The other morning, as I was racing to get the kids out of the house for school and myself dressed, ready, and to my desk in order to tackle the long list of to-dos that awaited, I was feeling frenzied. My competent self was suppressed by a multi-layered haze—the fog of the urgent needs of the people in front of me, the cloud of concern about the tasks of the day, and finally a deep, floating ache for a horizon that wasn’t yet clear.I set off fora walk to clear my head for the day and make some plans, but I couldn’t shake the daze. So I gave myself a mantra: “taking care of business.” I thought that I could power through these feelings by setting an intention of practicality, and, for a bit, it worked.
I’ve begun watching 13 Reasons Why, because I have middle school-aged kids, because I work with teens, and because I wanted to learn what the discussions center around and why it has taken such center stage. Besides the frightening and risky elements that have been widely discussed, I see something else I think we need to notice and react to as a society: the culture of secrecy and isolation that the teenagers in this show inhabit. And which, I venture to say, many of us, in fact, inhabit as well.
Anyone who’s ever been on a diet (or likely tried to manage any kind of behavioral change) knows that when you have a bad day, when you deviate from the regime, you’re often tempted to just blow the whole thing off.
Even if you don't buy into the concept of the new year as a new start, there is enough cultural communal energy that we are all launched forward, come January 1st. There’s a lot to look back on, both with fondness and regret.
About a year ago, I had an epiphany—all the work I’d been doing across my career, from publishing, to education, to the incubation of independent work at Purpl, was all coming together to form one big idea: we need a new approach to leadership for the gig economy, and we need to be learning it in school.
Over the past few days, our country has been on a monumental journey. That journey has meant different things to different people, but universally the shift that has taken place is one of redefinition, of altered understanding, and of new identities. Concepts of community, of relationship, the very grounding on which we stand, have shifted.
Those of you who frequent our website might have noticed that recently we made a shift to our mission. This is not a change that will alter what you see or experience in the space, but a shift that recognizes that these issues Purpl is working to address—of how we lead in the world of independent work, how we teach and facilitate for the competencies of self-direction and ownership, how we create social capital through shared learning journeys and dialogue—are fundamental to some of the biggest crises and issues our community is facing: a huge and growing population of free agents needing to grow and sustain their livelihoods; college retention rates nearing 50%; widespread employee disengagement; rapid job and career changes; rising anxiety and depression rates; the pandemic of loneliness, now the chief preventable health issue in the country.
Now I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels really uncomfortable being asked that question. Not because I don’t have passions. But—I don’t know about you—most of my true passions are deeply held and can be deeply personal, and not always easy to explain.
On my way to work today, instead of listening to the news or my audiobook, I put my itunes library on random to see what it would offer up. After singing along to some old favorites, an Iris Dement song I hadn’t remembered hearing before called After You’re Gone came on. It went straight to my heart and brought tears to my eyes.
As I walked away from my car in the lot this morning, the attendant in the parking lot called out to me in parting, “Don’t work too hard.” It struck me that this friendly instruction, so casually offered and so commonly shared, is actually a complicated one to be the recipient of, especially when trying to do work that matters.
There’s something about the new year’s concept, abstract as it is, that makes it difficult to pass through without some acknowledgment of the possibility for a fresh start. But fresh starts don’t always come easily. Sometimes we have to command ourselves to start new.
Thank you for visiting Purpl this past year, and for supporting our programs with your avid attendance. It’s been a wildly productive 12 months for us. We’d like to tell you what we’ve been up to, and ask for your support.
On the morning after Thanksgiving, it’s family protocol in our house (as I’m sure it is in many others’) to gather whatever family members are around for a breakfast round of leftover pumpkin pie, cornbread, and dinner rolls. This year, this meant our family of five and my mother-in-law sat together that Friday morning.
On being lost, because it’s such an easy and common sensation to fall into, yet such a crippling one: the feeling of uncertainty of where the next step should land, and the mire one wades through trying to gain clarity about that direction.
On asking for help, because depending solely on oneself is a sure way to get to lost.
In the natural course of their growth and their much deserved success, we celebrate when from time to time a member “graduates” from our incubation and moves on to a bigger space to accommodate bigger business.