept; and, alas, I cannot find it anywhere. It might have been in the book I read recently, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson.

Anway, the gist of it? If you are not continuing to innovate, which to me speaks of being in action and creating traction for yourself and your team, your business is already dead.

We must continue to move ourselves and our teams forward. And, that takes clear communication and decisive action.

Alright, we’ve now completed the first 2.5 installments in the Leadership Series. And, just the other day, as I was preparing for this installment, it occured to me that there are two other concepts important to developing yourself as a human being and as a leader. And, they are?

Hearing and Seeing.

Both are important aspects to leadership, and all of life in general, and we will cover them in the next leadership installment.

For today?

Remember, becoming a leader means first leading from within. Understanding the why, what, how, when, whom, and where of how we think, feel, speak, and act. Once we understand our thinking, feelings, speech, and actions, we can more appropriately and effectively lead ourselves, and our teams into action and eventual traction.

#acting, #creatingaction, #innovation, #languageispower, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #organization, #sociologyofleadership, #speaking, #speakingandacting, #takingaction, #verbalcommunication, #writtencommunication

My One Thing: Writing Haikus this Weekend

Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash

Alright, so I recently took up writing haikus, as many of you know, and am having a fantastic time. I’ve posted one thus far, and have three others scheduled, and then this weeked?

Well, along with the other writing I’ll do, I plan to spend time reflecting upon new ideas for a few more haikus.

What am I learning? Good question. A lot actually. Let’s take a look.

Haikus

A haiku is a poem, which was created in Japan in the 9th century, that contains a 5-7-5 syllable sound pattern, which is elegant, beautiful, and challenging to craft. There are a few distinctions between traditional haikus, and more contemporary haikus.

For instance, in traditional haikus, there are some very explicit rules. Here is an example, taken from Your Dictionary.

  1. There are only three lines, totaling 17 syllables.
  2. The first line is 5 syllables.
  3. The second line is 7 syllables.
  4. The third line is 5 syllables like the first.
  5. Punctuation and capitalization are up to the poet, and need not follow the rigid rules used in structuring sentences.
  6. A haiku does not have to rhyme, in fact usually it does not rhyme at all.
  7. It can include the repetition of words or sounds

Here is an example of a traditional haiku.

“The Old Pond” by Matsuo Bashō

An old silent pond

A frog jumps into the pond—

Splash! Silence again.

Read Poetry

And, here is an example of a contemporary haiku.

Joyce Clement “Birds Punctuate the Days”

Period

One blue egg all summer long

Now gone

Read Poetry

As you conduct more research, however, you find that contemporary haikus are less strict, and can take on numerous forms, as you can see from the above example. It’s super interesting, and a lovely learning experience.

Tanka

There is also a poem called the tanka, created in Japan in the 7th century. Unlike the haiku, which is 17 syllables, the tanka is a 31 syllable poem, typically in the syllable sound pattern, 5-7-5-7-7.

Here is an example of a tanka poem.

八雲立つ 出雲八重垣 妻籠みに 八重垣作る その八重垣を

Layers of cloud in the sky
I am here, ‘Izumo’ country
to protect my sweet wife
I will make layers of fences
eight layered surrounding our home

Medium

Gorgeous.

Now, I am just taking up writing haikus, so tankas will have to wait, yet there are similarities between the two; and, in fact, a tanka (the 7-7 sound pattern) can be added to the haiku. It might, then, look something like this, using my first haiku as an example.

Slowly, the rain falls,
we rejoice in the moment.
And then it is gone.
I await the next moment,
frenzied feeling of delight.

Haiku #1

Wow, that was fun.

Alright, that’s my one thing this weekend, so I wanted to share, as it is such a joy to continue this poetry journey with all of you.

Have a lovely weekend.

