The Handoff


I thought
it was a marathon--
the work
that must be done. 
I learned
it was a relay. 
That changed everything.

-The Art and Spirit of Leadership by Judy Brown p. 221

This poem was shared on the One Spirit Learning Alliance website yesterday. So, while it appears in The Art and Spirit of Leadership, it also appeared in my inbox. I realize that almost all of my work these days is a relay race, marked by baton passing. And in this handing off of the baton--something greater than the original has the opportunity to blossom. Others can often see the power/value/use in something we've created--a value we ourselves might overlook.

I sent an email this week to my niece to share with her an unexpected and wonderful use of a product she has created: her large Bad Pony bags, which she designed for multiple uses, including style.  Which I use for carrying laundry up and down stairs. Like using Bad Pony bags for laundry, things we create are not always what we think they will be. Plans are often a starting place or map for ourselves and others. We may find that our way turns out to be quite different from the end point we anticipated or set out to create. And in this co-creation our 'plans' become so much more that we could have imagined or created on our own. 

My friend Carol, who shared the poem post from interfaith alliance with me, remarked, "Olympic gold medals are lost because the baton is not passed skillfully." It reminds me that the work I do--preparing the next generation of stewards, who are linking leadership, learning and creativity as a framework for sustainable change in their lives, organizations, and the world is important work.  It is not a time for winding down. In order to pass the baton to the next runner you have to maintain momentum and rely on the practice and on your team mates. While the handoff is crucial, it is collaborative work. 


Reflective questions for journaling or Meditation

  • Journal about a time when you started out with one thing in mind and your path went in a different direction that was unexpected and wonderful.
  • Imagine a desired outcome on a project or upcoming change and then try to see other possibilities. Coax your thinking to be open and creative using the Rule of Six as a guide.
  • Who passed a baton on to you? Write about your experience of being on the receiving end.