Building Resilience, Practicing Forgiveness: Exploring Appreciative Inquiry with Jeanie Cockell and Joan McArthur-Blair : Successful Nonprofits

Episode 130

Building Resilience, Practicing Forgiveness: Exploring Appreciative Inquiry with Jeanie Cockell and Joan McArthur-Blair

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Episode 130

Building Resilience, Practicing Forgiveness: Exploring Appreciative Inquiry with Jeanie Cockell and Joan McArthur-Blair

Listen on  iTunes    Android     Stitcher  Libsyn

by GoldenburgGroup

Start with forgiveness. Forgiveness is that thing that allows us to evolve into something new.

Appreciative inquiry is a strengths-based approach to facilitating positive change in human organizations. Dolph talks with two seasoned practitioners of this method, Jeanie Cockell and Joan McArthur-Blair, about the intersection of hope, despair, and forgiveness that leads to resilience. Lots of inspiration ahead!

*****Timestamped Highlights*****

(2:24) The hardest piece of resilience is forgiveness
(3:05) If you can’t forgive, forgive what you can
(9:40) Joan’s poem about forgiveness
(14:45) A (short) stop at despair
(16:02) Systemic despair
(20:49) Moving forward with hope, the bedrock of resilience
(24:14) A metaphorical car crash

The experience of appreciative inquiry shifts our focus to what we’re doing well and how we can move into the future.

(24:36) The intersection of hope, despair, and forgiveness
(25:45) Generative questions – easy yet profound
(29:19) The good thoughts notebook
(30:55) Joan’s poem about hope
(36:02) Keep your vision of the shore!


Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry: A Leadership Journey through Hope, Despair, and Forgiveness
First Section of Book
Nautilus Book Awards:
Joan and Jeanie’s Website:

Read the Transcript for Episode 130 or Click Here!


You don’t get to lead for a lifetime without making mistakes. Allow yourself to forgive yourself.

Dolph Goldenburg: Welcome to the Successful Nonprofits™ Podcast. I’m your host Dolph Goldenburg. We are graced with two guests on today’s podcast. Joan MacArthur-Blair and Jeannie Cockell are joining me to talk about Appreciative Inquiry, a subject that they recently published a book about. The book is called Building Resilience With Appreciative Inquiry: A Leadership Journey through Hope, Despair and Forgiveness. Dear listeners, I hope you will forgive me. I realized that I call it inquiry and then inquiries. So Hey, I can’t decide which it is. Now I will share that. When I was discussing this topic with one of my podcast editors, she said, what in the world is appreciative inquiry? To say the least Appreciative Inquiry is a topic we don’t talk enough about, and I am sure that Jeanie and Joan are going to really help us understand and expand what we think of as appreciative inquiry. So let’s get started.

Hey Joan and Jeanie, welcome to the podcast.

Joan McArthur Blair and Jeanie Cockell: Thank you.

Dolph Goldenburg: I am so intrigued by the subtitle of your book. It is a Leadership Journey through Hope, Despair, and Forgiveness. And I will share with you that I was especially struck by the concept of forgiveness, especially the concept of forgiveness in the leadership journey. There are so many times that either I have done this or I’ve worked with somebody in an organization, and they are having a really hard time letting go of this bad experience and consequently it’s kind of shading their ability to be all that they can be as a leader. If we could maybe start with forgiveness, I would just love to have that be our launch point.

Joan: Well it was a really interesting journey for us was we worked with resilience around this idea of forgiveness. We think it is a critical component of being resilient, and it is the hardest piece I think of resilience. You just talked about people in workplaces who don’t have that ability to let go. Forgiveness is that thing that allows us to evolve into something new, to find our ability to move forward and is because of that is such a critical part of resilience. And we write in the book about this idea that it’s an act of will, you know, it really is a conscious act of will to forgive versus a practice. It is a struggle. We talked to leaders about forgiving us all the time and their experiences. Just like you mentioned in organizations where people struggle with it. It is a difficult did decide to do and people will say to us, you know what, if I can forgive and we say to them, forgive what you can, and let your heart forgive what you’re able to forgive. Cause even that lets you evolve.

