Our world, according to Barnett Pearce (2007) is made of episodes. A conversation is an episode, sending an email is an episode and kissing my children goodbye in the morning is an episode. Each episode has a beginning and end. Kissing my children is more than the act of kissing. The smiles we exchange, the embrace and the murmurs accompanying the kiss expand the possibility of a day of potential joy for my children and me.
When does the episode of kissing my children goodbye begin? It begins with how I awake in the morning, my first thoughts as I open my eyes to see the sun shining through the blinds. It begins with hearing children stirring in their rooms, hearing voices chattering and laughing.
Saying goodbye to the children is a favorite time of the morning. The few moments with each child as they wait for the bus is precious, watching them play in the yard, their backpacks holding their place in line. The yard filled with laughter and legs flying overhead in cartwheels, playing red light green light or practicing a TaeKwonDo pattern. The entire experience of the morning organized for a loving send off on the bus with the culminating goodbye kiss followed by a wave as the bus lumbers away is the perfect moment, something yearned for since I was a young child.
Saying goodbye is a single episode in the flow of the morning experience full of multiple episodes. How I act in each episode impacts the next episode, and the next. My mood, how I live in my body and what I care about shapes my language and action. Choosing to act in a certain mood is a leadership choice. I can choose to be grumpy because I stayed up late with homework, or I can choose a different quality and bring love and care forward. Each choice creates the same outcome yet with distinctive qualities.
Being a leader requires knowing that outcomes are influenced by choice, particularly choice of mood, sensation and emotion. How we are in relationship at home is the way we are in relationship at work. We each have one body, we each have choice, we are accountable for creating episodes, series of episodes, with distinctive qualities leaving each person in our life more fully human; our children, partners, coworkers, neighbors and parents. How are you making choices about the episodes in your life?