“Where attention goes, neural firing flows and neural connection grows.” –Daniel Siegel M.D. from his book, Aware.
Where we put our attention is where our brain builds connection. It’s all about repetition and consistency, whether it is self driven or imposed upon us. With the autonomy and freedoms that we possess, what we intentionally and unintentionally practice truly matters.
As we approach the new year, many of us are considering resolutions and intentions that we want to set and accomplish. Our year’s goals to create a better self. Weight, exercise, and nutrition are common on the “get physically healthy” list. On the mental health side, seeing a therapist, meditating, and journaling are typical. While all of these goals are doable, approachable, with numerous phone applications and blank journals as support….most of them will not come to fruition. Why – consistency is REALLY difficult especially in our differently chaotic lives. Even those with the best habits get sidetracked. Then, how do We stay on track? We stay on track, together.
While I am NOT a neuroscientist, it is my understanding that the neural connections we have created in our brains consist of many neurons working together. Neurons are not alone in the processing of our thoughts, feelings, or abilities – they cluster and form communities focused on specific goals. While our new year’s resolutions, intentions, and goals are our own personal Northstar, other individuals have very similar Northstars. If we acted like neurons, found others to cluster with, and formed a community around, we will be more successful in reaching our Northstar.
I believe that most of our failed New Year’s resolutions, intentions, and goals are a product of us trying to do them by ourselves. We failed to push the rock up the mountain, we tried to run the relay alone, and we allowed our ego to drive us. We failed to group, failed to cluster with others, we failed to join a community that was driven to similar goals. I just said “ failed” a lot, which is okay because we have learned from these situations and will do better because of them.
This year, I intend to set some BIG goals for myself AND find communities to help me make them happen. Most of them are still in the thinking – and I will be sharing them here.
One significant and scary goal of mine has to do with Empathy Lab’s mission to “champion the power and practice of empathy”. After years of working with individuals, teams, and organizations I’ve come to the realization that I must create a Community for individuals to be a part of.
- I must hold space for individuals that want to practice self-empathy and empathy for one another.
- I must hold space for individuals exploring their blind sides, stereotyped perspectives, and unknown powers
- I must hold space for employees struggling to get their boss, team, or company to take company culture, DEI, mental health, or human belonging seriously.
- I must hold space for leaders that cannot get the budgets they need in order to create cultural change within their organizations.
- I must hold space for difficult conversations, humans supporting humans, and the slow evolution of our culture.
- I must hold space for people to be heard, seen, and loved for who they are, what they are struggling with, and what they are accomplishing
- I must build the community with others, for others
- I must hold the space in an empathetic and compassionate way
This community, this eventual cluster of neurons, gathering of people, is currently called the Empathy Athlete Community. As athletes, we are all in practice, with different perspectives, experiences, strengths, weaknesses, and knowledge. Together, through consistent practice, consistent sharing, and compassionate conversations, we will create flow which will result in individual improvement and cultural change.
Again, repeating Siegel’s words “where attention goes, neural firing flows and neural connection grows.”
My attention is currently focused on holding space for a community of empathetic, compassionate, and loving humans.
I cannot build or hold this space for free (anymore) – I don’t have the funds, nor do I desire it to be controlled by corporate sponsorship or venture capital. It must be powered by my dedicated time, my membership as an equal, and the people that believe in the practice and in the community’s goal.
If this community sounds like something that can help you grow, help you feel seen, heard, and appreciated, and a place where you can support others, I would love you to join the EAC with me.