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I was in an online connections meet-up of a social enterprise eco-system network for the first time. What was my biggest take-away in a matter of half an hour talking to a group of strangers was the fact that at the end of it all: they were no longer strangers but good friends.
Building connections is not as easy as I thought it was. This problem is compounded during COVID19 where lockdowns increased social isolation and the mental health issues that come with it. Nowadays, for many, it seems that 'building connections' is seen as a luxury not as need. It's easy to work with colleagues over Zoom but building interpersonal connections is almost impossible or nil at this point. It's very easy to say that you don't have the time, when it's actually about prioritizing and valuing it.
I maybe immune to this at some point because I work alone and I'm basically to myself for many working days. To me, connecting is like breathing air. If I haven't connected meaningfully to another person, colleague, network member, client, prospect, or to anyone in my circle, I will be totally down for the rest of the week. As opposite of energy suckers, I long for energy booster communities which I can fully show up as a person, not just a professional and be embraced by them. In return, I show up and engage actively. There is no real substitute for that kind of community.
As I ponder on this today, I note that integration and connection requires discipline, strategy, and intentionality for these things to take place. Building it and they will come is a surefire for lackluster results. It's those things that are always taken off the plate when events get tough.
Instead of seeing it as burdensome or work-requirement to connect, note that you needed it as part of the humanity. We need to connect, belong, and share with one another, trusting and relying on each other to succeed in life.
With that Zoom community call today, I felt revitalized than ever. It provides levitation I need for the rest of the week. More of these, then I will feel like am really where I belong. Right here talking with people without any agenda but to connect meaningfully.
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It's now almost the end of summer and the remainder of the year looks very near.
Harvest time will be in full swing. COVID19 and Monkeypox will soon plateau. The Ukraine crisis will end and that the supply chain problems will dissipate. Organizations will know that they can't rely on prior performance, methods, and technologies to propel them to the future which is now. Executives will be busy gathering what they have learned from two years of crisis to rewrite their own playbook.
In the midst of all of these, the rainbow (from the Bible) represents renewal, a promise of commitment to never again a massive deluge will cover the whole earth. What I see with the rainbow, is what lies behind it.
There is another day, another week, another year for us to work on. Seize the chance to make sure that what you focus on gets you to the next level.
A friend of mine has won a PhD scholarship award from him and his wife. His wife and baby is now in another country on a another scholarship. Their lives was torn apart by civil war and a repressive regime. This challenge did not deter them obviously.
Cheers to many people whose lives are being transformed and renewed through courage, determination, and persistence. They have seen the worst but decided to honor what is the best for themselves, for others, and for humanity.
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Last year, I went to our community library and found stacks of books for sale, almost for nothing. I paid $ 50 cents for two books. The first book was a classic and timeless read, The Long Road to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. I thought that I was a few decades late on this and had to quickly brush up on gems found in his life, political career, struggles, and experiences in prison and beyond. What struck me was the clear and unassuming way he wrote down his some of his poignant thoughts.
This is when he enjoyed gardening in prison: “In some ways, I saw the garden as a metaphor for certain aspects of my life. A leader must tend to his garden; he, too, plants seeds, and then watches, cultivates, and harvests the results. Like the gardener, the leader must take responsibility for what he cultivates; he must mind his work; try to repel enemies, preserve what can be preserved, and eliminate what cannot succeed.”
One time, his cell was moved to cell 18, the farthest from the entrance where visitors come. The authorities wanted him not to be able to talk to visitors to voice out their concerns. For the sake of unity, everyone agreed that visitors should talk to cell 18 for their complaints, when asked.
As a leader in your home, workspaces, networks, groups, and communities, tend to your garden and diligently bring it up to the level of competence. Watch it grow and increase. When things fail and you have done everything in your power to grow it, let it go. Take care of what you can preserve and move forward.
The lessons of Mandela are evergreen. Note that Mandela represents the thousands of people who sacrificed and fought apartheid for decades in South Africa and in other places. Mandela is the icon, not the individual. Mandela's win is the win for the 21st century.
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I was speaking to a group this week. We polled them if they have a positive outlook during the pandemic and less than half confirmed that they had. They also reported that their supervisor supported them a lot. This showed that even their supervisors might not be feeling positive as well.
We can only surmise.
Positivity in the age of post-pandemic emergence is a pre-requisite and it's the basic quotient to have before you can build along changes that come into your life. I know for a fact that this is not easy. But I chose to be positive, persistent, and hopeful, despite several setbacks I experienced last year.
We can never know what other people are experiencing. If you can count the people in LinkedIn that have critical illnesses, jobless, with family and personal challenges, you will know that your troubles aren't comparable to these situations.
It's better to go beyond resilience: benefit from shocks, stresses, raise the bar, and go along with changes and welcome ambiguity. Cultivate opportunities even in the midst of trying conditions and know that you're not alone. You can be in a lockdown but isolation is a choice. You can still be connected in the deepest, most humane way if you choose to be.
