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The Hoshin Group

Leadership and Executive Coaching

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain

Shine Your Light

Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you. ~L.R. Knost

This world. This news. It just doesn’t stop.

For years, I looked away from the news, aware of the media bias to share negativity. I had enough chaos raging in my small corner of the world and I didn’t feel that I had the bandwidth to take in any more. As a student of neuroscience, I know that my brain (and yours) is wired to pay more attention to the bad than the good. Uncertainty means risk and risk means danger – like being eaten by a sabre tooth tiger. It’s an incredibly helpful design to ensure our continued existence. The news, real and fake, is a constant reminder that in spite of our attempts to plan our days and control our lives, shit happens. And sometimes that shit can be very, very bad.

The news. It’s powerful.

I’ve picked my head back up. Not knowing doesn’t change the fact that people are starving and dying of thirst, being abused and tortured, driven from their homes, and yes, children are dying at school in their classrooms. I need to constantly remind myself that what is happening to them is not, in fact, happening to me. I am an intuitive, empathetic and highly sensing person. Walking and staying on the right side of the line between compassion and empathy is not easy. I have taught myself to see others’ pain and suffering with a willingness to do something about it rather than taking it on, feeling it as if it were my own.

That is not to say that I do that automatically. I’m human too. There are some headlines that are so incredibly heinous that I feel as if I were just punched in the gut. There are headlines that are so scary and disturbing they bring me to my knees and I have cried and sobbed, my heart breaking at the unjust suffering and brokenness of the world. I have questioned it all, asking, “What is the point? How can what I do and what I fill my pedestrian life with matter when these horrible things are happening?” And then I get back up.

I’m blessed with friends and family who live on every continent. I am well educated and have traveled and as a result know and care about a lot of people and places. That also means there are an awful lot of headlines that catch my attention.

I’m also a caregiver and a helper. I’ve been bedside with people as they’ve breathed their last. I’ve been told I am a good chaplain and a wonderful nurse. Someone once even suggested that I should work for FEMA because I’m one of those people who shows up prepared for the unexpected and doesn’t lose it during an emergency. I don’t freeze. If something needs to be done, I act. And sometimes, there is absolutely nothing that I can do that will make a difference. My God, that hurts.

Recently, after reading yet another headline that shook me to my core, one where I again personally know people quite literally on the ground and in the line of fire (children, families, and first responders), I went through my routine. Denial, shock, sob, question, get back up. What they were dealing with, as close as it felt to me, was not mine to carry. But what could I do? And then it hit me like a bolt out of the blue. Shine my light. Shine it bright.

A dear childhood television friend of mine, Fred Rogers, has a wonderful point of view about how to choose to look at the brokenness of the world. He shares his own mother’s wisdom to him, “‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

This broken world is also full of beauty that grows with our nurturing. As a steward of humanity, I seek to make a positive difference, doing some small thing (and sometimes large things) to leave each day better than I found it. As a coach, helping people clarify their values, define their purpose, and to then live gallantly and confidently into that authentic expression of their inspired vision is, among other things, my gift to give.

My gift won’t ever make headlines the way others’ involvement in the world do. Regardless, it is important. I will not let go of my vision for a kinder, more tolerant and peaceful world and I will, by my words and by my actions, help others see it, too. I know that we get what we focus on. I will continue to look for and see the unique yet sometimes still small light in everyone I meet, to fan the flames, and to encourage connection with other shining souls in each of our communities. I am confident that through our coming together, love and light will ultimately win in the perpetual struggle of good over evil.

The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you. Find your gift and shine with me. We’ve got this.

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