Are You Participating in the “Great Resignation”?

As a growing number of people are walking away from work positions, climbing down from the “corporate ladder,” acknowledging burnout, and having a hard look in the mirror, there seems to be a greater need to talk through possibilities.

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity           – Dorothy Parker

Our identity is rooted in our patterns. The more we repeat a pattern, the more we strengthen our identity. How do you want to be identified? How do you want to be experienced by others? What patterns need to be challenged to create a better identity? Our patterns offer limited thinking. Coaching creates an opportunity to examine your current identity and see if transformation is necessary.

Those beliefs and assumptions impact our needs, including health, balance, purpose, growth, learning, connection, and significance. Our needs lead to goals. Goals require strategies and action steps that lead to desired outcomes.

Are you the best person for your work? What is your evidence? What are your overt benefit, the reason to believe, and unique difference? What other questions need to be asked to create transformation and transition? My approach to coaching looks at five key areas and determines if new patterns are necessary.

We begin by looking at the past. Who, what, where, and when can be significant. What were significant failures and mistakes? What did you learn? From your past, what defined you?

To know the past is to know the present. To know the present is to know yourself.    – Ibram X. Kendi

This allows one to acknowledge the present. What habits are serving you well? What habits are not serving you well?

One discovers the light in the darkness. That is what darkness is for.     – James Baldwin

This leads to working on one’s future. Where do you want to be significant? What would you like your legacy to be?

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived however, if faced with courage, need not be lived again.  – Maya Angelou

From here, we look at relationships. Who are the mavens, connectors, and salespeople in your circles of influence? Who can you go to for support? Who are the subject-matter experts in your life? Where do you need to grow your diversity in your relationships? How will you deal with difficult people going forward?

It is precisely the minor differences in people who are otherwise alike that form the basis of feelings of hostility between them.         – Sigmund Freud

Gratitude impacts our attitude. For what are you grateful? Where is your hope? How will you nurture hope in others?

Of all the arts, the art of living is probably the most important.       – Deborah Levy

If you are interested in learning more about my approach to coaching, contact me at carrpe.diem@gmail.com.

Push Back on My Word For 2022

I received pushback on my blog concerning my word for 2022 – civility.

“I found it curious that you cited the Jan 6 insurrection but did not mention the unrest in Minneapolis, the Seattle occupation of 6 city blocks for 21 days, and destroying a police precinct, and the 25 deaths, thousands of injuries, over 14,000 arrests, all the businesses destroyed and a couple of billion dollars in damage, and BLM and Antifa connected to many of the civil violence and unrest actions in 2020,  I say this because I do not believe a single action that happened on Jan 6 can incite a civil war or would make me worry about it, but In my humble opinion-   ALL these acts over the past several years have contributed to the concerns of civil war that you have … It is easy to twist any of this for political convenience, right or left…”

It’s like the difference between an apple and an orange to me. Here is my response:

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”    – James R. Schlesinger

To understand the difference between the January 6, 2021 insurrection and the BLM protests in Minneapolis, Seattle, or even here in Asheville, NC, I offer several different areas for your consideration and understanding.

Simply put, the insurrection on January 6th, 2021 was disloyal to the U.S. Constitution. The insurrection took place at the heart of our democracy, the U.S. Capitol. Protests are a part of democracy. The BLM protests were on the streets and were a call for acknowledgment of the untaught ugly history of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) over the past 400+ years, the unequal, unfair treatment of BIPOC compared to white, and the call to make right has been made wrong in the past.

True democracy in America only goes back to 1965, the year the Voting Rights Act guaranteed to ALL American citizens, regardless of race. Forty-three years later, we elected a Black president. As in the past, the rise of Black people to political power made some white Americans question the wisdom of democracy. Personally, I saw white people cringe and shake their heads when I was doing diversity workshops at the City of Asheville back in 2014 when I shared that by 2045, “white people” will be a minority according to the US Census. This is the main concern of The Proud Boys, The Three Percenters, Oath Keepers, the Alt-right, and the KKK. Here is the unspoken ‘elephant-in-the-room,’ – these groups want to ‘Make America Great Again’ beginning with being as white, male, Christian, and heterosexual as possible. After all, America was invaded by white, male, Christian, heterosexual people and made for white, male, Christian, heterosexual people.

I do not condone the violence and destruction of property by the BLM protests, but this video clip, How Can We Win? may help you get a Black and POC perspective on violence and destruction of BLM protests. It is crucial to understand the facts of the history of the BIPOC in the United States. White people have never treated BIPOC well. Beginning with the indigenous people who lived on the soil of America, white people scorned the indigenous, treated them as less than human, stole their land, broke treaties, and continue to treat the indigenous poorly.

Then there is the sordid history of how white people have treated Black and POC. There have been three countries that have promoted chattel slavery on this earth – India, the United States, and Nazi Germany. Guess where Nazi Germany learned about chattel slavery? – The Jim Crow south of The United States.