#poetry, #haikus, #life, #love, #myonething, #nature, #poem, #poems

My One Thing: Creating Alignment in Our Lives

How You Can Create Alignment Between Your Personal and Professional Lives, and Create a Life Part 1

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

In November of 2019, I went to a Nationwide Conference for practitioners of non credit education. There was a lot of valuable information at this conference, and a few book recommendations. I read often, so taking on more reading, with an already long list, is not something I do often, yet the book, The One Thing, caught my attention.

The book caught my attention, as everyone, professionally, yes, and even personally, have lots of things they want to accomplish. And, sometimes, when we have too many goals, we are unable to concentrate and move anything forward.

The basic premise of the book is to focus on that one thing that will move you forward, either personally or professionally, and let go of the rest. Yes, yes, easier said than done.

However, it got me thinking about a new series, where the goal will be to convey the one thing I’m focused on that day, week, month, quarter, or even year. And, then?

Well, most importantly, what I’m learning. Where have the obstacles been, and how did I get around them, or how did I let go as needed.

I think it will be fun, and if you find it interesting and educational, I’ll keep it going. What’s first? Good question.

One that is part of my work of the year. I would even go so far as to say it is my one thing this coming year. What’s that?

Photo by Gerrie van der Walt on Unsplash

Creating Alignment

Alright, so I’ve now been in my current work position for 3.5 years, and, in that time, there has been much change. Some created internally, and some, as we’ve all experienced, created externally.

However, the change is created, the important takeaway?

Change always comes. It is part of life. An unavoidable part, as much as some people would like to remove themselves from change as often as possible. And?

I understand. Change is difficult. Yet, there is a paradox here. What’s that? Change is also beautiful. Truth.

In addition to being in my current role at the community college for 3.5 years, I also developed myself during that time, both personally, and, yes, professionally. And, the more I develop, the more I see alignment between all aspects of my life. All of them.

And, that, quite frankly is just simple fun. Many people, as I once did, create a distinction between their personal and professional lives. These distinctions, however, can leave people feeling frayed and stressed when Monday, or the first day of their work week, rolls around. This does not need to be the case.

Photo by Tamara Gore on Unsplash

However, it takes time to get to a place where you can see alignment in all that you do. I’ve been working on it for 3.5 years; and, I’m closer, yet still have work to do. And, that’s okay, for it’s in the work we do in life, whether personal or professional, where the experience of life lives. And, that’s being alive.

Now, what tools have I used to create alignment between both my personal and professional lives. Good questions. Let’s take a look.

  • Vision – as I’ve written about before, having a vision, or declaring a purpose for your life, both personally and professionally is a key ingredient in creating alignment between your work life and your home life. Here are a few that I’ve used over the years.
    • To increase access to higher education for everyone.
    • To increase access to higher education for everyone by making leadership development, creativity, inspiration, and personal transformation available to every business, employee, and community member.
    • I live to create new access points to education and knowledge, and part of those access points is dissemination in print and in collaborative contexts, such as leadership and coaching individuals, teams, and organizations.
    • Develop, Inspire, and Transform.

Alright, that should do. As we can see there are definite similarities and dissimilarities between these visions. Still a work in progress. Yet, the fun part about creating a vision, or purpose, or mission statement, is seeing your vision iterate over time. Super fun, innovative, and expansive.

  • Goal-setting – as I’ve written about before, having tangible goals that live inside of our visions is of utmost importance. If you don’t have goals, you will not create movement on your vision. Here are some of the goals I’ve created for both my personal and professional self.
    • Pull community members and business leaders to us by providing them the why.
    • Create new relationships with community members and business leaders.
    • Priorities that are tied to the vision and mission.
    • Continue to improve and document all processes.
    • Publish a novel.
    • Increase my fluency in Spanish.
    • Travel to Spain.

Now, we can see how there is alignment, and, maybe, non-alignment between the goals and the visions. For the purposes of our discussion that matters less, than that there are goals declared. For it is in the declaring of goals, and setting our intention, that there will be movement in an area, that movement then becomes possible.

