The Joy of a Positive Vision
One of the reasons I love strategic planning so much is that, by its very nature, it is a forward-looking, positive process. When done right, it both affirms our purpose and forces us to define the results we are seeking so we can develop plans that optimize our chances of achieving them. Creating a vision of what we hope to achieve, by definition, focuses us on the future we wish to create so we can take steps to make it happen.
What better time to look forward to what we wish to accomplish than this dark period in our history that has revealed deeper discord than many of us knew existed?
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that."
These have been some dark days, indeed. Deep philosophical divides between and among Americans have been revealed throughout the election season. Think what you will about our next president, he would never have been elected had millions of people not felt so disaffected. The divisiveness has been building for a very long time and is not likely to go away anytime soon. Even as the next administration gears up to enter the White House ready to dismantle programs and policies that many of us hold dear, we are not entirely powerless to contribute in a positive way to achieving the worthy goals they were intended to address.
It is up to us to do whatever we can to light the darkness.
My Latest HBR Article: Kindness Always Matters
Thanks to a congenital condition, I developed severe, debilitating arthritis that led to two total hip replacements about a year apart. Otherwise fit and energetic, I continued to work full time, taking only a short period of time to recover while working from home. As the arthritis worsened leading up to my surgery, I relied first on a cane, then used one crutch, and eventually needed two crutches. As rehab progressed post-surgery, the pattern reversed going from two crutches to one, and then to a cane until I could walk unassisted.
A funny thing happened on the way to the operating room. In the months leading up to surgery to correct a problem, I experienced a full range of responses to my cane and crutches. One person dismissively let a door slam on me while I struggled to juggle bags, books, and a cane. At the other end of the spectrum, a kind soul offered to load my plate in a buffet line at a business meeting when my hands were otherwise occupied maneuvering crutches. It seems that people regularly make subconscious decisions about if and how to be kind to a stranger in need of a little assistance. Let me explain.
A famous quote seemed most fitting for this newsletter:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world."
And while that sentiment is quite appropriate, my research suggests it is not completely accurate. It seems that the actual statement below has been paraphrased to the more famous paraphrasing in that quote. And while a little less pithy, it is even more powerful:
"As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do."
– Mahatma Gandhi