This month, I thought I'd share some reflections from a recent learning experience. I'm always aware of our tendency to receive in the moment but lose of hold of our inspiration when the moment for action is ripe. This is about making sense of inspiration and motivation, reflecting on one's personal "swells" and using them to energize our work. Maybe it can prompt you to think about what you've been stirred by lately, and how you can act on that stirring today.

Today I felt the swell
It comes and it goes
Sometimes I manage it well
The heart-swell of passions stirred
The mind-swell of voices heard
The throat-swell of the unspoken word

Am I doing the best that I can?
Am I creating some wind with this fan?
Am I sticking it to the man?

I reach and I give
I trust and I live
But is it enough
Am I the right kind of tough?
What is the stuff
   of my power?
Each passing hour
Is a chance and a test
I strive and I rest
But is it enough?

Morning will break
Today in its wake
The earth will not quake
But still I will shake
With the movement of today

I’ll make my way
Thanks to you,
and you,
and you.

There's work to do.

What you can do in August

Allow your mind to wander to the big vision
Review the successes of the past year
Mine recent failures for their hidden gifts and lessons and take note
Read that book, article, or research you’ve been meaning to but didn’t have time for
Take long leisurely surfs through the internet looking for people, positions, or projects that inspire you
Plan your professional development for the coming year
Take field trips
Build relationships over coffee and walks in the park
Set budgets, goals, metrics, next steps
Send emails to people you’ve always wanted to connect with
This month can be slow for many of us, and a time of a forced—if not chosen—break from the grind. But it doesn’t have to be unproductive. Let your personal adventures fuel your professional reserve. Let the lines blur; look for connections, metaphors, possibilities, jumping off points in your lulls and free time.

Work doesn’t always have to be work.

What's on your horizon?

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. 

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What are you managing?

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.

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To Design and Advocate

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. 

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Sarah's Note: See the forest and the trees

The past few weeks have been a time of review. Lots of questions about doing—what are we doing, are we doing it well, what could we be doing, what does the future look like with this in mind?

Toward the end of answering some of these questions, we here at Purpl have been conducting a number of evaluations. Sooner or later, we will share a full review of our findings with you all.

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