If there’s anything this year has taught us so far (besides the human capacity for bravery and compassion in the midst of fear), it’s that our illusions of control are just that—illusions. We can control ourselves and our response, but even the most powerful among us cannot control the global context we find ourselves in.
Historically, our work-glorifying culture has rested both the praise for success and the blame for failure on the ability of its leaders to predict — and capitalize on — the future. Even if we wouldn’t go that far, we see our endeavors as experiments where we control at least most of the variables that determine the outcome. When the outcome is good, we take the credit. When the outcome is bad, we blame (and blame, and blame) ourselves.
But growth is less like a lab, and more like a garden.
Our role as leaders is to plant and nurture what is ours to tend, working with elements that are largely out of our control. Elements we’d rather do without, like flood and drought; or, more directly to the point, pandemics and systemic racism. But elements that help us flourish, too—elements we did nothing to earn. The sun, the rain, the soil.
What does growth even mean right now?
Since our work is around people-first growth, this is the question we’ve been asking ourselves lately.
We believe it means this: to tend to our gardens, whatever state they may be in, doing what we can to nurture an environment of safety, recovery, resilience, and yes, even growth. And that includes pulling the weeds that stifle healthy, sustainable growth — which means paying close attention to what’s cropping up, what needs more space, what we are watering and cultivating, what we are actively excising, who we are centering, and who is being marginalized.
Even though so much is out of our control, we have great power in our ability to pay attention and to pour our resources into what needs nourishing. Here are some things we’re making to help you do that right now:
- Gather the People
A human approach to growth for people who’d rather make what they love than persuade people to buy it
A people-first resource for gathering remotely
Digital cards to pass around and sign, even when you’re not together
- Gather the Courage
Guided journaling for creative leaders to reflect, be encouraged, and make courageous decisions
A simple way to post animated gifs of your face in Slack
- Call of the Wildling
A story about pursuing your gifts without being drowned by the needs of the world
If you’d like us to keep you up to date on our latest projects and thinking around people-first growth, we recommend subscribing to our newsletter (you can give us your details below).
Sarah and the &yet team
The common phrase “and yet”
is poetry’s simple-machine lever.
Whether said with stuttering
hesitance or inspiring confidence,
it always means a departure
from what came before.
“And yet” humbly hints at the
precise moment of possibility.