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Dear Friends,

It's June already, which seems weird. Months are irrelevant — my children aren't studying for exams and getting excited about their school vacation because there are no exams and they have been home since March. Summer is irrelevant — there will be no farmer's markets, no trips to Toronto Island or anyone's cottage, no swimming. I don't know about ice cream trucks – maybe there will be ice cream trucks?

But anyway, regardless of months and seasons, there is work to be done. In one of the many, many articles I've read lately about how to be anti-racist I came across this quote by Jamila Woods:
 
I think white people who want to take public action should start to asset map. Rather than being frozen in guilt and thinking about what you ‘can’t do’ or how daunting action may seem, think of all the skills you have and all the communities and spaces you have access to. How can you utilize your assets to create real impact for Black liberation?

The term "asset map" was new to me, but the idea is familiar. Today's newsletter is about how to create a personal asset map, to apply to the challenge of being anti-racist or anything else you're working on.
Three white camels against a background of shrubs and white foothills.

What's In Your Hand?

"Asset map" is a term from community organizing – it refers to a structured assessment of the full spectrum of assets a community holds, including physical assets, financial assets, stories, people, and local organizations. Asset mapping is done when a community is facing a challenge, and it's very familiar to me as a coach because it's also an important step in facing a personal challenge.

Coaching is about crossing the gap between your current state and a desired future state. One of the first steps of that work is to clearly understand both states: where, exactly, you are now, and where, exactly, you want to get to.

Asset mapping is part of gaining clarity about your current state, and just as with community development, there are a few different facets to consider in mapping your personal assets.


Strengths and Values


Why not start in the middle of everything, with yourself? Knowing your strengths and values is essential when taking on a challenge. I've written about strengths and values before, so you might already know that my favourite strengths assessment is Gallup CliftonStrengths and my favourite values assessment (which is also a strengths assessment) is the VIA Survey on Character Strengths. I also created a handy list of values with a suggestion of how to use it to understand your values. (I know, I said before I don't like lists of values, but my thinking has evolved!)


Experience


What have you done before? What challenges have you overcome? What skills did you develop? Your personal history is a powerful asset, both in terms of lessons learned and as inspiration: if I learned that, I can learn this; if I overcame that, I can overcome this; if I survived that, I can survive this.


Relationships


In the discovery session (the first session I have with a client) I always ask about my client's important relationships. It's a way to get to know them better, but it also gives us both an idea of what kind of support they have.

Relationships offer moral, emotional, and logistical support, and they also connect us to opportunities, resources, and other people. And if your goal includes spreading an idea or message, then your relationships — as a sphere of influence — are vital as a target and conduit for that.

When you assess your relationships as an asset, think about who you know through family and work, the folks you know through professional organizations as well as hobbies, clubs and teams, and of course your connections through social media.


Resources: Money, Time, Energy


Knowing the state of your financial resources will give you an idea of what you can  invest in this new challenge. Can you take a course, or buy a book? Can you afford to send out your laundry to buy yourself a couple more hours to work on it? Can you buy the best widget, or will a second-hand widget do for now? Can you donate money? Can you hire someone?

How much time can you commit to the effort every day? Every week? Is the time available in ten minute blocks, or can you devote a contiguous hour or two — or a whole day?

Managing energy is just as important as managing time, and it helps to know what times of day are best for you. Committing to wake up half an hour early to do your thing is no use if you're always zoned out for two hours after you wake up. Give yourself and your goal a chance by figuring out how to channel good quality energy into it.

So there you have it. When you embark on something, whether it's changing yourself or changing the world, start by figuring out what you can bring to the game.

What's NewStriding purposefully into a better future I hope

I'm still thinking about the role of anti-racism in coaching and the role of coaching in anti-racism. I think both have great potential. (I'm also thinking about performative allyship, and trying to be mindful of not doing that.)

Workwise things are... sluggish. I'm not sure if I should be worried or if it's just part of the rhythm of getting started. Or the pandemic, maybe. But I'm keeping busy with professional development and networking (i.e., going to every Zoom get-together I hear about).

Did I mention I designed packages? It was a great exercise to narrow down my market and get clear on what coaching can do for my clients.

Fun and Interesting

  • I am very wedded to the idea that I’m a good person. Liane Davey is an organizational psychologist and consultant (and neighbourhood mom). She wrote a vulnerable, frank letter to herself about how to be a leader as a white person in the face of systemic racism. (Among other things, she addresses why "ask a person, not a search engine" is not good advice in this case.) Conversations About Racism [lianedavey.com]
  • Comedian/vlogger/writer Franchesca Ramsey's five-year-old video about being an ally goes down quick and easy, and then you can go down the rabbit hole of her other videos. 5 Tips for Being an Ally [youtube.com]
  • Tossing everything that isn’t just right in the moment is its own kind of privilege. Clutter is unfashionable, but as Amanda Mull writes in The Atlantic, now that we're home all the time, some people are reconsidering their relationship with their stuff. The End of Minimalism [theatlantic.com]

Thank you for reading this far!

If you like what you read, hit reply and let me know, or forward it and let someone else know. If you have questions or comments, hit reply and let me know. If you have seen something interesting out there, hit reply and let me know. Are you seeing a trend here? If so... hit reply and let me know! I look forward to hearing from you. ❤️

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Copyright © 2020 Amy Rhoda Brown Coaching, All rights reserved.


I live and work on land which for thousands of years has been part of the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat. Today, this meeting place is still home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island, and I am glad to be able to live and work here.

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