Can I interest you in gathering in 2020?

Some of you know that in lieu of a resolution I choose one word each year that guides me and gives me direction and inspiration. Some people call it setting an intention. In 2019, I chose the word “listen,” and as the year ended, my reflection was that it worked!

As we moved through strategy and planning for our new service model, listening was – without a doubt – the most influential element along the way. 

Did I choose a word in January 2019 that ended up being particularly important last year? Or did choosing the word in January drive me to fulfill its purpose? Either way, I felt good about it and the pressure was on to choose a word in January 2020 that I would be just as satisfied with in December 2020.

I’ve chosen “light.” (There are all sorts of interpretations of that, and I’d be happy to talk with you more about it over coffee sometime.) So far, I’ve been able to apply it several times, so I feel committed to it.

I must say, though, that another word has come up so many times for me that I’ve wondered if I picked the wrong one. Then, I heard that there’s a recommendation out there to choose 3 words. Well, no, I’m sticking with one.

But the other word that keeps popping up for me is “gathering” – getting together in person, rather than communicating via text, email or social media.

Last year, as we began to communicate with our stakeholders about our new service model, gathering together was the most powerful step.

During the last quarter of 2019, our affiliate foundation boards were able to meet their new teams in person, including the community leadership officer, program officer, donor engagement officer and development officer. It really brought clarity to the vision and life to the plan. Adding that element of human connection and warmth made a difference that electronics and technology alone cannot accomplish.

With the new year upon us, we are already making plans for more gatherings. We look forward to getting our affiliate foundation board members from all over the state together for learning and idea-sharing. We are exploring new formats for our convenings of nonprofit organizations. And we have a community conversation opportunity in the works.

So, I do remain committed to my chosen word for 2020. In fact, I met a trusted partner for coffee this morning, (maybe my word should have been “coffee”) and as it was our first time seeing each other this year, he said, “You look lighter!” Perhaps the word is working already.

But, can I interest any of you in “gathering” this year?