I ask you to learn and understand the untaught, ugly history of BIPOC including:
– why Blacks did not receive Social Security back when it was implemented in 1935
– why over 1 million Black GI’s were denied the GI Bill
– why the average wealth of a white family is 10 times greater than the average wealth of a Black family
– why threatened with death if Black and POC voted in elections
– why the infant mortality rate of Black and POC children is 2.3 times greater than white children
– why the life expectancy of a Black male is at least 4 years less than a white male
– the systemic and institutional racism that contributes to ‘Driving while Black,’ ‘Running while Black,’ ‘The Talk,’ ‘The Look,’ ‘The Choice,’ ‘Buying while Black at Kroger,’ ‘Buying while Black at Walmart.’

I would encourage you to have hard-to-hear conversations on these topics with BIPOC. Do your homework on a couple of these topics and then go share with a BIPOC what you learned and ask them to validate ‘Driving while Black,’ ‘The Talk,’ ‘The Look.’

One of the most powerful encounters I had just before COVID hit, was going with four other white men and five Black men to watch the movie, Just Mercy. Afterward, we sat around a large table and talked about the movie and how close to home it was for the Black men among us. We white men had no idea and could not relate.

This history is at the foundation of BLM protests. George Floyd’s murder was a current-day lynching that added to over 4,000 previous lynchings in our history and set off the protests.

What do you suppose is the history of the insurrection participants who were front and center at the January 6th insurrection? Do you think these people have experienced anything close to what BIPOC has experienced the past 400+ years? Have they experienced injustice, inequality, and trauma? Many of these groups were tied to the “Unite the Right” white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, which Trump said were “good people.” Trump at the September 29, 2020 debate with Biden was quoted as telling the Proud Boys, directly to “stand back and stand by.”

If you go back to my blog and open the links for the political instability checklist leading to the demise of democracy, you will find 10 major causes:
– If the rights and freedoms of the people are not respected or are trampled upon, then it is very easy for instability to emerge.
– Corruption and mismanagement of the wealth of a country has over the years been shown to be one of the biggest factors responsible for political instability.
– An election that is characterized by rigged votes and intimidation of voters and that is not free and fair is one of the major causes of political instability in many countries across the globe.
– When the majority of the people are impoverished and cannot find jobs, they vent their anger on the government. Many countries have suffered from instability as a result of this.
– When members of opposing parties of the government are deliberately targeted and prosecuted for no apparent reason, this can easily give rise to instability in the country.
– When the government decides not to be open and transparent.
– When the citizens constantly live in fear because of a government that prevents them from freely expressing their views or opinions.
– High levels of prejudice in a country also leads to instability. In Africa, ethnic prejudices have over the years led to some of the worst forms of instability.
– A country can easily plunge into political instability when the head of state decides not to step down when his or her time is up. A good example of this is Syria.

The insurrection of January 6th had many of these components including mismanagement of wealth, the unfounded belief the elections of 2021 were not fair or free (over 60 courts have ruled otherwise; multiple recounts by different states included hand counts have shown no evidence to the contrary), suppression of opposition parties, not being open and transparent (evidence is showing this as the committee looks at the January 6th insurrection.)

The seeds of insurrection were planted by Trump when he encouraged attendees at his rallies to “knock the hell” out of protestors, praised a lawmaker who body-slammed a reporter and defended rioters who yelled to “hang Mike Pence.”

And the insurrection continues! For evidence:

Look at Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Back in February 2021, she was removed from congressional committees after a series of posts advocating the execution of Democratic members of Congress and embracing elements of the QAnon conspiracy.

Look at Rep. Paul Gosar, who was censured back in November after posting an animated video of himself killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

Look at Rep. Lauren Boebert and the Islamophobic remarks she had made on several occasions which have led to violence towards Muslim Americans.

Look at election officials and their families who have been threatened for certifying the presidential election even after numerous validated recounts affirmed by our courts.

Look at lawmakers and politicians and their families who have been threatened for voting their conscience and values and not going along with GOP party lines.

Look at a conservative rally in Idaho back in October, when one man stepped up to the microphone and asked when he could start killing Democrats? Ben Adams, an Idaho State Representative, replied, “That’s a fair question to ask.”

Look at Josh Mandel, former Ohio State Treasurer and candidate for U.S. Senate, urging Republicans to resist tyranny and said, “When the Gestapo shows up at your front door, you know what to do.”

One of the conversations I have with coaching clients is about their risk matrix. On one axis is risk, on the other axis is benefit. For common BIPOC, their risk matrix is benefit low and risk high. For me, as a white male (and most whites in the U.S.), my risk matrix is high benefit and low risk because of the tailwinds of being white throughout my life. Until these two different matrices become more symmetrical, you will see BIPOC in the streets protesting, and you will see insurrection growing as whites fight to maintain the status quo.

