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Dancing in the Midst of Uncertainty – Opportunity

“Is the Pope Catholic?” is a common refrain to being asked a question about something that has an obvious and certain answer. However, amid this global pandemic, and the upheaval it has caused in so many areas of our lives, there appears to be much more that we are uncertain about. Whether it be: work, school, travel, vacations, or just when this will all come to some ending, we have more questions than answers these days.

Uncertainty is very disruptive to people who desire certainty. And for those who have been on any kind of spiritual journey, there is an acknowledgement that uncertainty and/or mystery are all part of the journey. It is a realization that we cannot control everything, no matter how much we might desire to do so. Inherently, there is a letting go.

One opportunity is to embrace the mystery of life and choose how you might respond, instead of reacting, to any given circumstance. If I let go of certainty, and in particular how I think things should be, I now have a real opportunity to see things for how they are and make a choice as to how I would like to respond. It reminds me of a Liberating Structure that asks three questions: What? So What? Now What?

I share this as a tool you may want to use both personally and professionally, alone and in any group.

Quite honestly, as an executive coach and consultant, I enjoy working in uncertainty. It is the most fertile place for change to emerge. Things may never be the same, and for a lot of things, that can be wonderful and full of new opportunities. The other side is that we may have to let go of things we never thought would change. The memorial below reveals how that has mostly recently transpired for me.


In Memory of Giulio Mario Gravinese

1976 – 2020

About a month ago, I received a call from Ellissa Gravinese, that Giulio “Jules”, was not able to continue to support our business due to health problems. We had a brief conversation with no specific details. She later called back and asked if I could write something for Jules and his children, because he was dying. This is an excerpt from what I wrote and share it as a tribute to a great partner and deeply missed friend.

Dear Jules,

I had a brief conversation with your lovely wife, Ellissa, and she asked if I could share some of my reflections about our fourteen- year collaboration and what it has meant to me and Emergent Success. It is something for you and for Matteo and Chloe to know about the professional side of their father. I am honored to do so.

We met back in 2006, I believe through David Muro, as he recommended you for the back engine of our website. As I think about it, you are easily one of the most influential partners for me and ES, that I regrettably was never able to meet in person. I know in reality that is true, and it feels like we met all those years ago.

You took all our ideas of what we were trying to do and gave us a spectacular website. And we were on the bleeding edge with Emergent Connect (Slack had nothing on you!), back in the day. You understood my vision and made it a reality. It was a lot of work back in those early days when websites were a lot more cumbersome and as our “webmaster” you made it so, matter- of- factly, as you have always been.

I was not sure how having “a guy” on the other coast might work out. You made it easy. You were always responsive and helpful, whenever we needed you. I have been pitched by local folks over the years, and I could not imagine having you not working with ES. It is hard to imagine going forward. You have made it all work, through thick and thin.

I remember getting the news about the birth of Matteo and eventually Chloe. I always enjoyed your photo cards at the holidays. We have never been good at returning the favor. And amid family and business, you were always there for us, no problem.

You were always fair as a business partner, and sometimes maybe too much. I shared with Ellissa the time we received an invoice for I believe was $12.50. I think I may have called you and told you I was not going to pay you only $12.50! You charged more for your time than you did for your value. We could not have paid you enough!

Matteo and Chloe, your father is a man of deep passion for what he does, and loving compassion and unwavering integrity for how he has been of service to others. I can only imagine you have experienced this in so many wonderful ways over the years.

I really do not want to stop writing. It feels too final for me. You are a wonderful collaborator and joy to work with, and I cannot imagine not having you as part of the team. I am going to miss you friend.

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