Jeanie: and it often doesn’t require saying, “please forgive me,” but it requires inside of you to say, “please forgive me” and to say, “I forgive you again.” It can be, it can be an actual statement and more likely it’s a state of being. It’s an ability to say to oneself, “I forgive you in order for us to continue on that incident or whatever it was that is upset us. I’m going to say let it go. Move on. I’m forgiving, both you and me,” like everybody is part of these sorts of incidents in our leadership lives. So to be able to forgive and to forgive others by, as Joan says, it’s really a difficult. It requires commitment and will to move ahead and it’s about living it. So it’s really about that internal feeling and that’s the practice that we call resilience, which is to continue to do that practice where inside of you sometimes just slip and say when you are angry, “Wait a minute now. I said, I’m going to forgive. I’m going to move on. I’m going to let this go. “

Even though that other thing is not changed, but I’m changed so I can see this differently. And it’s the practice of seeing it differently that allows that forgiveness to carry on and be part of a huge piece of the resilience, the ability to be resilient because that resilient is about carrying on no matter what happens.

Dolph Goldenburg: This is where I’m such a task oriented person. So I think, I think so often we all would agree that forgiveness is good. And we all would agree that yeah, it’s in our own best interest to forgive people if we feel like we’ve been wronged. But how does somebody actually do that? Like how do they actually forgive and let go?

Joan: We write about this idea that forgiveness is not absolution. It recognizes what has happened. And I think that that’s the first thing that’s useful sometimes to people. We confuse forgiveness with absolution. Forgiveness is that state of being where you’re actually letting go of something and not holding it in your way anymore. I think that’s a place to begin. What is it you can do that allows you to let go of something? For some people that might be very overt. For other people that might be just beginning every morning to forgive. Again, something that has happened because sometimes major things happen in leaders’ lives, and it takes a while. So to begin to define for yourself what forgiveness is. I think the second kind of tactical thing about forgiveness, and Jeannie mentioned this in what you just said, it doesn’t have to involve other people. This is one of the things that people find complicated, this idea that I have to go to somebody and tell them I forgive them or go to someone and ask their forgiveness. Forgiveness does not have to involve another person. That’s the second thing that makes. It a little bit easier if you begin to work on yourself as a leader rather than suddenly engaging this huge audience or even another audience of one.

Jeanie: And sometimes it’s just a matter of saying, “Let’s have a conversation,” and actually surfacing what we call sometimes the elephant in the room because it’s not a good idea to hold it in either. It’s sometimes a great idea to engage with others in terms of your own feelings and how behaviors impacted you and so on and just have those kinds of like own that right each person in the conversation. If you get into blaming, you could say something like, “When you did this, I felt this.” So you can own it just to describe it. They’re very descriptive. So there’s lots of techniques around, you know, communication well with others to do as well. I think we’re both agreeing that most of it comes from the self, a practice of self and looking at the world and other people in a certain forgiving kind of way.

It’s not a conversation we talked to leaders about this, those that we work with and those we interviewed and um, many said it’s the most important thing there is to do and do it as quickly and ask for it as quickly when you know it’s time for you to ask for it. It’s not a conversation that’s in the usual public domain. I mean, we don’t just sit around and talk about forgiveness. And the same thing with despair when we move to that. We have created as a space in the work we do in this book, in the workshop we, and the reflective questions and various pieces that people can use because we’re practical. We’re practical as well that people can actually use and practice with because it is a practice. It’s not something that comes easily.

Dolph Goldenburg: I’m so glad that you, that you both have kind of said, it’s not like you have to go to that person and say, “Hey, I’ve worked on this and I’ve forgiven you.” Because I think in so many cases that person’s no longer in our lives, you know? So like if they were a team member, they’re now a former team member. So it’s just awkward to go back to someone who you’ve not talked to in 18 months and say, “Oh, I forgive you now.”

Joan: Right?

Jeanie: So the official is seen as kind of inauthentic in any way.

