Guestblogger: Matthew Mahoney
(Guest intro: I've been in New York City the past few years, helping companies learn and attempting to do the same with public schools. Ross implores me daily to "get a life -- get a blog.")
Going to bed on the eve of 9/11/03, I found myself wondering how to continue to make meaning of the histories and options that surround our being alive at this time. The short answer is do things together. 'But which things?' I hear the strategists of the world shout. I think the harder question to tackle is how to create environments so people will choose to do things together (execution after all is the longest mile).
I wake today to an email from Christy Gibb who ran Ashoka in Canada. Tucked in there was part of the answer and a pointer to a gem from Yael Taqqu that helped me weather the bells tolling today at 8:46 AM.
"What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
This is the question asked by Mary Oliver in her poem The Summer Day. It's also the same question Tony Deifell, while a student at the Harvard Business School, asked recently in The Portrait Project, a series of living portraits of his classmates. In her response, Yael gives us all food for thought on this 11th of September:
I want to be a storyteller. At the end of each day, I want to be able to sit down and find the story, no matter how obscured it may be. Trace a story through the weeks, through the years...
I know that my greatest liability is my fear to leap – fear of freefall, of letting go of one foothold in order to leap to another. And so I will always embrace errors of commission (seized an opportunity, might regret it), at the expense of errors of omission (do nothing). Because so often errors of commission are not errors at all…they are the small, deliberate affirmations, the spontaneous and unexpected moments that end up defining us, that we live for. That we live to tell stories about.
Here's to your courage, Yael. And to each us of finding many ways to follow your lead.