A Cascade of Goodwill

A Cascade of Goodwill

The Origins of My First-Occasional, Not-Scientific-but-Definitely-True List of Inspiring, Courageous and/or Thought-Provoking Awesomeness. 

I love collective nouns.

A flock of geese. A quarrel of sparrows. A charm of finches. A parliament of owls.

One morning a couple weeks back, I experienced a series of events that needs a collective noun. A [     ] of [            ]. A magnificence of inspiration. A serendipity of kindness. A cascade of goodwill.

I can’t remember exactly what was featured on the buffet of worrisome global events and troubling domestic fear-mongering that week. But I do remember, over the course of the day, being heartened by several bright spots of generosity in unrelated corners of my life:

  • I exchanged a few quick notes with Jason Clark of King County Credible MessengersWhether it’s leading a workshop, sharing stories in a peacemaking circle, or posting stuff to Facebook, Jason is constantly shining a light on the young leaders, colleagues, mentors and teachers who inspire him. He’s part of a network of people who are working together–locally and across the U.S.–to end the broken system of mass incarceration, to support healing, and to foster thriving communities. (And, in moments of radiant dad-joy, he also sprinkles in sweet updates about adventures with his beloved and spirited two-year-old daughter.) I’ve learned a lot from Jason over the past couple of years, especially from his ability to speak from the heart about hard things, to look for the good in people (myself included), and to deliberately and repeatedly choose positivity.
  • I saw a post by the storytellers and mentor profilers at Young Women Empowered. In a media landscape littered with rage and disdain, Y-WE highlights voices that are focused, resourceful, and actively working toward a more just and humane world. I love seeing artists and activists who are unapologetically speaking truth to power, and are working to create communities of deep belonging for diverse young women. It’s a great reminder that good things are happening, and young people are coming together in powerful ways.
  • I went on a group run with my some of my Running Evolution peeps, and had a great conversation with my running pal Samantha Palladino. Samantha is an amazing teacher, and she shares stories about the conversations that her kindergarten students have about what to do when they make mistakes, what to do if they feel lonely, and how to help newcomers make friends (friendship benches, people!). These small humans have so much compassion, and lovely flashes of profound wisdom. Hearing about her classroom fills me with hope, and reminds me about the seeds of goodness that are in all of us. (While I’m at it, a shout-out to Coach Beth for bringing together a super-encouraging, interesting group of running-inclined people from across Seattle.)
  • I saw a newsletter from Angela Powell of Imago. Angela has a refreshingly honest and insightful voice that’s grounded in courage and celebrates authenticity. She talks about using “I don’t know” as the jumping off point for creative problem solving, and she uses her newsletter to feature some of the artists, activists, and poets who have been sources of strength for her. I love that it connects me to some new sources of creative inspiration, and it also reminds me of other teachers, writers, and musicians who’ve offered comfort and hope over the years.

All this in a day.

On its own, each was a delight. Together, they were a giant light bulb over my head.

Sometimes, the medicine we need is just a gentle reminder about the kindness and courage that exists in the world. About regular people doing what they can–in their corners of the world–to contribute to a more just and humane world.

And, especially, this series of experiences reminded me about the power of shining a light.

It made me sit down and make a list of some of the people, organizations, artists, activists and teachers who inspire me. It’s a great exercise (I totally recommend it), and I’m going to share some of them in upcoming posts. But first, I wanted to shine a light on the four people who inspired this.

So, thanks, Angela, Samantha, Jason, and the behind-the-scenes person/team at Y-WE, for approaching your work with such courage, kindness, and generosity. Thanks, for taking the time to shine a light on others, and for–unknowingly–creating a cascade of goodwill. All the best for a year of bold questions, courageous possibilities, and meaningful contributions to a more equitable and humane world.


YOUR TURN: I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • What organizations, people, artists, activists, writers, teachers, etc. have you been inspired by, and why?

Please share your comments below. Thanks!


PS: Two other things.


If you’re looking for inspiration and a tangible way to support the next generation of creative change-makers, inclusive community-builders, and courageous leaders:

La Festa del Arte, Friday, March 22nd, 6-11pm, Fremont Studios (Seattle)

If you want to support community-and-creativity-and-justice-building work (AND have a fabulous night out, with an inspiring show, delicious nibbles, and a fun crowd), please join me and my partner Forrest and a fantastic community for La Festa del Arte, in support of Arts Corps.

Creating art can be an act of healing, connection, and transformation. I know it because I’ve experienced it, and I’ve witnessed it throughout my life, in times of grief, celebration, heartbreak, and wonder. And when we make art collectively, we can transform schools, neighborhoods, and beyond. That’s the work that Arts Corps does.

Tickets are available here. You’re welcome to join our cross-pollinating group of colleagues and friends, please just let me know so that we can include you in the introductory emails of who’ll be at the table with you! 🙂


If you’re looking to expand your own leadership capacity and you enjoy the camaraderie of learning alongside other great folks, this program might be a great fit:

Gauge Leadership Lab, A 12-week series starting March 15 (Seattle).

This program weaves together a powerful 360° leadership assessment, 1:1 coaching, three full-day workshops, and weekly assignments to amplify your learning and put ideas into action. Gather with a small group of peers to deepen your self-awareness, expand your capacity, and strengthen your network. If you’re interested, or you know someone who might be, let’s talk.


Sara Lawson is a consultant, coach, facilitator, and the creator of Gauge Leadership Lab (Seattle series starts on March 15; London series starts March 28). She is passionate about the role that mission-inspired companies and organizations have in strengthening communities. She also knows that leadership can be fulfilling AND frustrating, even for dedicated, skilled, and creative people. You can reach Sara HERE.

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