What’s Your Ripple?

Dear Friends,

This week has been amazingly easy. Almost too easy. As Friday rolled around, I had this ominous feeling that I had missed something really important. Or that I’m not caught up on emails. I do have over 30K emails in my inbox. But my process works for me, and I once read that filing takes more time and can become confusing because most emails cut across more than one categorization rule. I’ll take that.

At any rate, I’m wondering why in the heck I’m feeling so caught up. I still haven’t made it through the reading stack, but I’m feeling pretty good about things. It feels like we are tackling some pretty heavy social issues and having some honest conversations. Why am I feeling so calm and so connected and so challenged all at the same time?

I think I’m feeling this sense of security because of you and our rules of engagement. For all the new folks out there, here’s a Cliff notes refresher on the four —

This rule helps us set realistic expectations and to know if we are moving forward. Rather than completely solving a problem, did I make some progress? In our percolations (a gathering of like-minded folks who explore intersections to change the world), we’ve been talking about activism and the various levels of engagement. In the anti-violence group, we are steeped in the uncertainty of chaos and trying to wrap our arms around the issue. While we don’t have the magic bullet to solve this complex problem, I know we are leaving it better than we found it because we can say yes to one of these questions — 1) Did we learn something new? 2) Did we make a new connection (with an idea, a colleague, an action)? I believe that by fostering a safe culture to connect and explore, that great ideas and energies will emerge.

This rule is about finding those people in the world who share a common interest and are interested in being an ally. This rule does not mean that you can ignore those who disagree with you or are a roadblock to progress. Rather, you do not let them damper your enthusiasm or passion. You find a way around and continue to act as an attractor for positive change. You are the willing and that’s what makes work so fun. We have created a culture of people that take care of each other. We work really hard to create work we are proud of. We laugh and struggle together.

This one is self-explanatory and usually, the easiest to grasp. When working well, we know we can rely on each other and trust the process. I had several milestones and budget reports that needed attention this week. Strong relationships that can give and receive feedback result in quality products and a gratifying process. That is what I experienced this week.

This is the rule that gives people the most consternation. It’s the one I find to be the most important and the one that gives me the most delight when I see people trying it out. We are creating a lot of new processes and products. There is no template or handbook. If everything goes smoothly and you have no bumps or challenges, then you are playing it too safe. All around me, I see incredible work that is happening. I see people taking risks running the percolators and the anti-violence workgroup. I see proposing ideas and then taking responsibility for exploration them. The discomfort we feel grasping for answers is where ripples of change start.

So, thanks for making this week so easy and enjoyable. I don’t want to give the false impression that it was a cakewalk. But when we are in flow, anything seems possible.

Have a great week.