Together Again, For the First Time

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This week I socialized for the first time in 15 months.

For almost a year and a half, I've been a part of the leadership team of a local women's organization, Relief Society. We met in person a couple of times before COVID hit. Since those early days of working together, we have only interacted virtually.

You all know how that is—for work, for family, for meetings or gatherings of every kind. Whether we liked it or not, if we wanted to connect, it had to be virtual. This particular team developed great energy! Despite having to be apart, there was an easy flow between us over the past 18 months of working together.

But finally, meeting with these friends in person again was amazing! Being together amplified the camaraderie; it was lovely, energizing, and meaningful. I, who ADORE virtual, was reminded of the power of our physical presence to express love and feel loved in a way that we cannot do at a distance. It felt like an occasion.

Adding to the festive feeling was Tarsha Joyner, one of our team members and the owner of Missus Joy's Bakery in Lynchburg, Virginia. We gathered in her lovely business. She cooked us lunch and, as she is closed on Sunday, we got to eat all the cookies and cupcakes leftover from Saturday, making the event extra sweet. It is a simple thing, but for so many of us (including me, for sure), having food prepared for us feels like love. Getting to eat whatever you want in a bakeshop is love on steroids!

During the pandemic, we’ve experienced isolation to varying degrees. Loneliness has been a challenge for many.

Also, many of us have become comfortable in our Zoom zone. I talk about this more in one of my previous newsletters and how it often feels emotionally safe.

And, it is convenient. My team members—both in business and Relief Society—are geographically scattered. Meeting virtually makes it possible for us to accomplish things that would be much more difficult or impossible if we had to be together physically all the time.

But now we were together! This is not a word that has described most of our interactions in more than a year. And we were planning an event for women throughout our county to gather together to participate in service in the fall. It was something to appreciate, an occasion to be marked.

We were separate, but now we can belong again and share the love.

I have loved the podcast episode with Priya Parker on the art of gathering and making our conversations meaningful. I encourage you to listen/re-listen to that episode as part of your leap back into society.

Our podcast episode this week is with Suneel Gupta. He wrote a wonderful book titled BackableEvery time we jump to a new S Curve, we are persuading someone to jump too. My jump, my disruption, means that someone else is jumping or being disrupted with me. A new job? Someone is hiring, and we’ll soon be working together. A new friendship? That too requires someone who wants to take an emotional risk, however small, to be friends with us. These partners in disruption are our backers, and we are theirs. Join me for a conversation on that subject, and the book Backable, with Suneel Gupta.

My best,
Whitney

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