Neutral is not an option with black lives.
To feel wonder is to experience a decentering of the self.”– Kelly Bulkeley, psychologist and author, The Wondering Brain
Our Work at Hand
These are de-centering times. These are profoundly hopeful times. De-centering times can call us back into integrity – us, meaning you and me.
For the past several years, our work here at Tracking Wonder has supported you as a thought leader or team leader, professional or brand artist or entrepreneur to
stand in your authority,
lead with your ideals,
design mission-centered business models,
advance your best work for a better world, and
face inevitable challenges with integrity and with the psychology of wonder.
Whether you lead a team, own a business, work for a company, or work for your best self, that has been our work at Tracking Wonder in a nutshell.
But now you like me might feel called out in an unprecedented way to respond to profound social injustices. You might feel unmoored in how to do so with integrity. You might be wondering who your allies are. You might be wondering how you take a stance, do deep work, and still advance your work in the world. Wherever you are on the globe, you might still be pivoting from the pandemic, lockdown, and economic strain.
This message is not a statement nor a performance. I do not have the answers. I do have a point of view-in-progress.
Neutral is not an option but neither is driving by.
Feelings of guilt and despair are only useful to dwell in if they catalyze reckoning and productive change.
Let me be clear: I and everyone at Tracking Wonder stand against racism and the injustices specifically that black people have incurred for centuries. The grotesque visual display of George Floyd’s murder in daylight – coming after Breonna Taylor’s killing in Louisville and the video release of Ahmaud Arbery being hunted down and murdered in Georgia – has re-awakened millions of people to the systemic racism and anti-blackness engrained in the sciences, arts, business, technology, education, spirituality, health & wellness, and daily life – especially in but not limited to the United States. Black lives matter. The long arc of humanity asks for courage and continuous action.
But let me be clear on something else: As a white man who has been at an advantage in this world because of my skin color, I have blindsides. I have defenses that get in the way of progress and unconsciously protect my comfort and privilege. I have become aware of blocks about how to create meaningful, brave space in community. To be in ongoing integrity requires ongoing questioning, unlearning and re-educating as a human being, a friend, an ally, a teacher, a brand artist. It is disorienting.
If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not paying attention.
We are a learning community at Tracking Wonder.
What do we stand for at Tracking Wonder that is informing our response? We value curiosity, courage, creative resilience, integrity, excellence in craft as well as in character. We also value a genuine spirit of Do It Together – the fact that we make an exponential difference in this world when we work together.
As a result, I am in a learning-and-analyzing phase. Something I sensed got confirmed recently. Desireé Adaway and her team at The Adaway Group addressed a matter head on in their informative webinar Whiteness at Work. When we’re faced with a complex situation such as this rising movement, we might leap from awareness to action. Yet when we do so, we miss a vital step: Analysis. This phase has two complementary aims for me as founder of Tracking Wonder Consultancy & Community: to help me understand more how my cognitive patterns and behaviors can be part of the problems and ultimately to point toward how our business, brand, and community can act in ways that align better with our principles and become pro-active allies for the long haul. I have blindsides and biases that often serve to protect my privilege. I am unskilled at leading conversations about race, systemic racism, privilege, and anti-black behavior. These facts are de-centering, necessary, wondrous.
This learning phase includes ongoing specific reading, training, and conversations with team members, clients, and community members.
This list of scaffolded anti-racist resources gives you an idea of what this work can entail. (Thank you, TW Team Member Britt Bravo.)
This learning phase will inform pro-active and ongoing changes.
Next-phase actions will include amplifying the work of more black entrepreneurs, brand artists, and leaders. We’ll re-examine our website and content for diverse representation. We will continue to build stronger brand alliances with diverse people. I will continue to learn how to create a brave space in our Quest Community and other communities where black community members feel safe, seen, heard, and not exhausted.
I hope to partner with specific platforms to offer relevant trainings to our community and clientele. We have started donations to the Center for Creative Education in the Hudson Valley that provides programs in the arts, technology, and wellness for black children, indigenous children, and children of color. But we do not want to be pre-emptive and bypass the analysis.
It will be a beginning.
My role for our community: Be Reflective to orient & Give Perspective to see ahead
My role in the Tracking Wonder Community and for clients in part is to help us get perspective. I reflect, listen, and research trends and have ongoing conversations across the globe as a way to give you a perspective rooted in evidence and in practice.
We are part of a new collective Story. I will be tracking how that story unfolds and what it means for mindful change-makers, leaders, business owners, organizations, and brand artists who are committed to advancing their best work, truly, for a better world.
Personal brands, lifestyle brands, and organizational brands have a responsibility not only to tell a brand story that contributes to the world but also to live that brand story. Brands have a responsibility to the communities they serve. And this generation of brands is different.
I am witnessing more corporate brands than ever before not only respond genuinely externally but also internally. Brands from NASCAR (yes, it matters) to four British tea companies (yes, it matters) are daring to put principle over profit. Last year 181 companies signed Business Roundtable’s statement that the purpose of a corporation is not to protect shareholders but to promote “an economy that serves all Americans.” Gestures are not enough.
But this, too, is a beginning.
Your role: Show up with integrity.
I ask for your partnership:
- Let me know when you think I can do better. Respect me enough to give me a chance.
- Keep me apprised of what you want and need to advance your best work.
- Complete our survey (coming).
- Share resources that can help our community.
- Be willing to have thoughtful conversations.
- Do the work. Show up for your own team and brand community with integrity.
- Engage pro-actively in our free Facebook Quest Community of fellow mindful change-makers from 36 countries.
The Wisdom of Wonder at Work Amidst Disorientation
Wonder disorients and delights with insight. When you get disoriented and de-centered, know the wisdom of wonder may be drawing you into new, fertile terrain. Wonder precedes empathy, compassion, and love. Wonder receives and holds space for difference. It’s also part of our biological adaptive advantage to thrive amidst challenge and change.
We’re in this for the long arc of humanity. We’re navigating this turbulence together and will come out stronger, better, more resilient, and more human for it. So much is indeed possible.
Thanks for running with me,