Seeking Clearness, Embracing Uncertainty

coin purse of origami cranes

Each crane is like one question, insight, or reflection of my exploration.

My big sabbatical goal is to get clarity in where and how I focus my work.

As part of my process, I’m asking my colleagues and friends for help. Asking people to help is easy for me — unless I’m asking people to help ME. While it’s uncomfortable, the generosity and support of people supporting me in this effort is humbling. Thank you.

I shared that I am hosting two convenings, the first a clearness committee that was held last week. In my invitation, I said,

I’m seeking clearness in where and how I will focus my work. The purpose of this meeting isn’t to arrive at any final answers for the focus of my future work, but just to help me clarify the questions that are most important for me to answer during my sabbatical. During the meeting, I’m hoping you’ll ask me good questions that help me frame what I want to learn as a part of my sabbatical. 

I’ve spent a week synthesizing last week’s clearness committee into my thinking. I’m making notes where I’m finding the clarity I seek, and naming the discomfort and uncertainty that I continue to uncover as I reflect on and re-review the committee notes. This is another iterative process.  

  • One of my gifts a participant identified is my curiosity and willingness to be uncomfortable. I will embrace those gifts.
  • Focusing on power and righting historic wrongs isn’t new to my priorities, but I am clear that I will be more explicit with that priority in my work. Excitingly, that gives me permission to engage in learning and a new relationships. It’s also a chance for me to find and embrace being uncomfortable more frequently.
  • I’ve been reflecting on what moves me to action. During the committee, I shared that I’m not a joiner, I don’t go to rallies. I also shared that I want to work on things that have large-scale impacts. Reflecting on related questions, I realize that I am most likely to show up when I’m part of a team feeding momentum to something that doesn’t yet have its own inertia. I like to energize collaborative efforts that can (eventually) attract people, new energy, and new creative ideas. I want to be part of cultivating communities and watching them grow into something I could never have imagined.
  • At the convening on May 14th, there will be time in the agenda where I share my emerging vision, which has been influenced by this clearness committee. I’ll be asking for feedback on what resonates and what doesn’t, and how it relates to participants’ work.
  • I’m still wrestling with the question of what topic I will focus on. My nerd-heart is pointing one way, while my fairness heart (focused on making amends for historical wrongs) points another. I’m planning to explore more by listening to some possible allies for the nerd-heart focus while I also hope to connect with peers who have successfully used an equity frame for their consulting work, learning about other models. I don’t think it’s either or.
  • I’m still sitting with the last question of the day, from the master difficult-question-asker. “Are there kinds of healing personally that would support your ability to support healing in the community?” I don’t notice a need for personal healing — which doesn’t mean it isn’t there, just that it’s hard for me to uncover. A colleague invited me to this collective healing event, and I suspect it’s a good place for me to explore this question more deeply. And a chance for me to be uncomfortable.

I have more, new questions I didn’t have before, and I have direction on what I need to sit with my next steps become clear.