Joan: And sometimes forgiveness is starts with the smallest of things I had just experienced recently. I was working with a client, and there were two people in the workplace who no longer spoke to each other. And we were setting up for the workshop. One came into the room, then the other came into the room. The second person came into the room, and they looked around and then they made a choice to go and sit with that person. They didn’t make any big deal of it. They just went and sat beside of them so that they would work with them through the day. I thought it was a very profound act of forgiveness. It simply said, “I wished to be with you.” And it was very simple in that way. Probably not all that simple to do in the book. These are hard words, hope, despair and forgiveness.

We have this poem about forgiveness. Most of the poetry that starts the chapters is written by me. This was written by me, and I think it helps with this conversation we’re trying to have about forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a blank slate. It does not offer absolution. It does not lighten the burden of past acts. Do not think it is easy, nor is it kind. Rather, it recognizes the power of rising again from the ashes of fires we ourselves ignited of dousing the flame throwers gripped by circumstance and evil. It is letting go and a holding close. It abides in love and champions knowing and it walks with a steely and willful force. Forgive me.

Dolph Goldenburg: That’s really powerful. It’s almost prayer like.

Jeanie: she’s beautiful and their portraits beautiful

Joan: because I think that idea forgiveness is really complicated and the purpose of that poem was to kind of hold that complication. And you used, you used that word prayer, like I think there is grace and forgiveness that is so extraordinary. There is that both taking, taking grace and giving grace in that a powerful sense of our hearts kind of quiver with that feeling of forgiveness.

Dolph Goldenburg: So help me understand. I think I do, but obviously giving graces when you forgive someone, what is taken grace?

Joan: I think forgiving ourselves, you know, that uh, we don’t get to lead for a lifetime. Your audiences can’t see Jeannie and I, but we’re not exactly young anymore and you don’t get to lead for a lifetime without having made some mistakes. And I think the taking of grace is to allow yourself the grace to understand that if you lead and you lead well, there will be times you will be seeking forgiveness, whether you overtly ask for it or not. And that I think is that notion of taking grace for yourself to allow yourself to forgive yourself for leadership things that you have done that you might do differently now as you grow.

Dolph Goldenburg: When you say part of that leadership is, you know, asking forgiveness, are you thinking also asking like a leader asking a team or team member for forgiveness?

Jeanie: It could be one of the things I wanted to say though is that the link in our book that’s really key is the Appreciative Inquiry. And sometimes forgiveness happens through our process. We come in with, you know, teams so clearly have described their environment as toxic. There’s an awful lot of forgiveness that needs to go on in that environment. So it may be something where people leaders actually bring it forward. And this is how we got into the notion of resilience. We as we were doing appreciative inquiry for a strategic planning or team building or all sorts of different purposes for appreciative inquiry, which is basically inquire into what’s already working. What are your strengths? How can you build on what’s working in this team or in this organization or in yourself as a person and how can you build on that?

It could be really focusing on forgiving yourself first and appreciating in that moment. Maybe you wouldn’t do that again, but let’s look at the strengths that happened during that experience and what strengths you are bringing. And as we’ve worked with teams that have described themselves a toxic and they really want to be a highly effective team, appreciative inquiry starts with well what is it you want to be? So you start with that topic, affirmative topic being a highly effective team. And then you start to ask questions to each other and telling stories of when his team has been highly effective already, no matter how small. And as people start sharing those stories, they start to see each other as sharing some common values and hopes and experiences that are actually wonderful. We tend to dwell on the bad stuff.

This experience of an appreciative inquiry shifts people to focus on what they’re already doing well, and then together they form small groups to imagine further and create images and visions of the future. Then they design the ways to get there. And a lot of that then of course is about forgiveness, not maybe using those words, but because they’ve come together as Joan described, that one person came and sat with the other person. Well we should. Chi is very much pairs and small groups and large team talking to one another, suits people all connecting, sharing their own wisdom and their own ideas. They’re forgiving. Even just engaging together in that way to really build themselves as a highly effective team.

Dolph Goldenburg: So really from a strengths based perspective

Jeanie: yes.

Dolph Goldenburg: You know, we said we were going to go from forgiveness to hope. And on the way I think there’s a stop at despair, hopefully just to stop. Hopefully you don’t stay there. Right?

There is such a thing as systemic despair. It’s the interaction of race, gender, privilege, and power in the workplace that causes people to experience inequity every day.

