When studying the various psychological theories during my college years; I became enamored of Gestalt psychology – primarily that the “whole is other than the sum of the parts” (Kurt Koffka) . Or as it has been defined over the years, albeit incorrectly, the “whole is greater than the sum of the parts”.
This article is not about Gestalt in any of its forms; but basically it relates to the human tendency to make order out of chaos (where have we heard that before?), especially when it comes to the human mind and our perceptions of reality. Many of us are familiar with some of the images used in Gestalt to demonstrate how the human mind orders our perceptions, i.e. the “old woman vs the young woman”. But again, that’s not the subject of today’s article.
This is one of the those days when i didn’t have a clue what to write about with reference to the re-ordering of our company organization even though I promised to do so over the next several weeks. Mind a blank with an unspoken prayer in my heart usually means the answer to a dilemma is forthcoming if only I’ll be still.
What holds us together? That was the first question that arose from the silence. Since I first sat to write in 2007, a group of women have gathered round and many have stayed connected in one way or another throughout the years. That coming together morphed into Affiliated Women International (AWI) and brought women together face to face for more than business & financial reasons.
Online became the “Connection Station”, a NING-powered platform that looked and felt much like early versions of Facebook. It gave the group of women who gathered round opportunities to connect with each other and become a “tribe” of like-minded women in business – of all ages, passions, desires and destinies!
In the beginning, it was free. Then there was a fee to being part of the tribe. Now it’s a bit of both; some parts free – others at a minimal cost to participate. And herein lies the question I asked this a.m. as this post began to take shape and form.
“What keeps folks hanging out and around at minimum cost even if most of what they do is “hang out”? I ask that question because I note it is the case with some in and around AWI – and now AWI Neighborhood Boutiques! And that’s how I arrived at “Gestalt psychology”. Or the total is other than (more than; greater than) the sum of the parts. Here’s some of my thoughts:
- It is deeper than just making a dollar or two. . .
- It is intrinsic to our basic human need to connect, i.e. be part of a “tribe” of like-minded women. . .
- It is an unstated need to know there’s a safe place to go when the going gets rough. . .
- It is more important than the stated “mission” of an organization when the organization builds trust, honesty, integrity and compassion into the fabric of it’s life. . .
- It “feeds the soul” as one woman has said. . .
- To leave would create a sense of loss that many would not want to experience – regardless of how much (or little) they take advantage of what’s offered. . .
- It binds me to something larger than myself although I’m hard-pressed to say what that is. . .
- There’s something in it that is more than the individual parts of the whole. . .
There’s nothing unusual about such a phenomenon. I’ve done it, and I know many others who have as well. Yet when it’s those around AWI, the Boutiques and COFFEE in the NEIGHBORHOOD; I wonder. And I ask the question that culminated in this morning’s post.
Look at the most popular social media locations and ask yourself why you’re part of this one versus another. The same is true of face to face organizations, including our choice of places to worship.
It’s all about connections. While conducting business and adding to our bottom line is important (and it is); what appears to be as – or more important, is the feeding of our souls.
And someone once said something about the successes we achieve when we seek first that which is ultimately most important. I’m suspecting that if we are to get to the bottom of what holds us together – we’ll find it’s much more than the sum of any part of the whole. In fact, more important than the whole itself!
Perhaps the image depicting our organization ought be held together by arms intertwined. What do you think?
Better still, would the same be true of the organizations you hold onto without giving thought to why?
Linda S. Fitzgerald, CEO & Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Neighborhood Boutiques-OPEN for YOUR BUSINESS
Specializing in PROMOTING Women in Micro-Business Worldwide
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://neighborhoodboutiques.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/linda-google-NB-profile-pic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I have a ‘fiery’ passion to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]
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