The Family You Have, The Family You Choose

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:  whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” — Jane Howard

There are all sorts of families – the ones that we are magically born into or become a part of; the families that we build one person, pet, ritual at a time; the families of friends that may morph and change with the understanding that these connections are in many ways as binding as any others.  Within the context of this forum in which we meet and discover virtual understandings and ‘aha’ moments, we are defining a new family.  I think of many people in this community who I feel I know and love as members of my family too.  People who are always there to support me when I write through my neurotic moments, laugh along with my silliness, commiserate when life becomes complicated or evocative of times that are painful to recount.  Friends who I fret about and delight in, inspire me with their incredible talents, and celebrate with head-shaking wonder at the magic that they create regularly.

So it is within this uniquely bound family that I find myself accepting the Family Of Bloggers Award.  I love the implication of this honor, for it suggests that we are in many ways a family of choice.  We are together because we choose to be, minus some of the drama and trauma that come from nuclear units that are perhaps more complicated, defined by far different memories of shared history.

David Kanigan (DavidKanigan.com)  who writes the blog titled Lead.Learn.Live and Laurie Barkman who authors PassionatePerformance.wordpress.com both nominated me for this award this week.  David has a following that is remarkable in both its size, intelligence and loyalty.  When I started following his blog, I hoped to come close to the quality, provocative writing and thoughtful commentary that his writing reflects all the time.  I still don’t know how he does it, finding references, writers, images, videos that invite and engross the reader.  He is incredibly self-effacing, and he is shaking his head as he reads this not able to admit that all of this is true.  But I would bet an awful lot of money (if I had it, which I don’t, so I feel good about placing the bet) that there are many, many, many who agree with my summary.  I have followed him from the first day I came to WordPress and I will follow him should the time come when I no longer post..

My line of work and Laurie’s closely parallel each other.  The primary and striking difference is that she manages to imbue the topic of performance management and leadership with practical wisdom and a passion that is palpable.  As some of you may know from earlier posts, I have a love-hate relationship with this topic – perhaps because I’ve been training and speaking about these topics for so long.  But I return to Laurie time after time because her advice is wise and practical, her commitment sincere and passionate and the results always on point and well-considered.  As much as I believe that there is nothing new under the sun because of a general reluctance to deal with the discomfort of change, Laurie gently encourages me to reconsider and remember what I loved about training and development.

So, I thank them both and embrace the metaphor that I am part of their family, as they are part of mine.  I’d do the Sally Fields thing, but David would tease me – even though in my head I’m thinking “you like me, you really like me!”  As inspirational blogs go, I have many to nominate and feel certain that I would inadvertently miss some.  Which is why I am going to nominate all the people who are kind enough to read my posts each day, comment each day and travel on the karma truck through all sorts of topography.  Thank you for being part of my virtual family.  Thank you for embracing me from the moment I started seven months ago and for encouraging me to keep the gas tank full and ready to roll.