Joan: And we talk about despairing exactly that way. You know, we talk about what we call a glancing globe of despair. You know, something happens and you’re over it. You know, as a leader by four o’clock in the afternoon and a or the next morning, we call it that glancing globe of despair. We talked to one CEO one day and she said, well, this, it totally describes every day of my life, this cycle between hope, despair and forgiveness. Then there’s like larger despair that, you know, we describe as, you know, the train coming in the dead of the night. And off that train is an unwelcome visitor and they stay in your house making a mess until they’re finished with you. And that larger kind of despair.

And when we talk to leaders about despair, people find despair comes to them for so many reasons. You know, they’re incredibly resilient in a circumstance, and then a much smaller circumstance happens, and they find themselves in this pair. And we also write about a third kind of despair, systemic despair, which really is that interaction between race, gender, power and privilege in the workplace that causes people to experience inequity every day. And so they just live with kind of that low level of despair everyday in the workplace. We’re really interested in strengths in times of despair, not so much the despair itself, but what is your smallest strength, your greatest strength, your sustaining strength in this time of despair? How can you amplify that? How can you nudge it forward even the tiniest bit? There’s no simple cure for despair. It will reside until it’s finished with you. And so we talk about what is your strengths? What might you do in this circumstance just to sustain, not to get over despair, but just to sustain here?

Jeanie: one of the things we do with this is our book on resilience, you know, and hope to spare. And forgiveness is really about the fact that there’s no 12 steps. We can tell you how to do this one, two, three, four, five steps or three steps or anything. Because everyone approaches resilience in a different way. Some people seem to just fly through it, and others get stuck. So there’s different ways that though, by having conversations around it, and that’s where our leaders that we talked to found, but nowhere do you talk as a leader about despair because that means you’re not a strong leader if you have any sense of despair. That is another conversation that we’re trying to raise through reflective questions that people can talk about it to one another in a kind of safe way. By having those conversations, then of course you can figure out how it is you get to forgiveness and then back to hope as being your predominant view of your day. Hope in a hopeful view as we call it.

Joan: We would wish for leaders that despair never visited them, but it does, it visits our life and just does. Yeah.

Dolph Goldenburg: There are so many different types of despair that leaders may feel everything from those as you, as you call it. Do you know that the glancing despair, like, oh, something just happened and I feel terrible about it to, you know, really something that maybe it’s a broken relationship with your board or a broken relationship with a specific team member within your organization.

Joan: One leader we talked to said, “If your book does nothing else. It brings despair out into the open.” This ability to actually say, as a leader, you know, I’m actually not okay at this moment in time in my leadership work. And it doesn’t mean that my leadership work is not worthy or diminished or that I’m not leading the organization is simply means that I’m carrying this rock with me every day when I do that.

That has been really interesting for us as we’ve worked with leaders around despair is this kind of opening the doors to being able to talk about despair in different kinds of ways. We have this experience where leaders come up to us when we’re doing presentations and say, “I need to talk to you about despair.” It just gives them a place to begin to have a conversation that really leaders weren’t allowed to have before.

Dolph Goldenburg: Can you maybe share an example of one of those conversations when someone comes up?

Joan: Many of them are things we’ve already kind of touched on. A lot of people come and want to talk to us about relationships with their boards because that is a complicated relationship for CEOs or they have an idea, a vision, and they can ignite it inside the organization site.

The organization can’t find its way to the vision a leader has, and that causes despair. But a lot of the time it has to do with another individual inside the workplace. It doesn’t matter where they are in the hierarchy, there is that one person who is causing circumstances to be hard. Um, and so a lot of people talk to us about that.

Dolph Goldenburg: And so that’s probably then where that circles back to forgiveness as well because it’s, it’s one specific person or two specific people in the workplace. So assuming we don’t want to spend too much time in despair, how do we move forward with hope?

Joan: In our work, we really think that hope is the bedrock of resilience, the practice of hoping a hopeful view as a leader.

And when we use the word hope, we don’t mean that everything’s going to turn out fine by Tuesday, but the practice of being able to see inside what is going on right now, that there’s a possibility of hope, that there’s a whole full view to be had here. In our writing we went to some of the great people who have the capacity to do this. Viktor Frankl during the Holocaust his ability to find humanity within such dire circumstance. And so a hope in a hopeful view is like polishing the stone of what we see, what we focus on, the kinds of questions we ask. We think that hope and the practice of hope and the hope of you is a very bedrock of resilience.

