The “Who” Behind the “Do”
Last week I learned about the death of an amazingly dedicated leader at an organization we've worked with for decades. I had the honor of working with her for only a brief time, but she had a positive impact on me. Despite the challenges she faced with training implementation, she conveyed an authentic belief that meaningful change was possible. She was a hopeful, incredible, and inspiring woman. I have to believe that her heart of hope sustained her through her health challenges.
I knew nothing of the cancer she had been living with for some years, so news of her illness and death came as a surprise to me. Of course, it wasn’t something that would come up in most professional conversations. We often get to know people’s “work” selves, but there is so much going on behind that in people’s personal lives, and sometimes we forget about that.
I heard about Robin Williams’ death on the same day.
He once said, “Comedy is acting out optimism.”
I think caring is also acting out optimism. And I think educating is acting out optimism. Providing medical attention and mental health services are acts of optimism.
I talk to Certified Instructors every week who are doing all they can to act out optimism in their work. But there is more to us than our work. The spotlight of a celebrity life has allowed us “in” on the sad realities of that fact as it relates to Robin Williams. As he acted out optimism on stage, he may have suffered in silence. Anyone can.
Thinking of these two lives lost and the people I admire so much through the gift that is my work, I wrote this:
I teach, I treat, I build bridges
I make people laugh
I show, I tell, I lead a team
I act out a scene
I counsel, I coach, I heal their wounds
I write some stories.
This is what I DO.
But the class gets dismissed
The clock gets punched
The lights go down
I walk off the stage of what I DO
Still wearing the shoes of who I AM.
My talents are gifts I choose to give
But these alone are not me
Neither do faults I wish were not mine
Equate to what is my self.
Bodies and minds can hold passion and pain—off stage from what we DO.
The color you see, might be muted to those—trying to find the I AM.
It is here that empathy takes life.
Be there for yourself.
Be there for one another.