Lately everyone I talk to seems to be going through some transition, transformation, or major life challenge. People are struggling with relationships, finances, career choices…you know the drill. For those of us privileged enough to make it to middle-age, life tends to get bigger, more intense, and the decisions we make are now more important than ever. I’ve been doing my own soul-searching lately. For the last several years I’ve been sorting through my priorities. Everything can become a priority right? I’ve been looking at them from my perspective, or what I thought was my perspective. I observed what caught my attention, what made me want to stop and focus, what activities left me with a feeling of peace and satisfaction. I also have been taking the time to notice which faces come up in my mind when I choose a path. Is it something I think my parents would be proud of? What would my friends think? Is this choice I’m making for me or for someone who’s approval I desire.
Last winter I shared an e-book compiled by Seth Godin called What Matters Now. These are words of wisdom by some of the most respected business leaders, writers, and transformative thinkers of our time. In January the stories that caught my eye centered on connecting with community, myself, and creating sustainable business. Those ideas were useful during a period of much internal work and are still very much in the foreground of my thinking. Then today, like clockwork, something universal slapped me upside the head and made me stop and look even more closely at something I thought I’d already seen.
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Today something urged me to re-read the book for the first time since January. My intention was to share it with those who’ve just started reading my blog. I thought I was being lazy but in reality, I was being thorough. Several new things caught my eye and resonated with things that are happening to me right now. But there was one essay that stood out. It’s called “Harmony” and what surprised me about it is that I don’t remember seeing it the first time. Me, the girl that focuses on Kinanda (Swahili for harmony) didn’t see that last year? Well, apparently I wasn’t looking hard enough or perhaps I wasn’t ready to see it. But damn it encapsulates my philosophy and the aspects of my life that are manifesting now. Here it is:
“The word harmony carries some serious baggage.
Soft, namby-pamby, liberal, weak. Men who value
harmony aren’t considered macho. Women who
value harmony are considered stereotypical.
Success is typically defined with words like hard
(sell, line, ass). Successful people are lauded for
being argumentative, self-interested, disruptive.
But those assumptions are the dregs of a culture
that celebrates the lone hero who leads with
singular ambition all the while damning the sheep
who follow him in harmonious ignorance.
Harmony is a springboard. Harmony supports
teamwork. And teamwork creates energy. An
energy that fuels creativity.
When focusing on harmony, success becomes
defined by different terms. Contribution.
Harmony takes bravery, an open heart. It takes
lying awake at night when one of your co-workers
is having a rough patch and dreaming up ways to
In the true sense of karma, to achieve harmony,
you must always do the right thing with no eye on
a reward. The reward will come because there is
trust on the other side.
Harmony creates a workplace where you and all
the people around you love to be.”
Written by: Jack Covert, the head honcho at 800ceoread, and Sally Haldorson who is
the company’s resident wordsmith.
As I read these words today I am reminded of the people that I’ve attracted lately. The opportunities that are unfolding for me and am realizing that without even trying, harmony is here. It’s worth pursuing and for me it’s the the primary pursuit. And now, I have a clear definition of what it means. Download “What Matters Now” for yourself. Enjoy and please share the tidbits that matter most to you.
Wishing you all harmony.