Funnily enough, sometimes you can set a goal, and totally forget about it, and you will still see movement in that area of your life if you pay attention. Why? Because you’ve set your intention that something be so, that you want to create movement in an area of your life. Intention is powerful.

Photo by Keytion on Unsplash

Alright, that’s all for this installment of the One Thing on creating alignment. In the next entry in the One Thing, Creating Alignment, we will look at how to take out goals, and create clear, and sometimes not so clear, objectives and priorities. Why is this important?

You can think about creating alignment, starting with a vision, as part of a larger process, which is like starting at the top of a funnel, and working your way down to the actions you take every day.

Because creating alignment is a part of my work of the year, it will take a couple entries to complete. However, as I’ve mentioned, this series will be an exploration of my One Thing, sometimes, of the day, week, month, quarter, and, yes, year, which is where we are starting.

I’m already thinking about a One Thing entry on baking. Hm. How fun would that be?

Remember, creating a One Thing simply means developing the ability to focus and create action around a vision or purpose we’ve intentionally created for ourselves. And, that vision might be for the day, the week, the month, quarter, or year.

It’s a paradox. In one way we can say it’s less about the timeframe and more about the focus you create on that which you want to manifest for yourself.

And, on the other, we can say, timing matters, as the more alignment we create between our personal and professional lives over time, the less of a distinction between these two realms there is; which I can say from personal experience is pretty powerful.

#creating-alignment, #creatinggoals, #creatingvision, #goal-setting, #huamndevelopment, #intention, #leadership, #personaldevelopment, #professionaldevelopment, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement, #theonething, #thepowerofintention

Haiku #1

Slowly, the rain falls,
we rejoice in the moment.
And then it is gone.

Photo Credit

#haiku, #life, #love, #nature, #rain, #sun

Wind

Photo by Saksham Gangwar on Unsplash

You
touch me so,
even when I’d
rather stay in tow,

and resist
Your earthly gaze.

For it is You out there
in the haze,

preparing the way,
for us to see
again.

Even

when we are unsure
about the road
to take, You
clear
a

path,

and a friend
we make.

It’s
Your honesty, and
transparency
that will leave

a legacy,

of times
when hope
was squandered

and people
often foundered
for an idea to hold
onto.

Yet,

You stay, and
present
what is, at times,
considered second best.

However,
in those moments,
we are merely confused.

And, yes, my friend,
it is,
a part of the
human condition.

To try and
understand,
what, at times,

is, and, may remain
a mysterious
transition,

which
we may leave
to Your guidance.

And,

the history
of a legacy,
which we can

clearly feel, and
face
as You nestle
us in Your tender

embrace.

#poetry, #humanity, #humanness, #life, #love, #poem, #poems, #wind

Train

Image credit; Rodrigo Curi @ Unsplash

Together we stand on the
Tracks again, without noticing the
Time it takes
To meander into
The rainfall of uncertainty, and, yes also possibilities
That

Run together, just like the tracks up ahead
Rife with news, and details of a new life,
Radiating on the lines, you can almost feel them humming with
Robust anticipation,

And, a sense of mystery
Anew, and
Altogether renewed, my friend, was it
Always so clear, or is it merely because we
Are beside each other again?

Inside I wonder, while outside there
Is thunder, on the horizon of my mind, and
I think about the possibilities, and get excited
Intuitively knowing they outweigh the

Nebulous uncertainty, which comes
Now and then, however
Never fear, for we are together at last, on a line with
No past, only a bright future up ahead, as we hold hands, and
Notice the feelings we share, which are, and always will be our common thread.

In response to the WDYS #63 prompt from Keep it Alive, by Sadje.

