If in November 2019 you had asked me where I would be in November 2020, my answer would not have been Sarasota. “The plan” was to transition out of my role as Inaugural Fellow at The Patterson Foundation and into my next career chapter in the early summer. Maybe late summer. Join me in looking back fondly on the naive plans our 2019 selves made.

As difficult as it is to grieve the plans we had anticipated, I am extraordinarily grateful for the opportunities this year has provided. Because of my extended tenure at TPF, I can work with John Ferguson and Abby Rolland, expanding the fellows experience to a new cohort. We could harness the concept of joyful stewardship into crafting new projects, new initiatives, and an entirely new set of values for future fellows to embrace. While the world is in many ways in a state of arrested development, or even regression, the team at TPF is crafting an innovative future that adapts rapidly to an ever-changing reality.

Joyful Stewardship is a TPF value sometimes difficult to articulate. For me, it goes hand in hand with the world view of collective abundance. When we joyfully bring our full selves, complete cookie jars, and search out ways to contribute, new pathways open. Joy attracts joy. Possibilitarians are magnets for other possibilitarians.

It would be inaccurate to say the journey through this year has been simple. I can’t accurately describe how many times I’ve cycled through cope-adapt-innovate. It is challenging to navigate uncertainty with a partner who depends on you and who you depend on. How much overachievers want to make a difference only to be reminded constantly to smallify, smallify, smallify. But I like to think any true possibilitarian—anyone whole-heartedly embracing joyful stewardship—has a hefty streak of stubbornness. I’ve been told before that stubborn is an inherently negative word. Nonsense! Persistence is just a lighter version of stubbornness. And to remain joyful, grateful, optimistic in a time of tremendous uncertainty requires a core conviction that can only be described as stubborn.

To be stubborn in our joy, our hope, is to remain mobile. Rather than paralyzed by our environment, we are energized by new challenges. This is so true of being part of the team at TPF that in reflection, I couldn’t possibly imagine being anywhere else during this time. As we look forward to the new year and new possibilities, I ask that you reflect with me on the moment of gratitude for changed plans, the unexpected joyful moments, and the times where your stubbornness allowed progress to persist. There’s no telling what 2021 will bring, but there’s little we can’t achieve when we arrive with an attitude of collective abundance.

Comments (1)

  • Laurey Stryker

    Laurey Stryker

    14 December 2020 at 18:01 | #

    So impressed with how you've put TPF values into practice. Definitely will be an ongoing ambassador.
    Thank you for all you've done for our grateful community.


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