Friday, April 23, 2010

No Small Parts

In a previous column, I shared the story of a writer-client's accomplish-
ment and my part in it. When he read the published column, he was prompted to e-mail me about it:

"I love it except for one small detail," he wrote. "You fail to give yourself the credit you deserve. Your words carried great weight. Because of you, this is a book full of stories, not academic ramblings and generalizations. Second, you said to me at one point “This feels like a small book.” That simple sentence lifted a weight and allowed me to trust that I could finish this..."

It's funny, because my column started out being about how any one accomplishment is everyone's accomplishment. How our achievements don't occur in a vacuum. How countless others create them with us in ways seen and unseen. But along the way, the piece changed direction. I felt concerned about being misunderstood. Would readers--John included--think I was trying to take credit for his work? I didn't want to chance that, so I wrote something else.

I did feel a part of his result. But I didn't actually know the extent of my role until receiving John's note. I'm grateful to know it, and for the validation his words lent to my initial impulse.

That impulse was born of my recalling, as I slipped his new book from the mailer and started paging through, a particular achievement of my own about eight years back. That achievement culminated in my standing before my community of fellow leaders and assuring them that all my results of the previous six months were equally their results. I insisted that none of my achievements would have occurred without them. I'm not sure they believed me, or completely understood, but I knew it was true through and through.

So thanks to John for opening this subject again, prompting my return to it, to tell this part. It feels important if not imperative--now more than ever--to realize, acknowledge, appreciate the extent to which we are all in this together, joined in mutual creation--or destruction, depending. By and for all of us, despite any appearances to the contrary--moment by moment, choice by choice, act by act--we bring our collective creations into form, with no one part in this co-creation any larger or smaller than any other. Shame on me for forgetting that!

Like so our World is created--for better and for worse, like it or not.


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