Happy New Year!
Read, reply, delete, sort. Read, forward, delete, sort. Spam-delete. Read--finger hoovers over delete--read again--delete.
Go to trash--restore.
Just before the break I was frantically trying to get organized, replying, filing, and deleting hundreds of emails to start the New Year fresh. The restored email in question was an “email collective…” otherwise known as an email chain. I’m not somebody who fears Samara or other superstitious threats that might befall me if I fail to forward an email to 20 friends. But this one was a little different.
The collective was sent to women leaders as a one-time uplifting experience. The request was to select a poem, quote, or thought to the first person on the list. As these things go, you then list your name and forward it to 20 others with the same directions. When everyone has followed through, you should receive 20 responses to the prompt.
I’m not sure why I did it….but instead of letting the email stay in the trash folder, I sent a quote to 20 colleagues that’s been on my mind lately: “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” -Rosa Parks
Over the next few weeks, I received memes, a poem, a Bible verse, good advice, a parable, numerous quotes and meditations, and even a short autobiography. Each in itself brought about reflection, thought, and appreciation, and each seemed to come at the perfect time to help me regroup and find new perspective.
Beyond the responses that were sent, many of the leaders included their own stories and insights in their reply. One said: “Prior to my life in academics, I worked in the social service field. I found this poem and it provided a wonderful, non-threatening way to use storytelling to encourage positive change. I still also use it with students when exploring positive growth mindsets. Beyond the purpose of using this poem to help others, It has also inspired me to changes in my life.”
Another shared: “I was sent this email thread and this weekend found myself in a cycling class where the instructor said, “Remember things get hard, they will get better.” That basic statement seemed to be great timing in this hectic time of the year. For me, the most simplistic reminders always help me find perspective. I hope what I shared can serve as a reminder to you when things get overwhelming and the light at the end of the tunnel doesn't seem the brightest! The most profound statement I've heard regarding change was something that has stuck with me. "There is always resistance when you're on the brink of change."
How brilliant and vulnerable and open we can be--even (especially?) to strangers! I’m so glad I took the time to participate in this little exercise. YET. How many times have I metaphorically hit “delete” instead of leaning into an experience or hearing others’ shared experiences? It shouldn’t take an email chain to share appreciation, for us to open up, reach out, and lift each other up.
A new year is a wonderful time to think about those in our past, reflect upon lessons learned, and to share advice and appreciation to those in our circles. It’s a good time to reframe and reassess. And it’s the best time to make the changes we need and plan for the best year ever. What’s holding you back?
Happy New Year, Colleagues!
Until next time,
NASPA IV-W Regional Director
Updates and reminders for the days and months ahead:
- NASPA volunteer leadership positions are open! Many of the IV-W leadership terms end in March 2020. Now is your time to apply! Look on volunteer central for regional board member opportunities such as:
○ Knowledge Community Coordinators
○ NUFP undergraduate (a board position for an undergrad!)
○ Graduate position (perfect for grad students!)
○ Several cabinet positions
- We want to see you in Austin! NASPA Annual National Conference:
○ March 28 - April 1, 2020, Austin, TX
- Region IV-W meetings at NASPA are open to ALL members of the Region! Please join us at:
○ Advisory Board Meeting – Sunday, March 29, 1-4pm in the JW
○ Business Meeting – Monday, March 30, 5-7pm in the Hilton
○ NASPA Foundation Awards Ceremony -- Monday, March 30, 6:30-8:30pm, Austin Convention Center Ballroom D
○ IV-W Reception – Monday, March 30, 9-11pm, location TBA