Jeanie: We give an example in our chapter on hope that comes from our private life, which is, I didn’t arrive home one day from successfully doing an appreciative inquiry facilitation for a group of people. Joan was waiting at home, and I didn’t arrive. Turned out I’d been in a very serious car accident. I didn’t even realize that until days later. And I woke up though. This is the practice of a hopeful view of what you see. I was crushed all over. My lungs were crushed. I was intubated so I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. My whole body was broken. I was internally bleeding. I was in a pretty bad state. But when I came to, and I was aware, I was in a room that was very strange. Joan was beside me. My sister was at the end of the bed, and she’d traveled across the country to see me.

And the medical people were all, you know, dancing around helping me out. But all I could think of was I was alive, and I couldn’t speak, but I could smile. I could just pay attention to what was going on and be curious. And in my appreciative inquiry framework was really to say, well, what can I do while I can smile, you know? And then I can ask questions, not in my head. Right. I can be curious and just be open to what might come from this. It’s kind of an extreme example, but in many times it’s just as hard in a situation with somebody else that you’re experiencing a conflict or whatever. You get into despair and, but it’s the same kind of curiosity and why can I appreciate about this person who is driving me crazy? But is there’s something is I can I see, can I inquire, and can I see what strengths are they actually bringing beyond what I’m seeing, which is things that are annoying me? So that practice a daily practice of a hopeful view through that appreciative lens, the curiosity and what are your strengths and what’s going on that’s working, what more can we do in our relationship? I mean those are the practices that are really powerful to get back to that hopeful view.

Dolph Goldenburg: And I think so often, you know, while leaders may not hopefully never experience the type of a crushing car accident that you experienced, I think they metaphorically experience things like that. Whether it’s, you know, you feel like your career is just blown up. And I think any of us who’ve been in leadership, this includes me. We’ve all been at those points where we’re like, “Oh, I think I just blew up my career.”

Jeanie: Yeah. Very nice. So I think we all had those.

Dolph Goldenburg: Exactly. But you know, you know, so, you know, but so metaphorically I think we all kind of have these really tragic accidents in our life

Jeanie: and they stay with us longer. I think those ones.

Joan: And so, it’s this intersection between these same three things. You know, we represent them as kind of three intersecting circles because we experienced them together. You know, often our greatest stories of hope come from a despairing experience like Jeanie’s car accident. Often our greatest acts or forgiveness are born out of our hope in a hopeful view. The ability to see some little possibility to be curious. What will happen if I change how I am with another person? This notion that Jeanie just talked about this idea of being curious is so important to resilience. What do I see? What am I focusing on? What questions am I asking myself? What questions am I asking of other people? Um, is fundamental to resilience.

Jeanie: We use the notion of, as many appreciate inquiry practitioners do use the notion of generative questions that are open-ended in looking for those possibilities. Helping people to see into the future or see the best of what might be. Even though like when you first ask it, they may not be seeing anything. So the use of generative questions I think is really, really an important part of moving through that state of despair and into hope.

Dolph Goldenburg: And I will say that rob acting when he was on the podcast a year and a half, two years ago, talk to good little bit about generative questions in ways that he used it with his board and very effectively and he gave some generative questions examples. Do you maybe have some good examples of generative questions that help with the AI process?

Hope and a hopeful view are like polishing the stone of what we see, what we focus on, and the kinds of questions we ask.

Jeanie: Well, I was going to say, one of the things is, is when somebody comes and says, I, you know this, I’m so frustrated by being in that department meeting. I don’t ever want to go to department meetings. So you might ask, well tell me a little bit more about what really worked for you in that meeting? And so then just shifting that way, thinking of it. So, you know, “Tell me a little bit more about that.” That’s a generative question cause I have a question mark at the end, but it still elicit some,

Dolph Goldenburg: I’m going to put my cynic hat on. What happens when the answer is nothing. I hated everything about the meeting. Nothing at the end of the meeting. that’s the only good part. And then something like, what would you like to have happened?

