6/1/14 – Giving an A: Letter from the President

Kicking off our 105th year has me reflecting on our past and imagining a bold vision for our future.  It’s a humbling place to be – at your service, entrusted with an amazing legacy, ensuring a steady supply of passionate, capable women like you are poised to affect positive change long after we’re gone.  I believe that how we work together and the example we set is just as, if not more, important than the exciting programs and projects we’ll tackle this year (though these achievements will be nothing short of spectacular!).

JLP Members are incredible, passionate, capable women, but it can be difficult to resist the urge to power through life at mach speed when there’s so much to be done.  As an entirely volunteer-run organization, it’s important that membership be sustainable and enjoyable.  To keep myself firmly grounded, I recently revisited The Art of Possibility by Zander & Zander, in which they introduce the idea of “giving an A.”

Giving an A is: an enlivening way of approaching people that promises to transform you as well as them.  It is a shift in attitude that makes it possible for you to speak freely about your own thoughts and feelings while, at the same time, you support others to be all they dream of being… When you give an A, you find yourself speaking to people not from a place of measuring how they stack up against your standards, but from a place of respect that gives them room to realize themselves… The A is not an expectation to live up to but a possibility to live into.

During a training on non-violent communication during our Board retreat, our facilitator taught us that most conflict comes from “false assumptions and being tied to a particular outcome.”  Giving an A is a concept I also call “making a positive assumption.”  It’s a strategy and philosphy that brings peace and harmony to my life and I’ve seen it unlock tremendous human potential.

So much possibility awaits us this year!  Let’s give each other A’s and I bet we’ll exceed our wildest expectations!