Wednesday, January 15

Starting with What You've Got and Where You Are

During this time of year when New Year’s resolutions are being tested, I have been thinking about one of the features of my work that I love the most.  It is that I get to help clients start with what they’ve got and where they are.  You have to acknowledge—and maybe even honor—your current reality before you can build it into what you’d like it to be.  I don’t try to change who my clients are or deny the challenges they may be facing.  In fact, I find it exciting to work with what you’ve got to create something beautiful and functional.  
I bring this same love of “solving” how to organize what exists into something greater when I prepare a meal from ingredients at hand.  I call on it when I help a friend rearrange her furniture or her wardrobe for a fresh, new look.  I call on it when my garden needs attention—why start all over when you can work with what you already have?  This photo is of work being done on my patio now by rearranging the existing materials, including buckets of sea glass I had collected, which are now becoming a mosaic pattern weaving through the patio.
Steve McHale of McHale Landscape Design
For me, starting with what you have and where you are is a form of gratitude and being present.  When I want to move in a new direction, either professionally or personally, I first feel the need to accept and even embrace what I have and use that as the foundation for change.  Many people buy new equipment or instructional videos if they want to change something personal.   Although these may be helpful once you have moved into the change, if done outside of the context of appreciating and using what you already know or have, they rarely create change.  The change has to come from within.  And, at least for me, it begins with gratitude for what I already have, know, and can do and builds from there.  
Think about how this applies to the organization or team you lead.  Are you focused on what people are doing wrong, or on what you have to work with?  Are you guilty of thinking that if you only had more staff, a different board/boss, or more authority you could achieve your vision?  Your vision is waiting to be realized and its seed is already in your hands.

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