As I write this letter, the headlines and television channels are filled with the news of imminent and specific terrorist threats to institutions in this country. It is a time in our lives when we are faced with a more hostile and violent world, from our backyards to overseas. Even in the workplace, there are daily trials we must grapple with, ranging from difficult colleagues to unethical business practices. When I ask myself “What can I do?” when faced with a world of terrorism, or a broken relationship, or an unhealthy corporate culture, I return again and again to the sense that my responsibility is first to that part of the world that I can touch or impact, however small or circumscribed that may be. I recently came across a passage that captures eloquently how I view my responsibility in these troubled times:
“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take “everyone on Earth” to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.”
– From “Do Not Lose Heart” by Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves
I hope that these words and images will resonate with you as they have with me, and that you will find both comfort and challenge in them as you consider how you might apply them in your work and in your life. Thank you for the privilege of working with you as your coach, and the opportunity to share my thoughts as we progress in our efforts to make this world a better place to live and work.
Sharon Keys Seal