whatever happens...w/ World Bank
john at johnengle.net
Wed May 9 17:02:19 PDT 2007
Hi Raffi, Gabriela and everyone.
Several hours ago we finished an open space with about 350 World Bank employees who are part of their worldwide communications network. It started Monday, following several keynotes and a resignation in real time of an aid to President Wolfowitz. Interesting times. The aid came and announced it between keynotes Monday morning.
Brian Bainbridge facilitated this event last year. A hard act to follow is an understatement. Many asked about you Brian, and say hello. They loved you, as you well know. You're a legend with the World Bank and if it wasn't that Australia is so far away from Washington DC and that the Bank is cutting budgets left and right, it would've been you there again this year facilitating this event. I'm stating what you already know but just providing to others some background as to why I was there.
I just read Harrison's words about the "whatever happens" issue and am feeling humbled in the same way that I've been feeling humbled by working with a group that Brian Bainbridge has worked with. I LOVE reading your words, Harrison. And when I read them, I'm lucky enough to be able to picture and hear you saying them. People today told me how Brian concluded the meeting and how they appreciated it.
In Haitian Creole one would say, "Se yon lot nivo," to describe the approach of the sajes in our network as compared to people like me. "Se yon lot nivo" translates roughly to "It's another level." ... "It's not the same."
I can learn from Harrison and Brian and other sajes in this network. And how grateful I am that you are so willing to share! But ultimately, I have to come up with what works for me. I have to discover my path. Just because certain things work well for the sajes does not mean that they will work for me. I can't assume authority that I don't have.
In practical terms, this means this means that I have to be very concise. The interest and attention that people have for words from sajes is not the same that they will have for me as a 43 year old. As I see it, I need to give some concise explanation and guidance and get out of the way before people get bored. Or before, as someone from a Latin American country said today, it becomes, "Blah, blah, blah." She shared that she appreciated my approach and that my words stimulated reflection but did not become "bla, bla, bla."
I find myself trying to capture the essence of what our sajes say and how they do it while looking at the advice of others on this list who might be more at my "nivo" or level of experience with open space and leadership. It's fun looking at both and discerning what feels right for me. It's all guesswork.
Based on input I received from the list (and you will notice that it comes directly from a number of you), this is how I explained the principle. The sign I used corresponded.
"Whatever happens is the only thing that did - learn and move forward.
This principle helps us not to lament over should haves or wallow in regrets. Weâre all responsible for how we use our time and space together during this meeting. WE DO OUR BEST. ThatÂ´s what we can do, THEN â whatever happens happens. WeÂ´d better accept it â learn and move forward."
With deep gratitude and welcoming more comments,
ps pictures from world bank open space:
Harrison Owen <hhowen at verizon.net> wrote: Gabriela, you may disappear down an endless rabbit hole of semantic (not to mention grammatical) obfuscation and confusion! I think the real point is the meaning, no matter the words. And given the number of languages that OS has wandered into â the words must be infinite! And who knows what the ârightâ ones are??? For myself the phrase, âWhatever happens is the only thing that could haveâ â just came out that way. No particular thought on the subject, it just felt right. And over the years it still feels right â but the MEANING (for me) is â
The past is over, the future hasnât happened yet. All we have is NOW. The could-have-beens, might-have-beens, should-have-beens are all (presumably) interesting but also basically irrelevant to our present opportunities Now. Now is where our passion must be focused, and Now is where responsibility must be taken. All the rest is abstract, theoretical, and definitely NOT NOW! Or something J
And then, of course, if you want to get into some interesting philosophical, esoteric, not to say weird waters, you might ask yourself â How Big is Now? Could be a very small Now, in which case the opportunities and the responsibilities of infinitesimal. On the other hand, that NOW could be huge â like the whole Cosmos. Talk about opportunity and responsibility! Boggles the mind! Probably not worth thinking about!!
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From: OSLIST [mailto:OSLIST at LISTSERV.BOISESTATE.EDU] On Behalf Of Gabriela Ender
Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2007 11:56 AM
To: OSLIST at LISTSERV.BOISESTATE.EDU
Subject: Re: whatever happens...
Dear John, and others,
I want to come back to your wonderful thoughts regarding this principle because I like the way you have been experimenting in Haitian Creole and in English with very much: "What Happens is what happens - learn and move forward."
And you have added: "This principle helps us to not lament over should'ves, to not wallow in regrets. We're all responsible for how we use our time and space together during this meeting. Let's assume that responsibility and be prepared to accept what happens and to continually strive to learn and to keep moving forward."
I totally agree and I like they way you describe it!
I have a question. Would it be also okay to say: "What happened is what happened - learn and move forward." ? I mean "What happened is what happened" (it is past - so we cannot change it anymore) and "learn and move forward." is present ... with responsibility in my/our "here and now".
"What happens is what happens" sounds for me (as a foreign English speaking person) like it is the present and for "here and now" we are responsible ... how we use our time. Therefore I think that changing the first part of this principle variant "into past" could express the "when its over its over" in it a bit better and would make a distinction to present and concsious responsibilty.
I would appreciate your and the opinion from others a lot. Thank you very much!
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