In a college classroom not too far away, I’m teaching a class of first-year students to communicate. I’m slowly adapting to the reality that these are the first collegiate participants born in 2000, a concept that initially had me checking for grey hairs and reaching for Tums. But for as much as we’ve discussed our hopes and worries of this new Generation 2020, here they are.
As part of my speechwriting section, I showed a clip of the most notable speeches in history. When I asked students to tell me what stuck out for them, they agreed it was FDR’s first inaugural address, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It was the first time a student collective had chosen this over MLK, JFK or RFK. To the best of their ability, they explained to me the role that fear plays in their lives.
There is no doubt that fear is a powerful motivator. We need only to look at the political and news systems we’ve allowed in our lives to see that polarization, concern, and urgency drive the rhetoric of our society.
As you may have noticed, the Open Door site has been under construction. It’s been in response to my decision to make Open Door smaller. As my good friend says, I’ve Jerry Maguire-d my firm. Put the focus on fewer clients, but better quality. Consultants that truly believe in this work and see its transformative potential. Engaging with people who believe that consultants exist to drive an organization forward and that’s a short-term engagement. It’s about truly making an impact and being honest about why we chose this work.
Some assessment from outsiders has been about why our services are so diverse. The answer is fear. Open Door is about supporting people to say something important at a critical time (speechwriting), having the foresight to tell your story and make an impact (communications), understanding that with so much outside of our control, the need to plan for the unexpected still remains (crisis management) and that there is a powerful result when groups of people gather to explore what’s possible for the human potential (facilitation).
That’s why I’m here. Because I believe that fear should never be a barrier. It’s should be a proud motivator – in our lives, in our work, and in our commitment to “strive, seek, find and not to yield.”
I still believe (with the same passion) what I said when I started in 2013, let’s open doors.