I was recently in my old residence of Seagirt, NJ.... a small jersey shore town holds a special place in my heart. Having lived there in my 20s, I didn’t fully appreciate the beauty and simplicity of this place as I do now in my 40th year.
When I was walking the beach one morning, I started to count how many American flags I saw flown in front of each home. I counted over 45 on my short walk, and that probably accounted for only a tiny percentage within this one-square mile town.
Now, I have walked that same route so many times, but never did I take notice of the obvious display of American pride like I did the other day. This observation came on a morning after a terrible weekend of tragic events that makes every member of our community feel hurt, fear and shame. Living the bi-national life that I do now, I anticipate the conversations when I return to EU.... and the need to clarify and explain just what is happening in a country of whom’s events are being viewed critically by the world.
As a coach, I work on exploring values with individual clients and teams. I help people to get to the root of their emotions, judgements, and reactions to events happening around them. One of my favorite parts of my job is to help people communicate across differences in culture, background and viewpoints in times of difficulty. Helping people to be curious… listen more, & judge less when it comes to differences of opinion on critical topics.
Now more than ever I feel that the work I do is applicable not only to corporations, but in our everyday lives. Particularly in the climate of the US right now, we can try to openly discuss challenges with each other and come together in our communities to solve problems that seem like the unsolvable. This will not be successfully done by blaming or diving further into the abyss of hurt and fear… but rather tapping into our empathy, our core values, and our love for human kind… and most of all our country.
The conversations of change can happen…. and not only on social media, but face to face in our communities, with family and friends. Let us not be afraid of these discussions. If they come from a place of love and respect, differences in opinion can be overcome. It may be a challenge and takes some awareness, openness, and self-management. However, the potential for increased awareness and possibility for change are there, within all of us.
I am not sure when I will return to Seagirt, NJ. However, I am confident and have faith that in another 20 years, those flags will still be flying. We will have made progress on solving challenges together as we always do....representing core values of honesty, empathy, acceptance, respect and love.