#poetry, #holdinghands, #intuition, #linesoflife, #poem, #poems, #togtether, #tracks, #train, #wdys63

Simple

Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Scintillating, as the
Sun rise, and the
Sparkle on a
Sea crested wave of bliss

Is keeping things
In perspective, a key
Inside all things, my friend, as is the
Inner-knowing, of the

Moonrise in the early dawn of
Morning, as the shadows play hide and seek
Magnificently with our genuine desire for
More games to begin, and yet

Playing games, and becoming
Perplexed, only causes more confusion, so
Please consider the simplest form of
Purchase between the two delivered to you, and

Love each for their unique gifts, as you
Languish in the sea salted air, and
Learn to tell the difference, a
Legendary affair of marked resistance and acceptance, is

Ever
Evolving, and
Energizing, our
Earthly
Existence

#poetry, #life, #love, #poem, #poems, #simple

A Blogger’s Diary 1/3/21: On Writing, 2 New Series, and Reflecting

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

Alright, as we embark on a new year, it only seems fitting to, yes, take a look at last week’s writing real quick, and then? Well, we’ll take a look at two new series I am working on for this new year; one launched, and one in production. And, then a small reflection on this past year, and my hopes for 2021. Let’s get started, shall we? Good. Here we go.

Writing

Though I did work a little last week, I was on official holiday, as it is the only time each year that the college closes. Meaning, I had more time to write. A few more posts were published, and I did some writing for future weeks, which was really nice. Here then, is what was published last week.

Nice. Funnily enough, one of my favorite posts this week was the baking post. Different, and fun. Next week? Yep.

I’ve got two posts scheduled already, one for Friday morning, and one for Saturday morning. The former is the second installment, though it is written as the first, in the My One Thing series, which I’ll write more about in a minute, and then the latter is the second-half of the second installment in the Leadership series.

I also have several poems written, and am also working on scheduling those in advance. Though, again, with poetry, I like the space to create on the fly, as insights occur. I’ll be managing that balance as we move forward this year.

Alright, new series time.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

New Series

I describe the insight behind the My One Thing series in the upcoming installment. Yet, real quick, will write that I am excited about a series that will cover, and capture, a moment in time, and expand out to, well, life, I suppose. The main idea behind the series is to focus and write about My One Thing of the moment, or evening, morning, afternoon, day, week, month, quarter, year, or longer.

You can see an example of this new series in the baking post above. And, the second?

I’ve been looking into and researching haikus, and I have to say they are quite beautiful. I’ve read many from your amazing blogs, and am currently reflecting upon creating a haiku series.

Though I love the stream of consciousness involved in poetry, there is also something quite magical about a 5, 7, 5 syllable sound pattern that is exquisite in its creation and manifestation. I am going to create a few haikus over the next week, and then, we will see.

Alright, how about a quick reflection.

Photo by Sergey Shmidt on Unsplash

Reflection

As I look back at last year, I see a lot of pain, anger, frustration, worry, sadness, grief, and, well, many other emotions and actions, which I definitely felt and worked through this year, and I know were present for people around the world.

We were taken on a world upending, in many ways, tour de force of the power of nature. And, though the aforementioned emotions and actions were a reality, I did also see other emotions and actions in play this past year. Such as?

Acts of kindness, generosity, love, compassion, empathy, reciprocity, and many more. Yes, it was a tough year, yet even in that toughness there was also beauty.

Which leads me into my hopes to see more kindness, generosity, love, compassion, empathy, and reciprocity this coming year. As I’ve mentioned before, there is a lot of work to do in this country from many perspectives, equity and justice being one of them.

I look forward to progress this year on the continual dismantling of the, still in place, systems and structures of oppression in this country; and, I have hope that the vaccine will, at the very least, prepare a runway for us all to be back together again at some point this year.

Until then?

Continue to take the actions we can to create the world we all want to see and live in. It doesn’t matter how small or large the actions are. It’s not about that. It’s about taking that one step, that one action.

And, on that note, I’ll leave you this week with a quote that speaks to that point.

“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” -Dalai Lama

AZ Quotes

Have a lovely upcoming week everyone.

#2020, #2021, #bloggers-diary, #blogging, #newseries, #pandemic, #reflection, #socialjustice, #takingaction, #writing