If you missed the last book club post, you can read it here. Basic guidelines, sample questions, and chapter spearheaders are outlined therein, as are introductions down in the comment section. If you didn't have a chance to introduce yourself there, please do so here down below when you leave your comment. If you haven't already, take a minute to get to know your fellow participants. We have a great group!
While I'm on the topic of introductions, I want to thank you for the kind words you wrote about me and about my hosting of this opportunity for us to learn from one another. But. I want to be very clear that I am the one who feels honored and privileged to have met (in all the various ways we did) each and every one of you. I am blessed to be on this walk with you. So thank you again.
Before we begin, I also want to reiterate a point I made during the last book club. Once in a while we may feel overcome with passion that requires the dropping of an f-bomb or two. I have no problem with this–especially when I'm saying how f-ing awesome we are, but I understand that this type of language can be offensive to some people. Let's try to roll with the punches, but if it becomes an issue for anyone, please contact me to discuss.
Okay. Shall we?
Introduction: Scott's stretch. I appreciate how Scott lays out for us why he decided to start his Ph.D. studies–the failure of the dotcom where he'd been employed and then the tragedy of 9/11. What his story brought to mind is the idea of befores and afters and how we can want desperately to change ourselves and our environments in the face of a personally traumatic or enlightening event. Of course, the event does not have to be the size or scope of 9/11. Nor does it have to be traumatic, though this is often the case, as it was for me and my family. My awakening and earnest self-reflection began after my mother's sudden death and, three weeks later, my daughter's first symptoms of severe depression. (Just so everyone knows…I have her permission to share about our story.) She was 13 years old.
My point for book club purpose is this: That it took traumatic events for me to realize that I was, as Scott says, overlooking abundance right in front of me. (Both internal and external.) One of the reasons I love Brené’s work so much is that she concretized the concept of scarcity, gave it language and structure, and even form. Between the time when I finished reading The Gifts of Imperfection and now, I've employed a variety of methods to cultivate gratitude and joy–antidotes to a scarcity mindset. But, my ego and my life sometimes make it hard for me to remember the type of person I desire to be and how I want to show up and be seen in the world on a daily basis. It makes perfect sense to me that an extension of this work would be to include resourcefulness in the mix. To beat my mind at its own game, if you will. I can't wait to learn more about how to stretch my life to embrace its untapped value.
Chapter One: A Tale Of Two Beers. What I noticed first when I began reading this chapter was the sense that chasing felt familiar to me. Some of my earliest feeling memories are of the very concept it appears Scott will discuss in the next chapter, the idea that the grass is always greener somewhere else. I remember thinking when I was young that my life would always be better when. . .When I was older, when I got the right clothes, when I met the right boy, when I lost weight…when…when…when. Days, weeks, and years ticked by and life, I imagined, would eventually get better in the future and with the right "stuff." Better than what, exactly? With what stuff, exactly? I had no idea. Imagine a marathon where the finish line is perpetually 20 feet in front of you. Exhausting!
I relate to what Scott wrote about the tool box and a chasers desire to amass as many tools as possible to fill that box. Tools come in all shapes and sizes, for personal and professional jobs. I have at times thought that I have so much I no longer know what I have or why or what to do with it. When my mom died and my daughter got sick, I was forced to understand that nothing about the future is guaranteed and that the present moment is the only place it makes sense to live in. But how to hang on to this new awareness?
Five years later, my daughter is doing fine. And I combat the trap of complacency. I worry about forgetting the valuable lessons I learned, falling back into old habits and patterns that chase elusive and ill-defined goals. I want to continue to appreciate what I have and wonder if learning how to stretch will help temper my point of view (my mind-space) that whispers still on a regular basis about tangible and intangible inadequacies.
On a final note, Scott writes at the end of Chapter One that we've likely already acted resourcefully. Of course we have! We're human. But on page 19 he asks, "Have you ever worked beyond your formal responsbilities to make a bigger impact?" As I ponder my decades in various professional settings, my answer to this question is a resounding YES! What I'd like to put out here, however, to employees and to bosses alike is to discuss the reception of this behavior. For me, more often than not, my bosses (male and female) seemed to feel threatened and like I was acting " too big for my britches." Partly, this could have been due to my presentation, but I think this is resourcefulness's darker side, at least professionally.
I wonder if Scott will touch on this. Has anyone had a similar experience? Either way, let us know.
Next week: Chapter 2 spearheaded by Marci Goldberg.