• May 2015
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Ethical Edge Letters on Integrity  

Click here for Russell Williams' bio

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Thoroughbreds run in the distance
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
You plus me equals we
Find your shining moments

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” — M. Scott Peck

Our finest moments? Well, they are not to be confused with one shining moment at the end of March Madness! But, as we find our attentions focused on conversations with business friends, be ready to encounter the moments with another when you hear the search for truer answers.

But, what about truer answers for professionals confronting the continuing unsettled economy? Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, appeared on "60 Minutes" to take his case to the public, bluntly informing his audience that although he is long-term bullish on the economic leadership and entrepreneurial vitality of the American economy in the next decade, high unemployment, troubling deficits and financial uncertainty for small businesses will be on our national plate for the next four to five years. No politician – and Bernanke is not one – would ever take to the airways for such frank commentary on troubling economic times.

Agreeing or disagreeing with the Federal Reserve chairman’s assessment is not the point of my remarks. What is? I have spent a good bit of time in 2010 listening to conversations by professionals in small business, education and nonprofits. I’ve heard two distinct conversations: The Rapids and The Currents. The Rapids focuses on the unknown. Typically, this conversation is characterized as: Keep your oar in the water to maneuver through the next scary moment. I met such a moment in April when I learned that a heretofore trusted investment adviser for Passkeys Foundation had committed fraud with foundation assets. For three months I felt myself nearly capsizing in The Rapids as I tried to keep my oar in the water.

The Currents conversation is distinctly different. It is the conversation of reasoned hopefulness. It is the marshalling of the inner core of personal beliefs, wed to intention and action, that point us in the direction of steady movement. I am not describing The Currents conversation as bravado in the face of disaster. Rather it is the silent, quiet certainty that says: Moving forward is what I do; it is what is true. It is always the fresh answer. So, too, I have experienced The Currents conversation in the last three months as The Rapids of the foundation’s financial losses have given way to the Currents of my recovering the tangible assets of renewed ideas, clarity and commitment.

Mission Integrity Action

The Currents? They are our shining moments. They take us from trouble into truth. Be attentive to The Rapids and Currents conversations with co-workers, business associates and clients. If you hear someone in The Rapids, simply listen. If you hear someone in The Currents, thank them for their encouraging clarity.

Russell Williams,
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge