Dear You (Dear Us)
There are times when you just have to get something—anything—down on paper to figure it out. When you need to have a moment to just take all of the chaos and think through it as clearly as possible, line by line.
That’s why I started writing this letter. To you. To us.
I have to be honest—even though I’m currently inside of my house, (which I am lucky to have), and even though I’m currently using my kitchen counter as a desk, (and am grateful to even be working, alongside my team, to make sure everyone is cared for)—the air isn’t tranquil. Not right now.
And maybe it’s because all of us are “hunkering down”—whatever that means now. (In Scottish 1720, the word ‘hunkering’ meant to crouch or to crawl). A lot of us feel like that. Like we’re moving awkwardly forward, with the discomfort of so many unknowns.
We’re confused. We’re trying to host conference calls against a chorus of frustrated babies. We’re working with family members and friends in the same rooms or we’re separated by miles from the people who matter most to us. We check the news. Worry. We call our parents. Worry. We send an email to a partner. Worry.
There’s an invisible viral thing that has happened to us and it’s changed how we work and live. It’s thrown away the thin curtain that once tenderly separated our professional lives from our private ones.
Minutes and hours and days of it. We’re not used to this amount of rapid change.
Many of us are completely exhausted.
Black Sheep is an agency that’s been driven by making an impact for the last 11 years. Every project we take on is focused on “activating people around things that matter.”
But to activate people, you have to plan. You have to strategically forecast the next few months and even years to build excitement, create momentum, organize volunteers, share powerful stories from community voices, and all of the other small and large details that make it all come together to create a sea of change.
At Black Sheep, our work often helps clients shift from a reactive to a proactive seat—and it gives them a great deal of power to have that control. But right now, we can’t be proactive, and we’re not exactly reactive either. We’re just in that middle zone—that crouching zone. We’re just active.
We’re taking the steps that feel good right now. For the next few minutes. Hours. Days. Months.
We have to depend on each other in ways we weren't expecting. We have to ask for help when we need it. We have to give more than we usually do—and stretch our resources while also protecting ourselves.
So for the next few months, we’re moving forward with this mindset—the opposite of worry is action.
So here’s to the “right-now-action plans” we know you're working on. The company statements. The team checklists. The instant work-from-home plans. The real-time decisions in the middle of so many unknowns.
We’re living in the action.
Wednesday, March 25, I hosted Activating in the Unknown—a digital gathering over Zoom where thinkers, industry leaders and perfect strangers joined me for a short lunchtime chat. We spoke about messaging updates, events, company culture and more. And, y'all. It felt great.
We plan on doing another round soon. You can see a recording of our first conversation here and sign up to stay informed on future talks.
Impact-driven businesses are always short on the most important resources: time, money, people. Now, they’re going to be suffering in those categories even more. Let’s continue a conversation about what we can all do to help meet our collective needs.
Because that’s what we can do (right now) while we take care of our clients, our family and friends.
Y’all—we can do this. Together.