I have been an entrepreneur for 25 years. Aside from my first company, "Wordsmith & Co.," which sported a cute little design of a hand writing out its own direction, which was represented in a peripatetic spiral scribble, I have little imagination when it comes to naming my companies. Mainly, I just give them my last name, which is an okay last name (if I do say so myself).
For me it conjures up images of fluffy dough and pastries, Mickey and the three hapless bakers from "In the Night Kitchen," Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street," childhood nursery rhymes (“pat-a-cake baker man,” “the butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker…”), and the neighborhood where I raised my children and amicably divorced their father through the use of a kind and measured mediator.
When the idea for this company came to me, I was determined not to just call it Baker Consulting or Baker Mediation Services or Amy Baker, Family Advocate, which is what my notebook was full of for days. Boring.
“But it does the job,” advised one of my friends.
Well, it does and it doesn’t. It tells you my name and sort of my framework, but I wanted something to embody the essence of what I believe my work to be about.
I began writing down the words that I believed were driving that essence. To make a map. To think in the context of keywords.
Communication. Dialogue. Linguistics. ---> Dialectic.
Synergy. Trauma. Poverty.
Equity. Esteem. Education. Freedom.
What is right? What is good? What is true?
Aurelius. Kant. Hume. Kierkegaard.
Plato. Nietzsche. Buddha. Confucius. Ghandi. King.
Dignitas. Integritas. Veritas.
These mapping keywords came down to Dignity, Integrity, and Truth.
This is the work of a mediator and a family advocate. It comes down to treating each person with Dignity, or worthiness, especially when they may not be at their very best. By approaching one another in each person’s own esteemed value, to believe unequivocally, in their worthiness, raises the bar in their own belief that they are worthy and of value, and in turn, opens up the possibility that they will, in fact, move toward treating others with dignity.
Integrity is that internal level of honesty combined with the willingness and fortitude to do what’s right. Doing what’s right is very often not about winning, but a moral and ethical commitment to find a way through, not around. This is frequently the personal work needed to navigate conflict, within family dynamics and couple disputes. (For more on integrity in business, go to Forbes Magazine.)
Then there is Truth, which is not really the opposite of a lie. A lie is its own thing and undermines the ability of trust, not truth. Truth is a continuum on which lays perspective and values. This is a critical pivot for people in conflict. Where one thinks his or her truth is the way events happened, the other thinks that is an obfuscation or obscuring of the truth, if not an outright lie. There is no access in this thought process or gateway to dialogue.
The key is to sort out the facts of an event and to work out perceptions and feelings that arose from that event. Thoughts, perceptions, and feelings are individual...and true. Assigning blame and intention and negative bias to the other party is an offshoot of an emotional reaction, and not necessarily true. It is a constructed narrative that, if not fact-checked, blocks open and direct communication efforts because the accused becomes mired in conflict and accusation. Understanding these differences has a way of unblocking dead-end communication patterns. (For more on relative truth, go to Psychology Today.)
The D-I-V Design Agency, LLC was created specifically with these principles in mind. These principles of Dignitas - Integritas - Veritas bear fruit in the self-determined design of your life, whether you want to build up your relationship and to learn and become aware of your communication style and needs and your partner/sibling/parent/child’s, or whether it comes to dissolving it.
There is agency to these principles within the context of our work. Yes, we are an “agency” that does business in family advocacy, but I am also referring to the Latin agentia, which means “doing,” or the action or intervention of producing a particular effect. In the case of my work as a family advocate, the particular effect I wish to produce is lowered conflict and higher self-determination through dialogue, not forceful debate.
My hope is that in working together, you are able to choose, without regret, the course of your life, as both an individual and within the context of relationship, even if that relationship is dissolving. Opening blocked communication endeavors holds the potential to provide relief, understanding, and compassion within your existing relationship to yourself and others, and it most certainly opens the potential for compassion and lowered dis-ease within the angst of dissolving one.