A Disruptive Mindset
I am an Executive Assistant by trade and have been for roughly 17 years. And what that fancy sounding title simply means is……that I am the woman in the background, who assists the executive out front, be positively memorable. I handle the logistics and the most minor of details, fight fires, think 7 steps ahead of the senior leader and secure answers to a myriad of questions that he, she, their team, their peers, their manager or Board of Directors may ask. Simple right?
I have served a number of executives from a variety of industries – from small boutique firms to huge multi-national and global powerhouses – non-profit, for profit – male and female, young to more seasoned. You name it, I have served in this capacity in a gamut of scenarios.
One particular executive
stands out though
He is a highly intelligent gentleman, graduated top of his class at Harvard, a self described scatter brain but would drop a $50 word on you in a heartbeat. He is an amalgamation of brains, personality and great wit.
One of the more intriguing areas that he was working on during my tenure was the topic of Disruptive Computing. This concept was essentially introducing new ideas in the computing arena that disrupted the standard way of thinking. For example, one of the technologies that they were exploring would greatly streamline the behind-the-scenes process of fast food restaurants. Technology was being introduced to the market that would result in faster processing & quicker food delivery times while the wait time for the customer was noticeably decreased.
Because this shift in thinking about how matters in the computing arena would be handled in the future was so different from the norm, it was considered disruptive (innovative, ground breaking). It shook up the rudimentary, regimented, mind numbing way of thinking and behaving. They discovered that a shift in the way that industry thought about food delivery resulted in increased profit, increased efficiency and increased customer satisfaction.
Imagine how our lives would be
revolutionized if we disrupted
the way that we think?
One such pioneer and champion of disruptive thinking passed away on Saturday at the age of 84. His government name is Richard Claxton Gregory. We knew him simply as Dick Gregory.
Before Kevin Hart, before Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor…there was Dick Gregory. While the genesis of his career began as a comedian, he shifted into a life that encompassed a variety of hats – author, health advocate, actor, avid reader, husband, father and most notably to the public eye, civil rights activist and disruptive thinker.
As you may have noticed, I didn’t upload a blog post last week. Frankly, I had so much to say…that I just didn’t know what to say (have you ever had that experience?). The weekend events that took place in Charlottesville, VA were disturbing, to say the least. The post-event conversations, soundbites and rhetoric on one hand and the deafening silence on the other hand were even more disturbing and disappointing. I found myself in a place of continual contemplation about just what to say. So at the risk of blurting out something that I’d have to go back and correct or edit OR dribble out some nonsensical, out-of-touch, unrelatable hot mess of a post, I decided to remain quiet. And after some time in quiet, this is what I realized…
…I AM A PECULIAR
Ladies, this blog was birthed out of a humble desire to allow my voice to be used by God to impact, influence and inspire people. I never want to post a blog just to be posting. And I want my authentic voice to be what I share with each weekly offering. I believe that’s the easiest way to fulfill the assignment we have been designed to create.
In my quiet time, I was reminded that I AM A PECULIAR DISRUPTOR. I challenge the status quo (think about the entrance of Uber into the ground transportation arena), I march to the beat of my own drum, I don’t go along to get along. I am respectful, I am kind and thoughtful, I place honor at the feet of those that have earned it and in the positions that call for it. I am strong, I am humble, I am an independent thinker, I am a daughter of the King, a friend of God and a lover of people…and I am Peculiar. And this site is about celebrating peculiarity. That, my friends, is the essence of disruptive thinking.
One of my favorite encounters in the bible is about a woman I’d describe as a PECULIAR DISRUPTOR. Although she is not known by name, we are introduced to her as the Shunammite woman. You can find the entire account in the book of 2 Kings, chapter 4. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Kings+4%3A8-37&version=MSG
The gist is this: there was a great and holy man by the name of Elisha who was traveling to and fro, spreading the good news about God. In his travels, he met a woman from the village Shunem and her husband – who designed a room for him to stay in, eat and get some rest as he traveled about the land. He was appreciative of their kindness, the Shunammite woman in particular, so as a gift for their kindness he shared great news with her that she would bear her first son the following year. And she did.
Some years later, that child became ill and died in the arms of that very Shunammite woman. And what was the response of our PECULIAR DISRUPTOR?
“All is well”
To her husband she asked that he fire up the donkey, contact one of the servants and they rolled out! (in route to the holy man, Elisha). Upon arrival to Elisha, Gehazi – Elisha’s servant – asked her what was wrong. To which our Peculiar Disruptor replied again…
“All is well”
Once she reached the holy man Elisha face to face, she declared in anguish, “Did I ask YOU for a son? No! YOU told me that I would have a child that same time the following year. I asked you not to play games with my heart and speak of fantasies if they aren’t going to come to fruition. But your word came to pass. However, my son became ill and has now died. So YOU need to come and fix this situation” (that’s the Kelli Michelle modern-day version of what she said).
Elisha and his servant Gehazi returned quickly to the Shunammite woman’s home and made their way to the room where she had placed her son’s body – the same room they designed for the holy man. Elisha entered the room locked the door and laid on the young man’s body. He covered his eyes with his eyes, mouth with his mouth…he covered his entire body. And the young man then sneezed seven times and opened his eyes. From death to life!
All was indeed well!
Now imagine if she accepted the situation in front of her – as is?
- Imagine if she went along to get along?
- Imagine if she didn’t challenge the status quo?
- Imagine if she was NOT a PECULIAR DISRUPTOR?
How different would the outcome have been?
Remember the words of the aforementioned pioneer and champion of disruptive thinking…“If you don’t program your mind, it will be programmed for you” – Dick Gregory
So my challenge to you today Peculiar Chix is this…BECOME A PECULIAR DISRUPTOR. Do you accept this challenge? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Send me your stories of becoming a Peculiar Disruptor to firstname.lastname@example.org.
photo credit: eptica.com, LinkedIn.com