Jeanie: And then start to go into the future with that. So in, in the next meeting, what could you do and what, what could you contribute to the making this different kind of meeting? Again, another generative question.

Joan: I wanted to give it a specific example. I don’t know, opportunity to work with another leader for a while. And it was a fairly major crisis inside the organization. And so, we had crisis meetings every morning at 7:00 AM, and she would start those crisis meetings by asking a powerful generative question. She’s would say, “What have we done well to manage this crisis since yesterday?” And all that did was open people’s minds to be creative and to begin to move toward possibility. Such a simple example of a generative question. It was easy to use. Hmm. It’s not like you have to practice any big to use a generator.

Jeanie: And a simple question to start a meeting off is, what are we grateful for today? You know, just, let’s just go around. And it just shifts the energy of people into the room. And in terms of gratitude and appreciation before then you get into the more tough, you know, figuring out the problems that you have to solve together. All the research in positive psychology and neuroscience are telling us that our minds work way better when we feel positive, when we experience more positive emotions than negative ones. And that helps us to think more broadly. And that’s what we need in our leadership moments.

Dolph Goldenburg: My father the last 15 years of his life was just remarkably sick. He had a series of heart attacks. He survived cancer a couple of times. He was no longer able to work. He was forced to retire, and it was a really difficult experience for him. One day I found out that he kept a little notebook that he carried with him and he called it as Good Thoughts notebook and, you know, and so what, is there anything good that happened during the day? He would write it down in his good thoughts. Like I found a penny on the sidewalk or he might write in his Good Thoughts notebook, “The waitress at Waffle House flirted with me.” That book was such a powerful source of strength for him when he was like, “I’m not feeling it today. I just, I can’t do this today.”

Jeanie: That’s a really good story.

Joan: What an amazing story of the practice of resilience because I choose to see the penny on the sidewalk as value. I choose to see this interaction with another human being as both funny and wonderful. In Jeannie’s story, she was very damaged in the car accident. We couldn’t predict actually if she was gonna live or die for a while. Yet she found hope in simply being alive. I found hope in the fact that she had hope in being alive. It is a wonderful story about your dad and his good Thoughts diary?

Dolph Goldenburg: It was a game changer for him. It really was. It was a total game changer. So Joan, I think you have a poem as well for hope and your, your poem for forgiveness was so beautiful that I got to ask you to read the one for hope.

Joan: In the same way. You know, in some ways this defines kind of how we write about hope in the, in the book. My beautiful friend hope you point me toward the sun, you shelter me in the rain, you trumpet my successes and hold me in my sorrow ever whispering, rise up, rise up.

Dolph Goldenburg: I just adore that. That’s powerful and amazing.

Joan: In the writing about spare and when we work with leaders about despair, we ask this question of them, do you know who in the workplace will put down their hand and help you rise up? Do you know how to reach down your hand and help someone else to rise up? we ask that question to think about the ways we are as human beings, how is it could we could help someone else rise up in the workplace. They were good employees last month, but this month they seem to be in trouble. And often that is happening because they’re in despair, still happening because they’re willfully being a bad employee. It’s happening because of rain. This, you know, sack of rocks with them everyday when they come to work, and the endurance it takes just to carry that is enormous. And so to have people around them who can simply say to them, you know, you’re having a tough time, I’ll carry your load with you is extraordinary.

Dolph Goldenburg: That is probably a great place for us to jump off in part because I think it will make most of our listeners realize they need to figure out how to buy your book. What I’d like to do is move forward to the Off-the-Map question. What I love about the off the map question as it gets, it allows people that are listening to get to know you as individuals. Although I feel like folks have had a great opportunity to do that today because you’ve shared so much about your own journeys in this world, but in your buyers you mentioned that you are both ocean swimmers. Let me also own, I don’t, I don’t even know how to swim. So I’m love to know what are your most memorable ocean swims and why?

