Summer Book Review Denouement

“We are now in a position to move forward with you,” boasted a long-awaited email to a friend.  Imagine the excitement.  She’s been networking in pursuit of a new opportunity.   A new direction.  Maybe you’ve seen this movie?  Countless meet and greets.  Electronic job postings.  Online applications.  Long overdue or impersonal responses from hiring companies.   Not this email.   A sparkle?  A validation?

It’s the sparkle that got me.  I’ve held on tightly to it since my friend forwarded the email.  It’s been a tough week.  Transition.

Pantheon, Rome

Pantheon, Rome

This week marks my look back at the summer’s six Book Reviews.  Like last summer the books tracked more closely on the soul-searching side of transition vs. the researching side.  (Choices & Learning, 3/29/2012)  I hope you take the following to heart. I know I did:

a) Re-imagine continuallyGetting to 50/50 and Composing a Life (Bateson) rooted their messages in the need for our identity’s constant adaptation.   Phil Jackson took it further and called upon readers to integrate their whole selves.  Bateson saw real positive power in integrating our whole selves, “the struggle to combine commitments is really a search for ways to make combinations mutually enhancing.”  (Composing, pg 184)

I loved the vocabulary of ‘composing’ in Bateson’s book.  It reminded me of images from the film Amadeus which captures Mozart as a young man scribbling notes furiously while sitting nearly buried in discarded paper.  Emergent.  Inelegant.  Unfettered.  Imagining.

b)  Understand Loss & Our Response to It:   “American men learn to project their disappointments outward; women tend to internalize their losses.  When a proposal is turned down or a job not offered, women tend to say, I wasn’t worthy. Men often contend that the process was crooked.”   (Composing, pg 206)   Ever been there?   Just last week I skirted this one.  Myself and a colleague disagreed deeply on an issue during a large group meeting.    My initial reaction was to question myself.   Thanks to Bateson, and 31 other Summer Book Review authors, I pivoted quickly and sought the perspective of a colleague.  My action had immediate positive impact.  I was no longer stuck in loss but focused on building important coalitions.  By the way, I would never have gotten there on my own….

c) Resist the urge to disengage:  Meers’ and Strober’s Getting to 50/50 challenged women’s frequent retreat response when faced with negative events or uncertainty.  “You can do something more effective than going underground, or going ballistic or going away.  You can keep (going) – on your own terms.”     (50/50 pg 110+)   Murphy schooled us in the financial implications and discriminatory undertones of such a retreat in Getting Even.  Despite the media’s deafness to this part of Sandberg’s message in Lean In she really encourages readers to grow into a fuller version of themselves.

This growth doesn’t occur instantly or in a single motion.  But what it doesn’t allow for is retreat.  It is iterative.  Necessary.   And irreplaceable.

The last ten days have been nothing short of torturous in my world.  The result?  I’m distracted.  I’ve also lost some momentum on a priority project that is an important source of energy and excitement for me.

Thanks to each of you…and your patience in listening to me talk out loud about transition…I am no less emboldened despite this detour.   The distractions are causing a silence that is unwelcome but impermanent.

As the Summer Book Review closes I wish for you a moment to re-imagine without boundaries, with a belief in your fullest self and with a curiosity that dignifies everything you’ve ever wondered about.    I hope that even on the toughest days you can live with ambiguity and discomfort even if you have to borrow a little sparkle from a friend…

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