LMNOP  (I love the alphabet)

I had a really big experience this week.  Interface Flor brought me in to New York for some workshops on “How Full Is Your Bucket?”    The Interface showroom is a beautiful facility with great design and all the stunning new products displayed.  That, in itself, was a treat.  The new carpet tiles are so beautiful and still are meeting the Zero Footprint goal of environmental Sustainability.  Congratulations to David Oakey and his design team.  I especially admired the pattern called “Vermont”.  Beautiful!!

But, the real reason I am writing is to tell you about an organization that I learned about during the meetings.   People have been losing jobs all across the country.  This story is about a group that came together in New York to meet the crucial need of some of those people who are without employment temporarily.  Specifically, these are designers and architects willing to help each other in the down-turn of this economic time.

LMNOP is the result of the innovative brainstorming of that small group.  I met several of them on this trip and wish I could meet all of them, for they are the kind of people who face “what is” and meet the need, no matter what their own discouraging situation might be.  That is the kind of pluck and courage that impresses everyone.  Kristen Mucci and co-founder Stephanie Chiuminatto were there at the beginning of LMNOP, along with the other co-founder, Jennifer Graham.  These women were at an event where they joined in the sharing of their loss of jobs.  As a result of that conversation, they came up with this stunning idea, “Why not create an organization where we can help one another while we are looking for work?”   After brainstorming awhile (wish I knew all the details of the birth of this project), they arrived at the brilliant idea–naming it LMNOP.  The acronym stands for Leadership, Mentoring, Networking, Opportunity for A&D Professionals.  You may know how much I love the alphabet, so this is the greatest idea ever, to me!  (Also, my new great grandson is named Lawson Paul, so that spans the series of letters from L to P.  Really hit me hard as a great thing.)

They are talking now of making it a non-profit organization, where people in the Architecture and Design Industry can turn to one another for help.  When you want to learn; when you need a mentor; when you want to spread the word about what you do; or when you want to search out new opportunities for jobs and services, LMNOP is there for you.

I grew up in the great depression and this is reminding me of the ways in which families, friends, and communities “made do” with what was, and we all got through it by being in it together.

We ARE all in it together.  If my neighbor is unemployed; if my friend has a need; if my family calls, then I am called to respond.  That’s the way I want to be.

One other conversation on this trip was interesting for me:  Someone asked if the Strengths based approach to life means that I can like everybody.  I respect such a question for it sort of suggests that my beliefs might be more like PollyAnna wearing rose colored glasses and not facing up to the hard facts of reality .  My reply was that I am a person who wants to “like”.  In other words, I do not want my credo, or my beliefs, or my manner of being, to be determined by someone else’s behavior.  So, whenever someone seems to be unlikeable, I go to that place of decision and choice.  I ask myself, how do I want to respond to this person?  My answer is that I want to be in the mode of liking–meaning, I want to give the benefit of the doubt without judgment.  I want to be coming from a loving heart, not a suspicious mind.  And, I have come to believe that when someone is being unlikeable, it usually means that they are off-track in their own purpose in life.  Being likeable or lovable is not the same as having to compulsively please everyone.  The neurotic drivers to be pleasing, be strong, or be perfect are conditions for false well-being.  Surely, I don’t have to convince you that you won’t please everyone, you are OK even if you are weak, and you can give up needing to be perfect.  It is really OK to make mistakes.  As Abraham-Hicks tells us, we weren’t wrong or bad, we just weren’t done yet.  So, every moment is a new beginning.

As a bonus, I discovered at the end of our meeting that Stephanie Chiuminatto, co-founder of LMNOP, is from Kingsville, TX.  I lived there many years and knew Stephanie’s grandparents and her parents!  I can remember that little girl, Stephanie, who now has grown up and is pursuing her career in New York City.  A small world!  Less than 3 degrees to that connectedness with each other.  We really are all in this together.