I’ll end with this quote from Omar Wasow, a poli sci professor at Pomona College who studies protests and race from the past to the present, “What’s different about almost all those other events is that now, there’s a partisan divide around the legitimacy of our political system,” he said. “The elite endorsement of political violence from factions of the Republican Party is distinct for me from what we saw in the 1960s. Then, you didn’t have — from a president on down — politicians calling citizens to engage in violent resistance.”

Evidence points out civility is on life support in the ICU.

I Now Pronounce You Husband and Wife!

I was asked by my son and future daughter-in-law to officiate their wedding. I went online and got “ordained” by The Universal Life Church Ministries. Several people in attendance as well as friends and family asked me to share the ceremony.

I began the ceremony with a welcome and acknowledgment of tribal and indigenous communities who originally lived and live on this land and on whose blood remains today. For Johnson City and Washington County, Tennessee, we recognized the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Muscogee “Creek” Nation citizens.

There was an opening prayer followed by scripture readings from Ecclesiastes 4: 9-11, Romans 12: 9-12, and an ee cummings poem [i carry your heart with me (i carry it in].

Here was my message to the bride and groom:

It’s an honor to stand before you two and officiate this ceremony!

We have come to this point in Brett and Abby’s lives who wish to share the magic of what they have experienced with each other and now with us.

For those of us in committed relationships, we also get to relive the magic we have with our significant other. I’d
suggest this is an opportunity for us to hold hands with that person and experience the magic, the Holy Breath that is among us and in us. Brett and Abby’s magic becomes our magic.

It’s all lead up to this single moment of Brett and Abby looking at each other and saying, ‘I see you. I see you standing there. I know who you are. I totally get you. At this moment, I see all of you.’

This was captured in the 2004 movie Shall We Dance with Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, and Susan Sarandon.
Sarandon’s character, Beverly Clark, meets Richard Jenkin’s character, Devine. They talk about why they think people get married. Devine says it’s passion! Beverly Clark responds:

“We need a witness to our lives. There are a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really
mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the unexpected things, the mundane things … all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.'”

That is the gift that we struggle to receive every day. And because we’re all struggling to receive it, we forget to give it.

Someone said, we actually marry three times – the first time for love, the second time for security, and the third time for companionship. If we are lucky we marry the same person for all three!

Here is a piece of trivia for you … in the four gospels of the Bible, Jesus asks 339 questions. He was interested rather than interesting. A great marriage is about being interested rather than interesting. Ask more questions of one another. Many times, the question is more important than the answer and follow-up with another question.

There are six questions I’m going to suggest you all learn to ask each other regularly … as well as all of us in this space who are in a relationship with a significant other!

1st question …Wait! What? This question is at the root of all understanding. This is actually part of the Prayer of St. Francis – seek to understand before being understood. Seek a shared-mental model. Ask for clarification. This is also an invitation to slow down and hit your pause button.

2nd question … I wonder …? is the foundation for curiosity is as in “I wonder why Brett is so quiet?” Or “I wonder why Abby hasn’t smiled much lately?” Or “I wonder if we could take our relationship to a higher level?” And “I wonder if I could help?”

3rd question … Couldn’t we at least …? is the beginning of progress. It is the question to help you get out of the rut or hole you have fallen into. It can be the bridge to overcome disagreements.

4th question … If not now, when? We human beings procrastinate. We put things off and have a laundry list of excuses. “Honey, you said you were going to (fill in the blank!)” “When I get (fill in the blank), then I’ll (fill in the blank).”

First, don’t make promises you cannot keep. Second, great relationships are built upon reciprocity – yin, and yang, you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours! Third, we live in an age of distraction. If not now, when? is a call for focus and action.

5th question … How can I help? is the heart of your relationship. Be aware of trying to “fix” each other. How can I help? may mean putting down your smartphone and just being beside each other at a time of pain or suffering.

There are two basic kinds of people – givers and grabbers. I’ve never met a grabber who has grabbed enough to be happy. On the other hand, it’s the “givers” who seem to be the happiest. Giving of your time can be the greatest gift we can give to another. How you help each other matters as much as what you give to each other. Remember when you ask, “How can I help?” begins with humility, recognizing you are not the expert.

6th question … What truly matters to me? This gets to the purpose of this relationship. You also need to ask,
What truly matters to you? I would hope that what truly matters to each of you is to be called “Beloved.” Beloved is dearly and deeply loved and cherished.

After their declaration of intent, vows, and ring exchange, there was this blessing:

Holy Creator:
May these vows, rings and this marriage be blessed.
May their trials keep them strong.
May their failures keep them humble.
May the sorrow they encounter keep them human.

May their faith carry them when they feel broken.
May they have hope to bring them joy daily.
May this marriage be full of laughter.
May their wealth meet their needs

May they always be significant to one another.
May they have enough determination to make tomorrow better than today.

And all God’s people said, “AMEN”

I gave a pronouncement, and then told Brett he may kiss Abby. After which, I got to introduce Mr. and Mrs. Carr to the gathering!