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The means are not the end

As we lead and support others in workplaces and homes, and make decisions about moving forward, we should be careful not to confuse the logistical challenges we face with the work we're engaged in.


There are exceptions to this generalization. For example, those two things are the same for healthcare professionals and workers ensuring we all have food.


For most of us, however, there is a difference between the physical and virtual spaces and tools we use to accomplish the work of our organizations, and the actual work of our organizations (or families). The means available to accomplish your mission may have changed. The mission and the reason you're pursuing that mission probably haven't.


Many people say and write, for example, that “school is closed.” Actually, it's only school buildings that are closed. Learning hasn’t stopped. Teachers and other school staff are making amazing efforts to keep fostering the long-term flourishing of young people. It’s just happening in new places and new ways, with parents and caregivers much more involved.


So, as you wrestle with the nearly all-consuming logistics of getting work done, pause every once in a while and remember what you’re actually trying to make happen in the world. Remember the people for whom you’re working and the people working with you. Distinguish that work and those relationships from the logistical hurdles (and opportunities) the current circumstances have created.


And, just for fun, here's an old video of two of our children talking about means and ends.


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