Agents of Ourselves: Part Twelve

For the second week in a row, our writing workshop, Finding Your Voice, didn’t meet last week. The week before, we weren’t able to meet because I was under the proverbial weather. Last week we didn’t meet because two of our members had scheduling conflicts. This second hiatus gave me time to think. (“Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!”)

In particular, it gave me time to think about two things, one being cause, the other being effect:

  1. I pondered what we’d accomplished in the workshop so, far. My hope was that, by enabling us to find our voices through writing, we’d discover greater senses of our own agency.

2. I pondered the extent to which we’ve succeeded at #1.

I know we succeeded at #1 — smashingly — because no one in the workshop led with ego. There were no guards up. There was no defensiveness. There were no ideologies. There was no judgment. There were no triggers. There was no need for safe spaces. We’d brought our own because we’d brought already strong senses of our own agency.

Everyone in the workshop came in with their hearts open. We came in completely vulnerable. We were willing to listen and to share. We were willing to lead with our humanity and to offer comfort and reassurance. I truly don’t believe any of us were consciously aware of this, but we all came in determined to grow and to let the others help us to grow.

I firmly believe there are no accidents. It’s not an accident that Finding Your Voice didn’t meet last week. It didn’t meet last week because I was supposed to have the opportunity its postponement afforded me to think and to write this post. And it’s no accident that I was afforded those opportunities as we approach the Salon 360˚ session taking place later this week.

We intend to check egos at the door, to let guards down and to get hopes up, to leave ideologies and judgment behind so there will be no triggers, so there will be no need for safe spaces because we will have created our own safe space out of trust, respect, and regard for each other. We intend to come in with our hearts and ears open — vulnerable, comfortable, reassured, and reassuring. In doing all those things, together, we will gain greater appreciation for the power we possess as sovereign individuals, for the power of our own agency.

We’ll never solve the problems of the world by choosing to solve the problems of the world. We’ll solve the problems of the world by solving ourselves. The rest will take care of itself.

I hope you’ll join me in proving all of this to be true on Thursday for Salon 360˚.


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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