Every day, I encounter a new challenge to the idea that things can and should be open and real.

Be it social, political, or personal, serious or trivial -- every time, I ponder the implications.

I hope you'll join me in the conversation!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


This week I started a wonderful new job working with some phenomenally talented people, managing a complex, statewide, volunteer-driven policy initiative. It would probably fill up my heart and soul no matter the timing, but I’m back on the job after two years of time away from the office. Its significance at this point in my life is big.

It’s always advised to “take some time between jobs,” but often this means a couple of weeks. These past two years have been a great luxury, and helped me sort out the goals and objectives I want most to achieve in my work. In a sense, I have been working during the time away from the office, but the project was myself. The whole process got me thinking about two types of reflection.

There is the looking at the past, and analyzing and evaulating the decisions and results; there is also what we see of ourselves in other people around us. They may be clients or colleagues, but those closest to us eventually have a significant impact on our sense of self, and our ability to bring our dreams from thoughts to realities. The length of time I had away from my own old patterns made it impossible for me to deny the changes I needed to make. While it is surely easier to wish others would change, in the end it is always us who needs to alter what is happening in our own lives.

If you are struggling with needing to make a change, you might not need the extensive time I took to get there. You might just need encouragement and validation! Below are some questions that may help you get there more quickly:

Where do you see your reflection? In evaluation by others, in your own ability to steer your professional ship, in the kinds of clients you attract, in your paycheck, in your relationships with your co-workers? When you pinpoint your most common reflection, does it ring true, or do you want to see yourself somewhere else?
What one change could you make within yourself to see more of the person you want to be?
This post first appeared on www.corporateidealist.com on August 14, 2009. Photo credit:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Everything and Nothing

I once heard organizational guru Peter Walsh http://www.peterwalshdesign.com/ say, “When everything is important, nothing is important.”

He was counseling a woman who had lost control of her possessions. All of her things were out on her front yard, and she somehow laid hands on her deceased father’s wallet which had been crammed in the back of a drawer. It was full of pictures of her and her siblings, as well as handwritten notes and other mementos. Bursting into tears, she begged to be allowed to keep it, even though she was in a boot camp of sorts to save her home from clutter.

Walsh reminded her that she had not even known the wallet was there for over 20 years. It made no sense to hold onto it. “But,” she cried, “this is so important! Please!” Gently he pointed out to her that she had not treated this item any differently than she had treated anything else in her house, from random domino pieces chewed up by dogs to moth-worn scarves from her kids’ childhoods 40 years ago. That’s when he laid it on the line. “When everything is important, nothing is important.”

Unlike any other related advice, this stuck with me from the beginning. We so rationalize our attachments that often we lose our ideals to the idea that everything is important. I’ve had multiple experiences over the years where I felt pressure to push someone else’s goals, priorities, or even values up the totem pole in the interest of my own pereceived success.

There is no end to the parade of people who need you to believe that what THEY want from you is important. The question becomes, what is important to YOU? Which of the things you have filed away and stuffed into drawers – literal or metaphorical – are truly important to YOU?

This post first appeared on http://www.corporateidealist.com/ on August 5, 2009. Photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/sylvar/2764272024/.