Archives for posts with tag: creative workplace

At the 2012 Bessie Awards, the New York dance “community of communities,” as organizer Lucy Sexton put it, reaffirmed itself on many levels while honoring its standouts.  One question wove in and out of the remarks from the stage: “How lucky am I?”

As in: how lucky am I to be doing what I love?  How lucky am I to be allowed to work with such amazing collaborators?  How lucky am I that people see my work?  How lucky am I to be able to live my passion?

On an obvious level, this is a ritual of gratitude.  Listen closer, and it rings as a statement about belonging.  It sounds like, “I’m right where I’m supposed to be.”

The award presenters and recipients made another act of belonging that night at the Apollo Theater: an affectionate rub of the golden tree stump positioned down right as each took the podium and prepared to speak.

I know there is a deeper story here than I’m prepared to tell.  Suffice it to say, this was an “insider” tree stump, and rubbing it an insider thing to do.  The performing arts are full of such things.

So are other fields.  I happened to catch world-class Alpine climber Conrad Anker at Yale Law School as part of The North Face Speaker Series.  He related how he and his two climbing partners, Renan Ozturk, and Jimmy Chin, promised the Hindu mountain dwellers for whom Himalayan summits are sacred that they would bring them back rocks from the very top to share their joy.  Last fall was the third time the three Americans had tried to scale the direct line up the Shark’s Fin of Meru (Garwhal), and they were successful.

What insider-type rituals go on in your workplace?  How could it become a place of adventure, a place of belonging?  And how often do YOU ask that golden question in the company of your colleagues, “How lucky am I?” 

What inspires more trust?  Someone promising the “best” way?  Or someone promising a “better” way?

(Must interrupt briefings from the Scrum Gathering in Barcelona to offer the following passage from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.  It can be read as a love letter to the creative workplace, pulsing with people who see “perfect” as a verb.  ENJOY!)

From A Song of the Rolling Earth, 3-4


I swear I see what is better than to tell the best,

It is always to leave the best untold.

When I undertake to tell the best I find I cannot,

My tongue is ineffectual on its pivots,

My breath will not be obedient to its organs,

I become a dumb man.

The best of the earth cannot be told anyhow, all or any is best,

It is not what you anticipated, it is cheaper, easier, nearer,

Things are not dismiss’d from the places they held before,

The earth is just as positive and direct as it was before,

Facts, religions, improvements, politics, trades, are as real as


But the soul is also real, it too is positive and direct,

No reasoning, no proof has establish’d it,

Undeniable growth has establish’d it.

Delve!  mould!  pile the words of the earth!

Work on, age after age, nothing is to be lost,

It may have to wait long, but it will certainly come in use,

When the materials are all prepared and ready, the architects shall appear.

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