I can say that the distance between our efforts and what we have as external impacts is our positivity equity. Increase that positive equity now and as you move up, lift others along the path to your recovery.
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How many organizations in the on-purpose sector are scrambling to get the best member?
You want the world to know your impact.
You want the world to see you've made these dents and about to accomplish more.
You are innovative and leading the way for others.
You need great members.
A newly minted organization is asking itself what is the best positioning in a world where competition for belonging, attention, and value is high and unyielding. When talented people are redesigning their lives versus to fit and to belong to just anything. When time outside work and family is precariously limited.
To get the best you need to be the most differentiated or at least try to be.
Ask yourself, what's the driving force behind your differentiation?
Don't just be different from the mold, create a new paradigm.
Ask them, what affiliation would best meet their needs?
Don't just provide the obvious and standard. Raise the bar.
Educate the public. Educate your network. Educate your team.
If what you want to be doesn't excite or scare you. Rinse and repeat.
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There are many faces of Canada right now that we are pained to see.
The uncovering of the mass graves in residential schools is a case in point.
The on-going struggle to get our economy back on track is another.
The targeted terrorist attack against a Pakistani family a month ago....
We have a long way to go as a nation.
We need healing, reconciliation, and justice before we can experience real peace that transcends our narrow interests and identities.
The Canada that I know when I moved here 11 years ago is a Canada that:
- respects differences and celebrates diversity and inclusion;
- empowers new immigrants to bring their selves into this country and play a vital role in building a nation and economy;
- is a peace and democracy-loving country amongst the nations;
- has a strong and stable government and corruption-free;
- has the best healthcare and educational system in the world;
Definitely, these are superficial facts that foreigners see from the outside- only a tip of the iceberg in terms of the condition of the country and its people. Now I know more but it doesn't give me regrets that I moved here and consider myself a Canadian.
I am proud to be alongside other Canadians in creating a great nation one day at a time, one generation at a time, and one impact at a time.
Let us not forget too that we are all Canada and what we bring into our communities, represented the best aspirations and attributes of our collective greatness.
As Andrew Malcolm said about Canada: It's going to be a great country after they're finished unpacking it.
Very true, we are all, a work in progress...
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I would like to thank all the women in my life, past, present, and future.
To my mother, grandmother, great grandmothers, and all the previous generations of women in my life, thank you for being great role models of hard work, perseverance, wisdom, determination, and faith.
To my daughter, sister, aunts, cousins, nieces, comadres, ninangs, mentors, coaches, teachers, girl scout leaders, and all the women leaders that shape me, thank you for showing the way.
We celebrate you today and every day!
Impact is now, impact is us together, lifting each other up
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Everyday my daughter and I would walk outside in the snowy yard and do all kinds of fun games.
She likes to walk and create new tracks which she would then connect together.
We need to connect our actions with what's going on with the world, the natural environment, and people systems.
We need to connect what we're thinking with our customers and adjust service offerings with their needs.
We need to connect with other people and actors in our space not because we need them, but we can help and find synergy.
We need to build linkages with other sectors and industries which normally do not work together or seem to be opposite or in direct competition. These are areas to be mined for opportunities to provide a win-win solution.
We need to connect as leaders and managers to our self-awareness and tap into the potential for creative expression inside and outside of our work.
There are many reasons to feel connected and be connected with. If you're in isolation, look into the mirror.
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The vista post-pandemic will be entirely different, if not ambiguous, to say the least.
The things that we previously say 'no' to, becomes 'yes, we can try.'
The things that are off-limits or too-distant, become possible.
Barriers are starting to fall, to make room for adaptation.
Doors are beginning to open up, when previously shut on your face.
Since the crisis, I have been speaking with or training people from distant lands such as Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Hongkong, and recently Bangladesh. I am honored to be learning alongside them in this time.
People are missing the in-person connections because presence is WHAT MAKES US HUMANS!
We long for the day that we can travel again or visit folks or hold parties and weddings the way we do.
But the future will be totally different, we might as well accept that fact and make room in our minds for the inevitable modifications.
Yes, we can adapt to changes, without being fearful, forced into it, or depressed.
We welcome the ambiguity and we mine it the opportunities presented by the crisis.
We will wake up everyday ready to be surprised!
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Half of the battle is won by just showing up.
Showing up for your employees and staff when they need an ally and a champion for workplace effectiveness.
Showing up for community causes that are no longer optional or good-to-have but are essential for collective rejuvenation.
Showing up for suppliers who are hurting in this pandemic and needed measures to ease their financial and logistical difficulties.
Showing up for your customers to say that you care and offer help when it's not being expected.
Showing up for your stakeholders and generate collective voices so that those that are not on the table can be represented.
Showing up despite the fear and uncertainty of the new environment where we live in.
Showing up and owning the co-responsibility of charting the new future in your sector.
When you show up, the world opens up for you.
Own the space and hold the space for others too!