Writing this week’s blog has been more emotional than before. Having witnessed the effects of the super typhoon Haiyan on my native land, the Philippines, brought forth so much emotions- sadness and empathy for the survivors, grief for parents carrying their lifeless child as they walk across debris, anger for the politicking that is going on instead of focusing on relief efforts, but mostly deeply inspired by the millions of unknown brothers and sisters worldwide who came together to help assist the Filipinos in this time of great need and challenge.
When I think about this week’s module of key people who inspire me, I think of people like the heroes I’ve mentioned earlier. Each individual put in their time, resources and energy into rebuilding our nation. In their own big and small ways, they inspired me to be a better person and I experienced what Dr. Boyatzis called renewal. For me, it is a feeling of intense emotional rejuvenation. I think in our stress-laden lives, we need moments of renewal to remind us to be mindful and thankful of what we have, renewal to allow our hearts to let go of past hurts and pains, renewal to remind ourselves that we are resilient and renewal to have the power to rebuild and forge ahead stronger than ever.
How about you? Who are the key people in your lives who have inspired you? What have they done for you and what lessons did they leave you? Either it is a word of encouragement, an unexpected helping hand, a pat on the back, a shoulder to lean on, a kind nonjudgmental ear, that person/s has given us a vision of what we want to be in the future. How powerful is that! Talk about transformational learning, borrowing Jack Mezirow’s term. Or Complexity Theory according to Boyatzis, and this occurs when a person’s thoughts, actions and behaviors change in a sustainable nonlinear way. This change is incremental- some days we change a bit, some days we don’t change at all and some days we revert back to our old ways. But Boyatzis in his research contended that there are five patterns present when people sustainably change. The first step is called the ideal self, and this is a self-reflective discovery, a glimmer of our desired self, of who we want and envision ourselves to be. The second step is the real self, where we obtain feedback from others about how we show up and we consciously compare that data with our ideal self, something like a personal balance sheet. The third step is exploring a learning agenda by committing to some personal changes or maintenance of positive actions, thoughts and behaviors. Note that this is not a performance improvement plan, but more like a mental action check list. Now that we have this mental list, the fourth step is to actually practice, experiment and see how these changes are received and perceived by people around us. Finally, through a consistent stream of reflection and change, we begin to establish trusting and resonant relationships.
As I look at the photos and videos of towns in the central part of the Philippines reduced to rubble caused by the super typhoon, the rising death toll each day, the tears streaming down the survivors faces, I feel immense grief and feelings of helplessness but at the same time, I am deeply hopeful and inspired by the spirit and will of the survivors to rise above this tragedy and the generous individuals and organizations who donated money and gave up their holiday parties so money can go toward the relief fund; selfless volunteers who sent and packaged hundreds and thousands of relief goods everyday, and kind souls who organized hot meals, temporary tents and transportation for the displaced victims. This week alone, I feel humanity come alive more so than ever. Seeing my fellowmen suffer so much desolation, I have witnessed how the world came together to reach out and pull our country out of this time of desperate need. My cup overflows. I am deeply grateful and thankful and inspired. Thank you to the people who helped the Philippines and who inspired me in your own ways to change the world, one nation, one person at a time.