Be A Raven

I have a special request this week. If this post connects with you, spread some light by reacting to it on LinkedIn. How many💡reactions can we generate?

This week, I began another leg of my learning journey with BEabove Leadership. Our class is called the Raven pod. Although their choice of the raven was arbitrary, it held some magic for me.

My teachers, Ann Betz and Ursula Pottinga, CPCC, PCC, MNTC, shared what the raven symbolizes in some indigenous cultures. Of note is that ravens are known to bring light into the darkness. In one myth, a raven steals the sun to bring it to the people.

I found beautiful synchronicity in this moment, as I had already drafted the following post. So today, I invite you to be a force for light by being a raven.

A Meditation

I have begun working with my meditation teacher, Jonathan Gustin, to deepen my understanding of my purpose. I have started to meditate regularly on the question, “How does evolution want to use me in this lifetime?”

As I meditated upon this today, I decided to have a conversation with Universe (my replacement for evolution). Universe often takes the form of a fairy. As I asked her this question, she carried me up high to look down on myself from above and to watch as I walked my path. I carried a light. As I walked my path, I encountered others – coachees, friends, and strangers.

Each time I connected with someone, a light appeared. I watched myself walking the path, leaving a trail of people behind me with their own lights. While I continued on my path, I saw these individuals walk their own paths, connecting with more people and lighting a light in each of them. Gradually, the lights were snaking out in every direction.

I commented to Universe that this was wonderful yet still felt inefficient.

“Ever the Maximizer you are!” she said with a smile. Then, with a wave of her hand, light showered down from us, illuminating a broad swathe of individuals all at once.

Universe and me spreading light. Image generated by DALL-E

Every Light Matters

I had the honor of meeting Malala Yousafzai once. She is a phenomenal force for light. A few weeks ago, I shared how a friend had described Taylor Swift as a force for light. The friend in question is also a tremendous force for light. People like this can be an incredible inspiration.

A funny thing can happen when I reflect upon these powerful light-bringers. Their light shines so brightly that it’s easy to get caught up in how wide the gap is between the brightness of their light and the brightness of my own. I think this is a by-product of the culture I’ve grown up in—a culture of comparison and “never good enough” attitudes. Paradoxically, their brilliance can, at times, discourage me from taking action. Perhaps I need sunglasses.

Each one of us has that same light within us. Each of us has an innate gift we can tap into to spread that light to others. Malala’s light may shine at 1,000,000 lumens, and mine may only be 1 lumen, but if each of us shines with at least 1 lumen, we’ll generate 8 billion lumens of light.

Who are the ravens that inspire you to be a light-bringer? How can you spread the light?

Simple Acts of Kindness

I suggest starting simple. Rather than looking to some awe-inspiring leader and telling yourself you’ll never shine as brightly as they do, look for a straightforward practice that will enable you to put a little more light into the world.

On my morning run, whenever I pass someone, I smile brightly, wave, and wish them good morning. 80% of the time, I get a smile in return. I’m giving them light, and they are giving light back to me. It’s especially delightful when I see a troubled face shift to joy.

I spoke with a friend last week who still had an “emotional hangover” from the events of the prior night. I asked her, “How can I put some light into your life?” It felt right in the moment and shifted our conversation in a way that gave her the space to process the evening and left us both feeling lighter at the end.

  • Look to an overwhelmed colleague and reach out to offer support.
  • Leave a note with a smiley face on your partner’s lunch.
  • Tell someone to have a great day with every fiber of your being.

There are many ways you can add light to someone’s life. What is one small thing you could do today?

Spreading Joy

If you want to boost your brightness, here’s a practice I’ve found particularly meaningful.

I write in a gratitude journal daily. Each morning, I write at least three things I’m grateful for. This simple yet powerful practice can improve one’s outlook on life, and I highly recommend it.

After months of this practice, I realized how often I expressed gratitude for the impact of others in my life. Recognizing my gratitude felt good internally, but why not express that gratitude externally?

In April of last year, I began a practice I called Spreading Joy. Each morning, as I completed my run, I thought of someone I was grateful for and recorded a short video expressing my gratitude. I then texted that video to them.

Throughout the summer, I sent sixty messages of joy.* Recording and sending these messages filled me with joy, and I was amazed at the response. I often got a reply saying, “You have no idea how much I needed to hear this today.” Perhaps the Universe had a hand in selecting who needed joy that day.

Who is someone special that has made an impact on your life?

Why not take a moment to reach out to them and spread some joy?

Putting It Into Practice

Be a raven. Select a straightforward practice to adopt to spread more light to those around you:

  • Smile when you pass a stranger.
  • Ask a friend how you can bring more light into their life.
  • Commit to a small act of kindness every day.
  • Adopt your own Spreading Joy practice.

As I prepared to write this post, my good friend Giada Centofanti, CNTC, ACC published a post of her own on Exploring Liberation. I was struck by the similarities in our thinking and the timeliness of her post. If you enjoyed this one, you’ll probably enjoy hers as well.

I am an executive coach and life coach with software executive roots in higher education and EdTech. I coach because I love to help others accelerate their growth as leaders and humans. I frequently write about #management, #leadership, #coaching, #neuroscience, and #arete.

If you would like to learn more, schedule time with me.

Want to comment? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.

* To no one’s surprise, I kept a log of all my Spreading Joy messages—61 videos in total—from April 15th through September 1st, 2023.

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