PROMPT. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.*
(This response is stream-of-consciousness and deconstructs and riffs off of the previous paragraph. Let’s see where this thinking-out-loud-typing ride goes.)
This post is part of Reverb – 2014 Reboot.
I experience people, organizations, and events (POEs) in my life as interconnected. And then in my day-to-day experiences, the POEs blend together –
– intentionally, unintentionally, surprisingly, and eventually. For me, it starts with the human-to-human interaction that fascinates me – whether I’m participating or observing.
(human-to-human interaction) I like a good social experiment every once in a while; I make or suggest connections for others – and try some out for myself. I especially enjoy connecting seemingly disparate things.
What I enjoy – I connect people.
(social experiment) My informal social experiment is my way of seeing how people relate, creating community, reminding others (and myself) of the people resources around us, creating connections among POEs, and seeing what relationships emerge and evolve.
Part of my being – I am curious.
(relationships) When it comes to seeing what relationships emerge, this makes me think of the values I outlined as part of Resource Catalysts (R|CAT), my consulting practice established in 1994. These relational values, twenty years later, still hold true.
- Catalysts RESPECT that an individual is a member of multiple COMMUNITIES – FAMILY, SCHOOL, FAITH, EMPLOYER, TOWN, NATION, and WORLD.
- Catalysts ENCOURAGE each individual to be RESPONSIBLE for his or her community.
- Catalysts CHALLENGE each community to be ACCOUNTABLE to each individual.
- Catalysts APPRECIATE each individual in a community is UNIQUE yet shares common goals.
- Catalysts ACKNOWLEDGE that each community has a FINITE mix of individuals.
(identity) This also makes me think of how I enjoy listening to people’s stories – pursuits, dreams, frustrations, moments, little things, and especially those in transformation or on the cusp of doing so – change in career/lifestyle, job search, college grad, soul-searching. And I would say while listening to people, I often feel a sense of empathy; I am affected – joyful, tearful, hopeful, soulful.
Because I enjoy stories – I live vicariously.
(listening) And while I may live vicariously at times, I tend toward naturally serving those who share their stories, especially when I see (or feel) some bridge or connection I can make with another POE that I know. In turn, I may share back unconditionally, or there are moments when I understand it is about sharing time with another person so I may just listen.
(unconditionally) Another way of saying this may be that I share a servant-leader philosophy, engaging servant-leader characteristics as Kent M. Keith describes – self-awareness, listening, changing the pyramid, developing your colleagues, coaching not controlling, unleashing the energy and intelligence of others, foresight – and from this, I learn from others.
(energy) And as the proverb and quote goes – “One is never too old to learn.” And then there is –
You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.
– George Burns
I am fine sharing my age. I am 51 (yup – fifty-one years old). I learned that Chicago improviser Susan Messing (who was here performing and teaching a workshop during the SF Improv Fest) also is the same age pool, so to that younger improviser that asked me why I was not improvising at a different place for older people – it’s a reflection on you, you know, don’t you?
A few quotes from Messing –
Joy begets joy . . . Other people can’t stop your joy ride . . . Politeness is the same as an asshole . . . I think you are great until you tell me you suck.
I sometimes jokingly say that I forget how old I am, but then I really don’t. I am reminded in many ways – college and high school reunions, weddings of second marriages, doctor appointment topics, sounding like my mom and dad and aunts and uncles, somewhat slowing down on late nights, and stretching and moving WAY MORE than I have done so in my younger days.
Nevertheless, I still enjoy and keep up with pop culture here and there, I have a range of friends who are younger AND older, I may dress in a way targeted for a younger demographics, my contemporaries (e.g., around my age) still drink + dance + do “stuff” as we did back in the day, and I have good genes.
(aging) I can and will engage in a philosophical conversation about aging and being older. Meanwhile, as I am doing this reboot with the years behind me (and ahead of me), I realize from responding to this prompt … interconnector . blend . people . curious . values . vicarious . share . learner . youthful … I appreciate the simple layers of me.