Jeanie: Greece. Joan was president of the college. They fundraising guy said he’s the swim coach. She said let’s do a fundraising swim. We were in Nova Scotia, in Greece. We’d like the president to be part of that team. And then she convinced me to be part of the team, and there was 12 of us, and we went to Greece. We had to fundraise and get support. We made lots of money fundraising. I got to swim in Greece for five days. It was pretty memorable because the weather turned out to be very choppy. It was beautiful, but very windy. Ferries were not even getting across from island to island. We only did one island crossing out of the five crossings because those others weren’t allowed. But we did the swim across the shore. One memorable moment for me was when Joan got so tossed in the ocean near the shore. Thank goodness she was coming back. Her goggles almost flipped off.

Joan: A powerful, memorable moment for me swimming in the ocean is when you’re far enough from shore that it’s not going to be just simple getting back. You know, you’re not going to just stand up and walk out of the ocean. There’s that moment where you realize that everything you’ve trained for is this moment that you have to be with that sense of isolation, that sense of being alone in some very big water. And so for me that is that resilience moment. What do I do in that moment and how is it I undertake to be myself in that moment and not be afraid? Yeah, we love the ocean. I always feel like it’s a place that’s home for me when I go in the ocean.

Dolph Goldenburg: I think both of those are also such great metaphors for leadership. I can see why you all teach and help people through the leadership journey. You know, sometimes we just find ourselves a little further out than we thought we’d be or a little choppier water than we thought we’d be. And how do we find, how do we make it both memorable to make our way back.

Jeanie: And keep the vision of the shore people looking at it?

Dolph Goldenburg: Well, so I have to say the Off-the-Map question was not so off the map really.

Jeanie: Oh, okay. It was the hopeful, hopeful view. I love it.

Dolph Goldenburg: Well Genie, Joan, thank you so much. It has just been wonderful. We’re recording this on a Friday afternoon, and it’s been wonderful spending some time with you on a Friday. I am so appreciative that you have been with us today.

Jeanie: Thank you.

Joan: Thank you doll. Yeah, thank you doll has been a great way to uh, to uh, launch into the weekend and, and every time I get a chance to talk to people about resilience, I come away thinking new thoughts. So I want to say thank you to you for that spending that great spending some time with you.

Dolph Goldenburg: Well, thank you. And before I let you go, I have to make sure our listeners know how they can connect with you. So you can connect with Jeannie and Joan at And when you go there, here’s the reason you should go. You can download the first section of their new book. So, if you are like me and you prefer to read in paper and you don’t want to order the Kindle, we’ll go ahead and order from Amazon. Read the first section by the time it arrives tomorrow you’ll be ready to read section two in paper. You can by Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry at your favorite book seller on Amazon or from Barrett Koehler publishers, which is also online, and we’ll include links of that in our show notes.

The final thing that I want folks to be aware of is that their book won a silver award at the [inaudible] awards, and if you want to go and check that out, it’s Nautilus Book Awards: While you’re there, you can get other great titles in the area of human potential and growth as human beings. So, if you’re interested in learning more when you’re done with this book, Nautilus Book Awards is a great place to go.

Hey Joan and Jeanie, thank you so much for being with us today.

Joan and Jeanie: Thank you, Dolph.

Be curious, open, and appreciative…even in extreme situations. Open minds allow for creativity and movement toward possibility.

Dolph Goldenburg: So if you’re developing a list of those things that are truly working in your organization, just keep the ideas flowing and don’t stop to write down the information from today’s show. It’s all there for you at Now, one of the things that makes my own life so meaningful is the opportunity to connect with people and nonprofits all over the u s each of which is advancing a cause that helps lift us all up.

I will share with listeners that right now, I am super busy. I’ve got an interim executive director engagement that’s going on out west. I’m helping a national organization with a Strategic Plan and doing some coaching and some other things. And so all that is to say that at this point I’m not actually taking on any new clients and probably won’t be until September or October. But if you’ve got a project that you think is going to start, then now would be a good time for us to have a conversation because typically my schedule fills up a couple of months in advance. So if you’re interested, now would be a great time for us to have a conversation. Now, if you enjoyed today’s show, please do me a favor and at this subscribe button on whatever podcast platform you’re using, and if you’re feeling super generous, give us a rating while you’re at it and maybe even write a couple of sentence review. That is our show for this week. I hope you have gained some insight that will help not just your nonprofit, but you thrive in a competitive environment.


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