The Gift of Welcome

As 2015 winds down and the holiday season unfolds all around us I’m grateful for time to pause and reflect.

I am also thankful for the gift of being welcomed into the lives of those I serve. Individual leaders dancing in the vulnerability of making their bold dreams become a reality. Teams striving to find alignment in the midst of challenge and change and doing so in a way that honours their relationships. Organizations choosing to be intentional in living a culture based on their values so that they can flourish in accomplishing their shared mission.

In my work there is a notable theme - the need of human beings to be in connection with others. We are social beings and finding a way to be in relationship with others is an important driver. The yearning for quality, courageous and collaborative relationships is palpable.  People flourish when they are welcomed into a friendship, a team or an organization. Creating a sense of belonging is essential. Sometimes getting to that state of being is bumpy and precarious. Yet, when it’s achieved, the relief and joy that results are well worth the effort.

I see all this through the lens of my work and I’m seeing a parallel process unfold on the world stage.

We are living in a time where people are fleeing their homelands because of violence, war, and terror.  They are vulnerable, uncertain and scared. We are also witnessing the generosity of countries, communities and families open their arms in welcome. In Canada, our government is working diligently to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015. In London, Ontario, our community is actively planning to receive 200 refugees. 

The efforts of so many to wholeheartedly welcome these refugees is the embodiment of respect, generosity, compassion and love. It’s fuelled by our common humanity – the need to be safe, accepted, and welcomed.  The early stage of welcoming is all about meeting basic needs – food, shelter, housing, medical care and counselling supports. The longer term work will be to help these refugees create a sense of connection and community; to support them having a true sense of belonging in their newly adopted country.  How we welcome our newest citizens will set the tone for their experience in this new land.

This holiday season, Horizon Leadership has honoured our clients, associates, collaborators and champions by making a gift to the London & Middlesex United Way Fund for Syrian Refugees. It is a gift that will support the efforts to help settle the refugees into our community.

With sincere gratitude, thanks for being with me on the journey of life and leadership. It is an honour to be welcomed into your life, your leadership, your dreams, your journey, and your experiences. As the sun sets on 2015, enjoy this season of celebration.