Work-life Balance and Disturbances

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I wrote to a friend the other day and got an email back that said that she was away meditating and would not be back until mid-March. (Let me also say that she is one of the more brilliant and influential individuals I know.)

Anyway—wow! Apparently, she has conquered the elusive “work-life balance,” where sometimes I wonder if I could get away with sleeping on the couch here in the vast expanses of our NPQ offices. Not all the time; just sometimes.

But some of us are in areas of nonprofit work where many mole heads are in play. Publishing is plagued or blessed by a great variety of changes to their operating environments and thus their enterprise models, as are large arts organizations. For instance, today I wrote a newswire about a situation at the esteemed and well-heeled Metropolitan Opera in New York, because it appears that their donations have taken a nice upturn even while their box office is declining. It is also headed into contract negotiations with an awe-inspiring 16 unions.

It is a largely undiscovered world out there, and we are, in many fields, starting to look for new ways to approach our missions and visions. And in all of that, as Meg Wheatley writes, “so much more is possible if we can be together and consciously look for the differences, those ideas and perspectives we find disturbing. Instead of sitting in a group and looking for confirmation, what is possible if we listen for disturbance? Instead of looking for safety in numbers and noting those who feel like allies or fellow travelers, what might we create if we seek to discover those whose insights are the most different from ours? What if, at least occasionally, we came together in order to change our mind?”

My thoughts for the day, for what they are worth.