As much as we know that “words make worlds” in our Appreciative Inquiry global community, sometimes there are no words that seem just right to capture everything in our heads and hearts. 

The perfect word to accurately reflect the mix of emotions that we, like all of you, are experiencing on a daily basis alludes us. 

There are many wonderful words, however, that have been swirling in our social media streams and during our myriad of virtual conference calls of late; words like: compassion, kindness, humanity, support, connections, and patience. 

Have you seen these words not only in writing, but also coming to life in new ways around you during the past several weeks?  
 
The word that resonates with and inspires me perhaps the most right now is: “AND.”  

If anything, Appreciative Inquiry invites us to embrace and explore the “ANDs” in our lives now more than ever.

As an AI practitioner, I know it is powerful to ask:  

  • How are we physically distancing AND socially connecting? 
  • How are we appreciating the gifts we have AND giving ourselves permission to grieve the losses we are feeling individually and collectively?  
  • How are we lifting up what is working today AND daring to ask what we want tomorrow to look like? 
  • How are we cultivating resilience AND how are we giving ourselves permission to not always have things figured out? 
  • How are we supporting others AND how are we taking care of ourselves? 

As a firm believer in the Simultaneity Principle, I know that questions ARE catalysts for change, thus I will keep asking “AND-inspired” questions, and hope you might too.

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Lindsey Godwin is a professor, practitioner & “possibilitizer” who helps ignite individuals and organizations to realize the best versions of themselves. She is the Endowed Chair of Management at the Robert P. Stiller School of Business and the Academic Director of the David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry, whom Helios is proud to call a partner.

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