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  • callielcarroll


My transition this year, I imagine like many others, was in part sparked by the desire to show up more fully and whole in everything I was doing - my work, with my kids, in my community. Those elements felt so separate (except when my kids began showing up for my Zoom meetings while remote learning) and incongruous. In my initial thinking about this transition, I just thought about more balance and the ability to work less and have more time for other things. After all, my work made me happy and brought me joy. But as I started filling out one of those coaching questionnaires about my true passions in life, I added something that has always been a hobby: cut flower arranging (I also listed working towards a more just and inclusive world, reading romance novels with strong female leads and my guilty pleasure of action movies and political and crime dramas). I laughed about these passions to my husband and sister and their partner. Well, one thing turned into another, and all of a sudden, I was pinning awesome local florists who ran their business from their homes, farmers markets, or small flower farms and looking for online courses and thinking about how I could incorporate social justice into something that brings me joy in a totally different way. I realized I could show appreciation and bring my own joy to others in ways that aren’t just one thing or one profession. It feels like a blossoming: recognizing that I could live in a way that was more than the service that I provide to my clients and my organization. By bringing this passion to everything I do, I could show up more fully, creatively and joyfully to those around me.

Small white sparkle flowers with a yellow leaf in a small pink vase.
Small white sparkle flowers with a yellow leaf in a small pink vase.

I should give you a little more context on this creative passion of mine: I worked part time at a florist through college, and while there were downsides of difficult customers and cleaning out the walk in fridge of rotten and moldy flowers, I almost always came back to my room happier and calmer. I’ve revisited it over the years, doing flowers for my wedding, my sister’s wedding and a friend’s, arranging cut flowers my husband bought me, making holiday arrangements, etc., but it’s always seemed like a retirement plan or a silly dream. Besides, as I learned about climate change, doing something that depended on flowers grown on deforested land stolen from indigenous people and shipped across the world seemed antithetical to my values.

But then the “grow local” movement and farmers markets grew, and I began thinking about the parallels between creating community artistry and gardening spaces and creating and designing organizational spaces and teams. And um.... this thing- this thing that seemed foolish seems more integrated than I ever imagined. I started seeing the cross-pollination in the learnings about growing things in community and bringing more beauty and joy to the world that I’m eager to explore and share. Plus, it seems that an important step in supporting teams to hire and value people for their whole selves is showing up with all of my passion and joy here and now for them and you!

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