Being affected is a gift. It might not feel that way at the moment, but often we are changed because of the movement. When an artist sculpts and the product affects the viewer, there is energy transferred and renewed motivation given back to the artist. It’s the same for a song writer and an architect, a physician and a software developer. There is an audience to be affected. And while I might not have my soul stirred by good video game development, there are plenty of others who will.
Consider what moves you. Likely there will be more than one way. And lest you think this is about being touchy-feely, know that there are chemical and physiological realities to your bodies when you are affected in this manner. Those realities will influence your thinking and your actions. Tapping into the source of such affection is profitable.
Truth be told, I am a bit of a sap. I have yet to make it through a Folgers Holiday commercial without tearing up. The sentimentality of it all touches me. Even more so, the underdog and the marginalized seem to hit me hard. I root for the ones who are given little chance of success or of fitting in. I am broken for those who are devastated by their environment or victimized by falsehoods and hate. I am moved by those who overcome the world’s forced box of expectation and perceived fairness.
In the early 1980’s, there was a movie called Who Will Love My Children? and it starred Ann-Margaret. Oh my. She played the mother of ten children, married to an alcoholic, who finds out she has terminal cancer and not much time left to live. Knowing her husband is ill-fit to care for the kids, she undertakes to find a home for each of her kids. I mean, just rip my heart out and stomp it on the ground.
A tearjerker, yes, but it moved me to consider what others are going through. That experience, plus countless others, drove a deep desire for action around communication and compassion. My world was not as self-centered today as it had been yesterday, and my hope is that tomorrow will be even less so. I tapped into the gift of being affected.
Understand, too, that being affected isn’t about crying either. While it may include that, it’s much more about a response. Anger at injustice, developing empathy, and moving against the grain of culture for what is right do not require tears. It requires action. When you are moved, you should move.
For the organizations we serve, the conveyor belt of productivity removes the humanity from our eyes. Look around and consider those around you. How amazingly beautiful is it when those who struggle show up and give their roles all they’ve got? Celebrate that truth. Be moved by the strength found all around you. And teach others how to do the same. There are people who don’t know what to do with the movement inside. Some have been taught to ignore and push down such emotion; teach them how to harness it. It’s wasted energy to suppress it. Use it!
Again, this is not purely an emotional exercise, but one of business cohesiveness. We are the same more than we think. When leadership – executives and management – tap into what moves them, they have eyes to see the micro-world around them as well as more clearly respond to a fluid workforce.
Our people are the composers, artists and developers each day we’re with them. If no one is affecting anyone else in the organization, then things are out of sync. Correct it. Don’t wait for the team to come together around tragedy only. I know that when someone at work suddenly dies, there can be a brief period of togetherness. People are saddened and lean on one another; it feels good. But if it’s only event driven, then it will pass quickly. Allow that emotion to drive something more lasting.
There are plenty of opportunities to be moved today. Once you know how you’re wired, help others do the same. Then tap into those truths and allow an influence on communication and upon process at your organization. This works at home as much as it does at your job, so enjoy the full 360 that this can be.
And if you decide to watch Ann-Margaret in that movie, please don’t invite me over. I will be ugly crying all over the place…