Soon after I moved to Lafayette, I asked a few people if they knew of a book group that would welcome a new member. One acquaintance said that she couldn't think of one but would think about it.
Not too long after I was invited to join a newly forming book group that included this new friend. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this well-read, creative and passionate group of women. We actually read the book(s) each month and our discussions are lively and thought-provoking.
"I can't think of a better life than one dedicated to passion, to dreams, to the stubbornness that defies chaos and disillusionment. Our world, filled with possibilities, is and will be the result of the efforts offered up by us, its inhabitants....The future is a construct that is shaped in the present, and that is why to be responsible in the present is the only way of taking serious responsibility for the future. What is important is not the fulfillment of all one's dreams, but the stubborn determination to continue dreaming."
These words were written by Gioconda Belli, on the last page of The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War, which my book group discussed recently.
Belli is a courageous woman who fought and lived through the revolution in Nicaragua. As I read her dramatic story, I thought about other warriors I know. Perhaps their stories are less dramatic, yet they too are dedicated to their dreams.
I have been working with a group of Executive Directors participating in the Rapides Foundation's Community Development Works program in Central Louisiana, called Execbuilders. These leaders are passionate about making their community a better place and finding creative ways to bring a bit more joy, knowledge and compassion into their clients' lives.
They do this while also leading their staffs, navigating a board of directors who are often busy with their own lives and businesses, and trying to find ways to keep their organizations afloat amidst dwindling resources. It is not easy and yet they persevere.
They are open to looking at their leadership styles to learn new ways to communicate and grow. I feel so fortunate to be coaching these community leaders who work tirelessly and with little recognition for their contributions. Like Belli, they are dedicated and determined in order to keep their personal and organizational dreams alive.
I could write about any one of my past or current coaching clients. Each one demonstrates his or her courageousness by showing up for coaching and for their lives. They slow down and with curiosity they focus on areas of their life that are important to them. By paying attention, trying on new ways of thinking, being and doing, they are then responsible in the present for creating a better future for themselves and others.
They are dedicated and determined and inspire me every day.
Please share your reflections with me personally or on the Oak Communications Coaching and Consulting Facebook page.