FOCUS: A Person Among People

DISCIPLINES: Team Learning, Mental Models, Personal Mastery, Systems Thinking

You can't play a symphony alone, it takes an orchestra to play it.
—Navjot Singh Sidhu

A Memory

Once when I was 11 years old, my father heard me practicing my violin and asked, “What is that? It doesn’t sound like a song at all.” And he was right. I was practicing my 2nd violin part for the All-City Youth Orchestra concert. By itself, it wasn’t much. The music only came when I played my part with all of the other kids playing their parts on their instruments. Then it was thrilling. It was a symphony and I was part of it.

A Pilgrimage

I thought of this experience from more than 50 years ago while I was in Israel a couple of weeks ago on Baha’i Pilgrimage. Bahai’s from around the world are encouraged to go on a 9 day Pilgrimage to the Baha’i World Center in Haifa, Israel, at least once in their lives. You sign up and wait about 5 years, and this was our time!

My friend Stephanie had suggested I make a list of people I wanted to pray for while in Israel. I started the list on the long plane trip over there, and was amazed at the process. I started with dear friends and family, those I knew were experiencing challenges. Then I moved to neighbors, colleagues, fellow board members, old friends. As I added people, I thought of them, wondered about them, worried for them, smiled, and kept going…the list wrote itself and was long! Both on the plane and later, when I actually prayed for the people on my list, I was touched by the deep feeling that I am connected to a lot of people. By myself, I make very little music. But in relationship with others I make rich, sometimes unusual harmonies!

The Pilgrimage itself is worth describing. Every 3 weeks close to 400 Baha’is from around the world arrive in Haifa for a Pilgrimage. People came from all over the US and 24 other countries, as far flung as DR Congo, Greenland, Macau, Australia, Venezuela, and France. There are meticulously orchestrated small group tours of historical and holy Baha’i sites and beautiful gardens. It is hard to describe the experience of being part of that diverse group – on a spiritual journey: a person among people, a small part in the orchestra of the world.

A Miracle

Since coming home, everything is easier. Everything. I don’t know exactly why, but I think it has to do with feeling really clear about what’s important to me: people and service, adding my little piece to the music.

Coaching Questions

  1. Consider making a list of all the people in your life. Dwell a minute on each one, sending them good energy or saying a little prayer. What do they mean to you?

  2. What is your part in the orchestra of life? What do you bring? How can you put it together with others to make great music?


  • Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore more deeply the implications of being a person among people. Call Tuesday, July 28 at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific) 1-218-862-1300 PIN 276583. No need to register…just call at that time!
  • Robert Fritz, who wrote the classic book, The Path of Least Resistance, is offering a webinar sponsored by Pegasus Communications on July 23. Robert Fritz is one of my favorite systems thinkers. I’m going to be there. Please consider attending as well. Entitled A Conversation with Robert Fritz: The Path of Least Resistance, Changing the Structural Dynamics of Your Organization, I think you’ll find even the description fascinating: Here’s the link:
  • A wonderful group is living out the idea of making music by adding each person’s little piece – from street musicians around the world. Listen to some of their magic at I keep watching their DVD over and over because it moves me so much!

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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