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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

things you are not...

(Inspired by the interns of the 2013 Kaiser Permanente Summer Youth Employment Program in Modesto, CA)
You are not your name.  You are not your past.

You are not constrained by your emotions, your experiences, your culture, your thoughts, your body, or your mind.  Your “permanent record” isn’t permanent; and your “life sentence” doesn’t have to be.

You are not your personality, your persona, or your act.  Who you are being at any given moment doesn’t have to define who you are; it’s just one possible way of being.  And when you recognize that the way you are being right now – however that way of being is – is not only one possible way of being, but a way of being that is separate and distinct from what’s happening (and how the world is occurring for you in that moment), you give yourself the power to choose to be another way.  If you have that power, if you have that choice, why not choose something that enlivens you, that gives you strength, that creates a future based on the unwritten future – not the “almost certain” future given to you by your past?

You are not your job, your department, your successes, your failures, your checkbook balance, or your wages.  You are not condemned to a life given to you by your ancestors, their sins, or those thoughtless, stupid things you once did as a kid.  You are not what your brother did to you when you were young, or what you discovered about your parents, or the people you have called “friends” who turned out to be anything but.  You are not your mistakes.

You are also not your go-to winning strategy of being funny, or smart, or distant, or assertive, or perfect, or any of those other ways you’ve compensated for feeling inadequate or “less than” at some earlier time in your life.  Those, too, are but ONE possible way of being, and if it’s “automatic” – if it’s running you instead of you running it – it’s not authentically who you are either.

Who you are – should you choose to be so bold – is who you say you are.  Your future lives in your word – the language you speak into the world, accompanied by the powerful, committed actions you then take to turn your word into reality

Be confident, kind, determined, capable, inspiring, outrageous, compassionate, creative, beautiful, spontaneous, loving, connected, hopeful, happy, peaceful, courageous, charismatic, and unstoppable.  You can choose to be any and all of these, and more.

So remember that, especially during those dark times what will inevitably come, when you allow yourself to listen to that little voice in your head that tells you otherwise.  Remember that even pity, self-doubt, anger, and disappointment are possible ways of being, but please know, they’re just another few items on that long list of “Things You Are Not.”

And finally, remember that Love, true love, is accepting yourself and each other exactly how you/they are, and exactly how you/they are not.  Got it?

So, I ask you, who are you being?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

SYEP in the 209

When I started my new position at Kaiser Permanente as Senior Unit-Based Team consultant a year ago, I stood (both literally and figuratively) before a large group of labor and management team leaders and promised them that my performance in my new role would be a tribute to my father, James A. Gamble, Jr., for all that he taught me and so that his legacy would live on through the lives I touched...

Yesterday, as we ended an 8-week student intern project known as the Summer Youth Employment Program, I found myself experiencing the proudest moment of my professional career:  20 extraordinary young people that I had the privilege of mentoring completed their UBT project work and presented it for KP leadership... and during the program, they had also completed many of the incidents and issues from their past, ending -- for many -- years of drama and regret that could have kept a stranglehold on the possibilities of their futures...

I watched as some of Dad's "Jim-isms" became "Jeff-isms," like:  "Don't carry a lazy man's load;" "How do you eat a mountain?  (One bite at a time);" and "If you ever need anything, just look stupid.  Someone will come help you." 

Along the way, I added a few of my own:
  • A good idea will die of loneliness if you don't share it.
  • Give up asking, "What's wrong?"  It makes it too easy to blame someone else.  Instead, ask "What's missing?"
  • "Hope" is not a business strategy.  Kill hope.
  • If there's no action, it's just a wish.
  • Always give 100%... unless you're giving blood.
  • Sometimes you have to burn a bridge so that the crazy people don't follow you.
  • Don't sweat the petty things.  Pet the sweaty things.  :)
I watched as 20 new young professionals began to make their mark on the world, so full of promise and possibility, and I contemplated all the lives they would influence in the days and years ahead.  And like that old shampoo commercial ("... and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on...") -- or most recently, that cell phone add ("... infinity TIMES infinity..."), mind blown.

I never really understood the church-taught concept that God was everywhere, not until Dad died.  But now I get it, and I see both Him and his argumentative angel known as James Arthur Gamble, Jr., everywhere I look.

Thank you, Taylor, Tayla, Alfredo, Michaela, Juliza, Sarah L., Ian, Giovanna, Cambria, Cassie, Johanna, Lizzy Sarah, Shanan, Gurprince, Roman, Sara, Marissa, Esteban, Nate, and Sothary -- the SYEP of 2013.  Your blessings have only just begun, and I am humbled to have played a small part in your new, incredible futures. 

BE extraordinary.  And know that I love you.