Each day we are presented unlimited possibilities. Today it is possible to make a new friend, find a different business partner, enjoy someone to laugh with, share an encounter. Each possibility could be perceived as positive, or negative. We are not in control of what is being presented daily to each one of us, but we are in control of how we respond. Do we accept what is presented – is it a gift, does it fit our immediate or long term needs, or do we reject the offers. Every awakening moment we learn, we discern, we make snap, instinctive decisions, we make judgments, we share, we reflect. We are alive, but at different degrees.
You and I are here at this moment for whatever the reason it is that we find ourselves sharing this space. We may have chosen to share these moments together, or were brought together here by circumstances beyond our control. Fact – we are here, and must decide what we shall do with this opportunity. We may choose to acknowledge each other’s presence, or not. I choose to acknowledge that you are here, that you exist, that you are on the peripheral of my bubble. Based upon the interaction we shall have from this acknowledgement, we shall instantly decide how to proceed, if our bubbles will merge and engage.
Who are you and I? Are we strangers bumping into each other in a grocery store, or are we firm friends, or just acquaintances? It does matter who we are, first and foremost, let us recognized our human-ess. We are united by what we have in common, as a human race needing this planet and the air that we breathe, the sunlight that lets us shine. We may be different based on our culture, our language, our dress, our sex, but we have more in common that we take for granted. What separates us, some by our very existence, some by cultures, many by our choices, may not be that significant.
I chose to be here with you right now to explore the world of possibilities. I want to know, not just your name, but who you are. I want to understand your soul, your character, your views, your values and your dreams. I am not here to judge you. I am curious about you. I will eventually judge you through my filters to decide if I want to continue our interaction, as you will do the same to me. We will always prefer to judge, but let it be in a positive light. Let us give each other the benefits of any doubts. Before we can get there to decide if this is a relationship to pursue, an acquaintanceship or nothing, there are some ground rules we must establish in order to proceed.
Here are some of those rules we must pay attention to in order to advance. We must recognize and acknowledge that we exist and that we are in possession of values, most which may be mutual. If we do not do this, there can be no forward motion as this will give us no momentum. For that momentum to enable a decision to engage there must be a level of understanding, communication and most import – a respectful and safe environment, one of basic trust. As we interact, we shall earn each other’s respect and that level of trust will grow. We may not always agree, but we agree to be gentle with each other’s views and values based upon this mutual respect and to learn. We shall decide the parameters of our interaction with time, but these basic rules of engagement will be the foundation to build upon. Should we agree to this, then we agree that possibilities do exist and are worthy of exploring, that our needs and wants will be respected, and that the boundaries can be pushed and challenged with consent. We then acknowledge that we have dreams and goals, and that it may be possible for me to support you.
Imagine, each one of us bears a light, and as our paths join together and we walk together, we now burn brighter for meeting. We shall walk together for however long, but a day will come when we shall take different paths. When that day comes, we shall each illuminate brighter and go our separate ways, and if we made our journey with honesty, integrity and with the intentions of elevating each other, we shall continue to proceed forward better for having met in fellowship. One does not have to take the light of others to seek the level of our combined flames. We do not have to feel the need to extinguish the other’s light. Instead, I give you my light with the enlightenment you have brought by being beside me. I am the richer and the wiser for what we have experienced together, and so hope and believe that you are too. Let us journey forward in that we have the option of building something of significance and importance, not only for us individually, but as a collective society and show not only ourselves, our family, our community what we are capable of. Let us raise the bar on humanity.
From the opening breakout session of Neal Petersen’s leadership address.