Stanley Kunitz, an American poet who twice
held the post of U.S. Poet Laureate, wrote
The Layers towards the end of his life. This
haunting poem depicts his experience with
aging and loss, and through the poem we are
taught the life lesson to “live in the layers, not
the litter.” No doubt, we all can identify with
the tendency to focus on the litter versus the
interpersonal growth that evolves from “each
layer” or each event we face.
This focus can have a strong effect on how
you are as a teammate. Whether you are
a team lead or a member of a team, your
contributory value is tucked within the layers
of your life, with each layer representing
events in time, such as your struggles or your
successes. Think about the layers of rock that
make up the walls of a canyon. These layers
BY CAROL BROOKS, SR/WA
Adjusting your focus to be a better teammate
are not only beautiful; they are a record of
the canyon’s ancient history, with each layer
telling the story of a different geological era.
It seems to me that our lives take us through
different “geological eras.” Each one leaves
a layer of evidence about what happened
during that time, what we did and what was
done to us.
Of course, most of us have eras we would
wish to forget—and becoming preoccupied
with the “litter” that’s always on the surface of
our lives gives us an easy excuse to do exactly
that. These layers form the quality of our
contributory value and its impact to our team.
Therefore, it’s imperative that we discipline
ourselves to let life to create amazing layers
within us and in turn, this allows us to offer
our best to others.
LIVE IN THE LAYERS,
NOT THE LITTER