I'm starting off with politics.
If that makes you feel uncomfortable, then I think you're lucky that that statement is one of the things that makes you feel uncomfortable today. With all the fears, worries, and lost hopes around us today, yep, you're lucky if this is what gets under your skin. Side note: for my friends outside of the US, apologies that we generate so many headlines. In the words of Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and others credited with this perfect for 2020 quotation, "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without knowing civilization."
Trump loves to use Twitter, and he loves to make fun of people. When reporters ask members of the Republican party for their responses to some of the more (whew, this is hard) ill-mannered tweets, these politicians respond with phrases like these:
I just made a list of eight common responses to far-from-acceptable leadership behavior on Twitter.
That makes me think of the Magic 8 Ball.
Silly, somewhat funny, and then it loses its charm after just a few minutes.
I haven't taken a Magic 8 Ball apart, so I have to trust that Wikipedia has it right with the claim that 20 responses are housed inside the murky center of the 8 ball: 10 "YES!"/affirmative, 5 "life is a mystery"/non-committal, and 5 "you're out of luck"/negative.
I feel most of us would prefer having a choice vs having none. You want a choice in what to eat when you look at a menu (back in the days when we could eat out—we didn't realize how glorious the experience was). You want a choice in the work you do. You want a choice in friends—the people you choose to bring close to you. And, hopefully, you want to be presented with the choice to fall in love with someone who wants you back.
So, overall, choice is good.
In the last few weeks, among protests, curfews, kneeling, praying, singing, tear gas, confusion, fear, looting, and hot nights, I come back to what was not a choice: death.
I am certain that no one on this planet wakes up and, when presented with a choice, chooses a painful death, one on a worldwide stage.
George Floyd didn't choose his death.
As a Caucasian woman, I feel uncomfortable adding my voice to the commentary on Black Lives Matter. I feel I don't know enough, and this isn't my story to tell.
But I can listen. I can support those who are talking. I can believe them. I share my focus and my attention with organizations that help their cause.
And then I think, Wow, it comes back to the idea of choice. I have choices now. And I've had lots of choices. I've had many opportunities.
Today presents me with choices. Tomorrow, too. This season, this summer, this year (Oh, Lord/Goddess/Mother Earth, save us, it's an election year). Many, many choices.
Choice is better than being forced.
Right now, being forced to make changes is where many communities, cities, institutions, companies, board rooms, and kitchen tables all around the world are.
We could have talked about this before. We could have done something. We didn't.
So, now it's an opportunity being placed in front of us. For some of us, it's being forced. Loudly placed in front of us. Forced opportunity.
I'm going to see it as a choice.
I'm not going to say:
None of us can now claim any of the above. We can't use a Magic 8 Ball to generate some stupid excuses. It's in front of us.
The risk is low to nonexistent for me to learn more. The risk is high for others if I choose to do nothing to support Black Lives Matter.
I can be part of the love.
All leaders should do that. Awesome leaders do.
I hope that you are presented with choices every day and that you choose to support others with love—in work and at home—vs. being forced to do so.
Now I need to come back to the beginning. Please choose not to send cruel, mean-spirited, just plain nonsensical messages to people via Twitter, email, text, etc. Just sit down—masks on and six feet apart and talk—or give someone a call. If you're struggling to start, give me a call and we'll spend 15 minutes helping you start the conversation. You won't receive a bill.
Start it. Don't force your boss, HR, or me to do that for you and your teams.
The Magic 8 Ball says, "It is decidedly so."
Let me know your questions and thoughts—and remember to let me know about the leaders around you wearing Leader Hosen,
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