Tag Archives: conversations

Episode 1: Epilogue


Got together with my dear, long-time friend, Patty Cooper, for tea at The Grind Cafe in Lincoln Square just before NYE. She was visiting family for the holidays and we wanted to catch up before she flew back to LA. Patty is a guru on emotional intelligence. She has many valuable insights on the sensitivities of human behavior and how it’s influenced by the culture that surrounds it.

As we sipped tea and shared a Bennison’s almond croissant, we discussed how 2018 was a challenging year for both of us on many levels. We expressed our common struggle with the need to feel anchored in a clearly and neatly defined purpose. A plethora of options have crossed each of our paths and we’ve somewhat been able to sort through them to determine what were opportunities vs. distractions. The aha moment was realizing that we’ve been waiting to see what showed up in front of us instead of actively creating our reality.

We came away from that conversation promising to be instigators in 2019. This will require us to be rooted in our own creativity and to trust our intuition. We also agreed that we wanted to keep the conversation going so that we could support each other and track our progress. What better way to instigate our lives and continue the dialog, than by collaborating on what we’ve named the “the diablog.”

Folks, it is my distinct pleasure to introduce Patty Cooper.

That was a delicious croissant, Pon! I always love our meetings. At the end of 2018, I was feeling a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. One way that I anchor is through thoughtful conversation. Over tea, we talked about the need to get back to basics and the idea of becoming instigators in our own lives.

I have been very lucky that jobs have come very easily to me. I’ve always gotten work through friends and colleagues. By saying “yes” to opportunities, I’ve been on some pretty amazing adventures from New York, Europe, Chicago, Los Angeles to Russia.

I’m currently a contractor at a large entertainment company. It’s been a lot of fun with a great team and a lot of support from upper management. A year ago, the company started the process of a huge acquisition. At the end of 2018, I was told that my position might get eliminated. I immediately went into survival-panic-fear mode. I spent so many hours asking myself what am I going to do now??? And getting back nada in return. The not knowing really paralyzed me. I couldn’t sleep, I wasn’t present with friends. I was stuck in “I don’t know.”

There are two things that I’ve taken into practice since our talk that has helped me to alleviate my anxiety as I sort things out. When I am feeling discomfort or waves of anxiety in my body, I ask myself – What if this is actually a ripple of change that is coming from my future life? What if it’s an emotional vibration from the oncoming change that I just can’t see yet. My energetic field is adjusting and it feels strange and uncomfortable. As I adjust and take steps and make choices, the change will materialize.

The other idea that has helped me through this stressful time thinking whether or not I will have a role in the company is that I have told myself the decision has already been made and I am invited to participate in it. For some reason, that has almost completely alleviated my anxiety. It has allowed me to go to the office and focus on doing the same excellent work as I have been. It has also allowed space in my thinking to be open to new possibilities. I realize I have choices and I can be the one seeking out my next experience. By changing my narrative about change and the anxiety of the unknown, two friends have sent over links to jobs that might be a next great fit. I have let something go to make room for something else.

I’ll keep you posted with how it all unfolds.

Patty, I love how you’ve realized that you can actively seek out your next experience, and that making choices that are right for you is your way of accepting and riding this approaching new wave. Co-authoring the diablog couldn’t have happened at a better time. As you know, I follow Seth Godin’s blog to guide my decision making. I hang on his every word to make sense of this owning-my-own-business thing. On January 12, his post seemed to speak directly to you and me, and I quote it here.

“The instigator: In The Wizard of Oz, we meet a powerful heroine. Dorothy is resolute, focused and honest.
A generous partner, leading her friends to where they seek to go. ‘C’mon, let’s go,’ is a great sentence,
worth using more often. It doesn’t require a permit,
a badge or a degree. It’s simply the work of someone who cares enough to lead, at least right now.
And right now is enough.” – Seth Godin

In between bites of croissant, we said we wanted to be resolute, focused and honest in our conversations. In between sips of tea, we shared the same desire to lead others because we cared enough to change our world.

So c’mon, Patty! As you embrace the wave of change coming to your life, will you join me on this journey to lead others who care enough to create change?

As Dorothy said, “C’mon, let’s go.” because right now is enough. Looking forward to the next diablog, Pon.

Teacher. Student. And how story connects them.

At Barkada Circle, we use storytelling as the catalyst for sparking conversations between the people of a community so they can inspire each other and work together to make change happen.

For the past few months, my team has been immersed in Chicago’s education community. From coaching early childhood educators in a nursery school so they can engage the parents of the children on a deeper human level to speaking to a group of development professionals for community colleges about the value of storytelling in their work.  From training teachers to be leaders in their own communities to engaging the board members of a museum in outreach and promoting their mission.

Barkada Circle’s goal for 2015 is to highlight the value of storytelling as a transformative agent for education: why storytelling is the foundation for how children learn and how adults find common ground around the issues of education, why each one of us must engage in making sure everyone has access to education regardless of their socio-economic status in the community.

Recently we gathered parents, youth, educators and nonprofit leaders around a table in Evanston, Illinois to share their experiences and perspectives on education. Participating in this conversation provided them opportunities for:

  • Meeting other equally invested neighbors who share similar visions for Evanston
  • Deepening their understanding of the community’s needs, programs, challenges and successes
  • Planting the seeds for future interactions, collaborations and resource sharing

This was our first step in supporting people’s efforts to make the necessary change for education in Evanston. As we facilitate more conversations, we continue the journey of addressing education as the cornerstone of our democracy and, presently, a tangled web of direction, intention and contention. Once we reach the place where we find our common truth and identity, only then can we change our story that weaves together reconciliation, courage and hopefulness.

Rita Pierson, Christopher Emdin and Linda Cliatt-Wayman
Rita Pierson, Christopher Emdin and Linda Cliatt-Wayman

Listen to these three storytellers talk about having the courage to break down barriers to reconcile their passion for education with the needs of underserved students so that they can hope to succeed in life.