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Awareness – Grief – Momentum – Anxiety – Hope – Anticipation – Love – Anger – Movement – Balance – Dynamic Energy – Music – Dance – Pride

For those of you that follow me, you know that I can be a bit preachy when it comes to the ideas that I put out in my blogs, and some that may be reading me for the first time may wonder what this all could have to do with consulting.  But for me there is very little compartmentalization in life, and everything is connected in ways that I can’t even consciously think about, much less write about.  For when it comes to how I show up in the world each day, the only thing that drives me is knowing who I am, what I am and being my unique self.

Today is the last day of Pride Month as celebrated around the world.  I had the unique opportunity to be on two continents this month, Europe and North America.  Paris and San Francisco to be specific.  Unique only because of the travel restrictions that still remain in place between France and the US, limiting what would otherwise be a sizeable influx of revelers to both countries this time of year.  Last Saturday I walked the streets of the Marais, navigating the throngs of people young and old, straight and gay, trans and non-binary, black and white, and we literally stood shoulder to shoulder with smiles you could see with the mask mandate lifted and fears subsiding as we move out of darkness from the global pandemic into the light of a new day.

As I stand on the precipice of the next phase of my life and career, and ponder what it means to be alive on this day, in this time of juxtaposition of global isolation and interdependence, I’ve been thinking about how to move forward with grace, proud of who I am as a gay man, but more importantly proud of who we are as a species and what true collaboration can mean for the future of our communities, our families and the global village that we all share and must learn to appreciate and respect with more intention.

Earlier this year in seek of relief from the pain of an aging body, and the stress of running a sales organization in the midst of a global pandemic, huge shifts in client priorities and a looming war for the talent my team needs to perform for our clients, I took up what my coach in Paris calls Danse Classique – what we call Ballet here in the United States.  It was one of those things that just happened, as I was in the right place at the right time.  Taking a weight training session with my coach Charline, we got to talking about our lives growing up and I learned that she was a student of the craft from an early age.  With my creaky shoulders and locked up hips, I told her I had always wanted to take a ballet class, ever since I had a great stretch (no pun intended) of Bikram yoga in my 30’s and 40’s.  Now turning 57 this year, it seemed almost impossible to me that I could still get my body to move in any manner of form that could be called ballet.  But alas, it happened.  I certainly don’t have any intention of performing, but just moving forward and visualizing a new reality for my body and my relationship to it has given me new perspectives on almost everything and opened my eyes and heart to living differently.  What a gift.

Movement is the only natural response for all living things.  It’s the very essence of life itself.  For without movement, there is no change.  Without change there is only death, decay and isolation. As we close out Pride month this year, I think about the opportunity we have in front of us to embrace each other, the natural world and ourselves as we are and to reach deeper into my heart to accept everyone and every thing for what and who it is, and to find a way to dance with grace towards a future of collaboration, love and the enchantment of a world focused on the symphony of a harmonious existence. 

Covid-19 gave us all an opportunity to reset, to rethink, to be aware of who we really are and to appreciate ourselves and our relationship to each other.  Pride gives us the opportunity to do the same thing each and every day, and visualize ourselves as instruments of movement and change.  Let us not waste this once in a lifetime opportunity to reflect and adapt to work together in a spirit of collaboration, not to save the world, but to save ourselves, our families, our souls.

Dance, sing, celebrate, motivate, love, smile, and laugh.  Find a way through those moments of grief and anger, to move forward and change what you can to make the world a better place and to make yourself a more conscious and aware version of yourself, but never change who you are, because there’s only one of you, and you are perfect in your heart.

If nothing changes, nothing changes – Anonymous

John Henning is the Chief Client Officer at Granite Solutions Groupe. He has over 35 years of leadership experience in the financial services and technology industries, and currently oversees all client account management, professional services, marketing strategy, business development and sales operations for GSG.