The Noticers

 “…[T]he reality is that we’re all either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or headed for a crisis. It’s just part of being {human} on this planet,” writes Andy Andrews. “Knowing that, what’s the best way to be prepared for a crisis? To possess the perspective that is necessary to navigate your way through it.

 “Knowing that,” he continues, “what’s the best way to be prepared for a crisis? To possess the perspective necessary to navigate through it. And how do you do that? You become a Noticer,” which Andrews describes as “someone able to see things about life that most people miss: the seemingly little things painting the big picture that ultimately becomes your life.”

The power of small things. The literature of gratitude abounds these days, but in acute crisis, there’s little room for it, mired as we are in the overwhelming predicament of what philosophers call “aftermath.”

But in noticing the pain of the present, it’s possible to create a bearable moment in whatever way we can. Spoken words are optional. These moments of respite create a bridge that supports us in shared vulnerability, and our eventual recovery, from traumatic experience.

I attended the packed memorial for Zach Baggins, organized and offered the day he died by students who call themselves “Just Unity Sistas.”  I didn’t know Zach, but I Students+gather+during+a+candlelight+vigil+to+remember+the+passing+of+a+student+on+Wednesday%2C+March+14%2C+2018+in+Chico.+%0A%28Jason+Halley%2FUniversity+Photographer%2FChico+State%29wished I had; two of my sons have careers as art directors in the field in which Zach majored. I felt a need to witness and support. As the “Unity Sistas” had already realized, there was much to be done that very day. And they did it all, despite the rain, organizing a last-minute shuffle to Acker Gymnasium. Hundreds were present, including adminstrators, counselors, teachers, staff, students. Gayle Hutchinson was there. So many witnesses. 

In our world we create spaces for meetings and awards and eloquence, but there are too few created simply for the expression of raw grief. I was glad to have found one. I’ll never think of Zach, and the tragedy, without remembering the beautiful response of those who “noticed.”

On a rather prescient note under the circumstances, a student of one of my courses recently submitted a reflection on the topic of values expression in life, at work, and in the community. Reporting on the  bystander effect, the student had reflected,

“How can this (apathy) be? …now I am making a conscious effort to speak up and help others when it’s apparent they need it…if I were in need, I would want someone to stand up for me, not just watch chaos unfold.” 

Sad as the past weeks have been—and there have been severalpersonal losses affecting those around us— “see{ing} things about life that most people miss: the seemingly little things painting the big picture that ultimately becomes your life,” does offer us all a little something.  In the end, life is distilled to rather basic elements, requiring no genius, only awareness. 

A Reading List for the Bereaved

Relating for a Lifetime with Loved Ones

 

 We Have Resources

Recently, I sent an email around that offered a resource to faculty and students. I thought I’d show a bit of what Brian Johnson, CEO of the social enterprise, Optimize.me, is all about in one of his early ten-minute videos. This is the one that first caught my eye, for I have purchased and distributed the old classic book he discusses more than one hundred times in my life. In the eight years since, Brian’s created a meaningful and sophisticated product, and a worthwhile enterprise. Students enjoy him, too.

 

And Remember This: Now you can take Yale’s most popular course on Happiness FREE on Coursera! Yes, it is Yale's Most Popular Course.

 Worth Noting: A Few Remarkable Faculty Achievements and Offerings That I’m Aware Of

Colleen Robb is known for her generous support of many ventures, including the Collegiate Wind Competition, coming up in May in Chicago. Have you seen the short video on this incredible event?  This represents, not only an investment in the engineering and entreprenuerial creativity of students, but in all of us. Green energy solutions, and Colleen and her students, rule this space! Good luck this year to our Chico State Team.

Jeff Decker, we appreciate the tremendous value you and your students continue to offer through the VITA program. Some of us may remember the days when we, ourselves, faced the prospect of dealing with tax returns before we knew what to do (maybe some of us are still confused, for other reasons.) We look forward to this year’s post-tax-season tally of dollars saved within our community, flow back into our local economy, providing ample returns on the investment of Jeff’s team’s time and talent. We ALL benefit.

Peter Straus, who, in addition to his constant efforts on behalf of growth enterprises (including us/students,) has friends in high places. Best of all – he invites them in, so we can connect, too. Last week many of us were able to meet Pulitzer Prize winning author George Anders, who came to Chico to visit, share fresh statistics from the perspective of his role as Lead Researcher at LinkedIn – and speak to hundreds about his most recent book You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education.  Aimed at students, the discussion was collaborative, vast and deep, and represented the interests of all faculty teaching in the COB as well. It can perhaps best be distilled this way: “…curiosity, creativity, and empathy aren’t unruly traits that need to be reigned in. You can be yourself as an English major, and thrive in sales. You can segue from anthropology into the booming new field of user research; from classics into management consulting, and from philosophy into high-stakes investing. You can bring a humanist’s grace to our rapidly evolving high-tech future.” Thanks to Peter for bringing his friend in to offer us an unforgettable opportunity to learn a thing or two or more.

Christine Witt provides the professor-power for the Next-Gen Wildcats event on May 4, 2018.  This vital program sets the stage for Wildcats in waiting to hit the ground running in the fast-paced world of Business Information Systems. (Global news on that front hits our inbox daily these days.) At this event, high school students make hypothetical decisions as if running their own company.  In teams, they must think critically, and make quick pricing, marketing, and procurement judgements, relying on input provided by Chico State SAP Club Mentors helping each team strategize. Awesome times are had by all, and I plan to pop in to learn what I can myself.

David Agoff continues to offer novel resources to empower The Management Club. “The TMC is a COB club that focuses on developing members practical, personal and professional skills to better prepare them for their career,” says David.  Recent meetings have included Ken Nass from the Career Center presenting, and coaching students, in developing a valuable LinkedIn profile.  In another session, Jenn Duggan, of Business Advising, shown right with TMC students, led a discussion on the StrengthsFinder assessment tool. Students took the assessment, and Jenn will return to a future meeting to discuss results. As David notes, “Employees can recognize when to exercise their strengths to accomplish work,  create value, and build important relationships at work.  Employees can develop their own personal career track and prepare themselves for jobs that maximize their strengths.”

Working on strengths to get us over hurdles is where this blog issue started and seems a good place to end it.  Please keep your thoughts, news, and advice coming, and share generally as much as possible.  I try to include as much as I can (and recall) when I sit down to write, but whether or not you find it here - it all matters.

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