This summer I took a couple months off from Good Group Decisions and Make Shift Coffee House (facilitated discussions among conservatives and liberals).

I gave myself until the Fall Equinox. That's today! Here’s where I’m at.
I had a terrific summer! I feel guilty saying that, but it’s true. What a gift it has been to spend time with Carol, chat leisurely with neighbors, and do projects in my barn that have been dreams for years. What a gift to read books, play music, and take walks. What a gift to visit both Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park in the same summer and do many outdoor adventures.

A highlight? I helped the neighborhood kids build a Little Free Library. That was pretty fun.

At the same time it’s been a horrible summer for so many. I need not name the challenges and fears. We know what they are and we each have our own. My question has been: What should be my role? What should I be doing in the face of these challenges?

I explored taking a real job with a government or nonprofit. I considered all kinds of jobs! I talked to several people who know me well. Their advice? Keep doing what you’ve been doing, Craig. That’s your best role.

So I’ve decided that Good Group Decisions and Make Shift Coffee Houses will start back up soon, but different. All my work will be mostly online. My consulting work will focus on talks and training. Make Shift Coffee Houses will run on donations and sponsorships.
And I’m going need a little time to develop these new ways. I will let you know as I ramp up.
I was at a campfire a couple nights ago explaining to someone about my sabbatical and my summer search for who I should be. “Are you becoming a new person?” she asked whimsically. “Are you reinventing yourself?”

At 58 years old it’s hard to totally reinvent yourself. And not very practical. Yet the summer has let me see that I absolutely want to re-invent parts of me.

I want to be way more aware of my prejudices and actually demonstrate how to be an ally for black and brown people, indigenous people, and women and girls. As an old white guy I have learned so much from the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements and I’m very grateful to those who have told hard stories. I have work to do.

I plan to be more outspoken about politics and act on my values. I want to demonstrate that I can be a Liberal AND show respect to Conservatives and all others with differing views. As I get older I’m less concerned with being neutral but more concerned about showing respect. I plan to be more active on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Wish me luck!

I’m going to simplify and shrink my work. I’m going to do fewer types of jobs. I will be better at saying no to off-target jobs. I’m going to streamline customer invoicing.

I hope to start a new Talk Show and new eNewsletter; both focused on how to get along with each other in teams, in organizations, and in politics.

And for the next 6 weeks I will be working on the election. Make Shift Coffee Houses and my Good Group Decisions clients will need to be patient. I am especially concerned about the integrity of our elections and easy access for every American. That’s what I will be working on.
My summer break was awesome, yet I’m looking forward to getting back to work. I miss you!

Thanks for reading all this. I hope we connect soon.

-  Craig