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My Stand


I’ve been thinking a lot about values. What are they? Why do they matter? What are mine? Do values shift and change over time? Or are they intrinsic to who we are and how we move around this wild world?


And then I listened to Monica Sharma talk about her model of Radical Transformational Leadership, as a way of driving change. She is leading me and 122 other Change Makers through a three month program called, Marin Leadership for Equity and Opportunity (LEO) and let’s just say, week 1 blew my mind.


Monica opened the first day with an invitation to create our “stand” -- a statement like this:


My name is _______ and I stand for ________ and __________ for myself and all others.


She asked us to conjure the qualities of someone we admire and write those down. Then, she introduced the idea of “universal values”; those we know in our heart are universal to all sentient beings, worldwide. Values like equity, compassion, freedom, courage. Where did those show up in the list of qualities we’d written down? Which resonated most strongly for us?


Which are the ones we stand for?


What a powerful exercise! To be held in a shared space like that, with other people like me who also want to shift systems and policies in my community for equity and inclusion. High school students, folks in local law enforcement, teachers, neighbors, community business owners, those already deep into programs they’ve created for their NGOs. All of us, on this one call together. Being asked to create a statement for what we stand for.


Once we’d created our statements, Monica went around the entire Zoom call and asked each of us to read our statement aloud. She’d stop and refine some she found too general or not universal enough to include everyone everywhere, always. Then she’d declare, “Good! How did that feel?” and move on to the next person.


A group of 123 people declaring what they cared most deeply about. I was floored. And filled with gratitude at the same time -- for the heart connection and for yet another opportunity to crawl into myself and explore my own purpose.


Values are the bedrock of who we are and why we’re here doing...whatever it is we do. They support the missions of our businesses, the profiles of people we choose to love and grow with, the causes we support and the connection with those we’re in service of.


My name is Shannon and I stand for joy, equity and freedom for myself and all others.


What about you? What’s your “stand”?