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The dragon next door

I’ve been hearing from readers and friends about the turmoil in their organizations. They attribute the turmoil to varied external causes: economic instability, a shift in leadership, internal politics, or organizational jerks.

Whatever the cause, as JRR Tolkien said in The Hobbit, “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” I do believe that how we choose to live with the dragon next door is more important than the turmoil, anxiety, and suffering. I do not believe in being naively optimistic; my life has had its share of pain.

Is it possible to find hope in the midst of turmoil? I will use the analogy of a film. If you look carefully at a strip of film you will see a series of small, individual, framed images aligned in a row. When the film is projected on a screen, you will see a moving picture – a movie. A film is both individual photos and a movie. It depends on your experience, your point of view, your focus.

For me, hope comes from focusing on the big picture of organization and personal values, which for Friesen Group include trust, creativity, and abundance.  Hope comes when I manage the individual frames with my best efforts. Sometimes my best effort requires simply recognizing and accepting difficulties and unfairness which come as a part of any life. At other times it means being willing to walk away from a bad situation and let it go. But hope always comes back to the core values of love and compassion for others and for myself.

In the West, our stories of dragons are about battling dragons that represent darkness, fury, danger, and death. But in the East, dragons are gentle and friendly, symbols of change and promise. It depends on your point of reference. The paradox that is life continues. We live with certainty and uncertainty, hope and turmoil. We live with the dragon next door.

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