Maybe it’s because it was just Valentine’s Day, or Women’s and Black History months. Maybe it’s the soft rain, or the young voices coming out of Egypt, but lately my heart has been tender. My heart is breaking open with hope, and I find myself being very glad that I’m alive and awake right now.
I admit that I’ve been on a rant lately about the lack of civil discourse -- I’ve been downright cranky about it. Today, however, I’m asking for more than civilized conversation – I’m asking for the kind of connection that is rooted in kindness and delight.
What if we all agreed to spend a month being delighted with those around us? Sure, there is much to decry, and stress is high. There’s a lot going on. It is easy to notice what is irritating, wrong and lacking in our circles. What if it were equally easy to notice the sublime and fascinating aspects of those in our kinship networks?
At Rockwood, we teach that there should be a 4:1 ratio of affirmative to corrective feedback. If we create communities and organizations of appreciation, it is much more likely that we will get what we are working toward – a world filled with justice and grace, enough for everyone, and balance with our ecosystems. Think about appreciation and gratitude as investments in our collective future - a down payment, if you will.
As a leader, when was the last time you stopped and took time to show your staff the appreciation that can help lift and support their work—and their own potential leadership? And as someone supporting leaders, when was the last time you had a moment of empathy, support and appreciation for the person or team helping to lead your organization?
I have a notion that if we spent just a fraction of the time we spend fussing and bemoaning circumstance on goodwill and delight, our organizations and communities would shift in radical ways. Imagine how you might feel if you came to work each morning and were greeted with the kind of welcome generally reserved for newborns or beloved friends. How might that influence how you spend your time, or interact with colleagues, or lead?
C’mon, let’s give it a try. There’s nothing to lose except our cynicism and despair.
So let’s reach towards joy, towards each other. Take a look around you, and pay a well-deserved compliment, send a prayer, a note of gratitude or a belated Valentine to someone who could use a lift. Perhaps it’s your cousin, an old pal or a colleague. Perhaps it’s you – go ahead – send it out. I promise it will come back to you in some magical and unexpected way.
From my heart to yours.