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Appreciate change

September: neither summer nor fall. Its warm days and cool nights call to mind the season just ended, the season soon to begin. In one word: transition.

Coping with seasonal change is a lot easier than making changes in the way we live, the way we look at the world. Often, doubt creeps in. During any significant transition, when the outcome is unknown, who doesn't yearn for certainties?

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Our cover story (right) deals with managing positive change. It looks at how an individual first makes radical changes in himself or herself, and then, effects change in others.

Laurent Belsie recounts the experiences of Bliss Browne of Imagine Chicago. He examines the growing recognition of her accomplishment: a successful example of practicing the social theory of "appreciative inquiry." Its principles empower individuals to look at what's good in themselves, in others, in their community, and then to bring about positive change in light of what's good.

Each of us can point to one person we know who made a tremendous difference in our lives. I recall my first boss after I had left home. (I was hired for what I knew, rather than for what I would do after I was trained.)

He had lost his father while in grade school. Being kind, offering help, taking chances with young people whom he couldn't possibly know (he hadn't met me more than two minutes, and he made a serious commitment by the responsibility he gave me) was what he lived to do.

I thanked him. He looked me straight in the eye, almost fiercely, and said if he spent the rest of his life trying, he could never repay all the people who helped him before he turned 18.

Imagine a world of such individuals. Let the seasons change.


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