AND Really Notice

November 26th, 2017

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a few days in the company of a brilliant group of women. They came from different backgrounds and countries. They spanned five decades in age and life experience. They came together in a space that used to be the home of a newspaper. AND they created an experience that went beyond words.

What I am particularly intrigued and delighted by, as I reflect on those days together, are the insights and creativity offered in different ways by different women, at exactly the time someone else in the group needed insight. AND I am struck by the different packages that carried the wisdom. Sometimes quiet, other times hysterically funny, sometimes bold, and at other points awkward. All offered gifts.

One of my favorite observations was the wisdom offered by the quiet presence of some participants. With very little need for others’ approval, very little need to be the expert and have all the answers, and no need to grandstand, these women moved deftly through exercises. They offered insights when asked, asked questions of others, showed up at meals humbly and gratefully, and took up very little space in the room.

Yet, these quiet ones brought open hearts that helped others open up. They held the space for others to be themselves. They behaved with curiosity and the desire to discover new insights themselves without attachment to how they appeared to others. AND they caused me to ask myself whether they are recognized for the leaders they are in this world.

In the noisy settings of our business boardrooms and divisive grandstanding of political establishments, can the wisdom of great leaders who appear different be heard? Great wisdom comes in many packages. Do we understand how to both behold the package and unwrap the gifts, by actively seeking the hidden treasures in packages that don’t scream for attention?

I love what we discover when we hold the intention to really notice gifts, rather than judging harshly, ignoring, or expecting them to look or sound a certain way. AND I treasure the gifts that require me to pause to really notice.

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