Let’s Face It

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin

When I think about the S Curve of my life—and who I aspire to be––I realize I am still at the launch point.

Yes, definitely the launch point.

You know, that place where growth can feel slow—even though it might be fast—because it’s not easily or readily apparent…yet.

But if we look closely, with the eyes of patience and perseverance, we can detect growth. And there’s often more of it, happening faster than we realized or would have guessed.

But we have to look closely because change is often small and almost imperceptible, especially when an S Curve is lengthy and complicated, like the S Curve of our lives.

I think, for example, of an email I might have sent, and a year ago I probably would have sent, when I felt triggered. It’s growth to control that impulsive and possibly self-defeating behavior.

Or, consider an uncomfortable conversation that I recently had that, when I think about it, I might have avoided six months ago. Because of a little growth, I avoided avoiding.

Or deciding to commit five minutes to work on a project instead of taking the easier route of determining I don’t have time to work on it.

The tennis lesson that I didn’t cancel. And watching a Southern Virginia University (SVU) tennis match that I did go to (and wouldn’t have a month ago).

And then, in a moment of living really large, after the tennis match, my son and I spontaneously decided to feast on beef brisket sandwiches at JJs Meat Shak. Instead of rushing on to the next thing which my past self might have done.

These are all sorts of small things, and they would be easy to miss if I’m just looking for the big and dramatic. And easy to dismiss as milestones of the kind of growth I want to experience.

And yet they aren’t. The immense progress we make over time along an S Curve is merely an accumulation of seemingly small, inconsequential things. Let’s face it; change isn’t easy for human beings. Challenging our ruts and routines, getting out of our well-trodden paths and out of our own way to work toward being the better self we want to be is consequential, no matter how small the disruption may sometimes appear.

I’m reminded, in fact, of Rita McGrath’s work Seeing Around Corners. She talks about how before something becomes “a thing,” there are weak signals in the form of qualitative data that hint at a change in trajectory. 

So, what about you?

What are some of the seemingly insignificant things you are doing? Put a microscope on them, and you will see that they are part of a larger, changing trajectory for you.

You are growing. Moving toward and then into the sweet spot of who you want to be.

This week’s podcast guest is Wes Carter, president of Atlantic Packaging, the largest, privately held packaging company in North America. We don’t think much about this, but the packaging industry has a massive influence through packaging products and helping the companies that make them.

Sitting where his company does in the supply chain, Wes feels he has an opportunity to impact sustainability. And as you’ll hear from him, following on his grandfather’s legacy of taking on the KKK and standing up for what’s right is a touchstone in his family. It was an interesting and instructive conversation.

As always, thanks for being here.

My best,

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