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Behind The Scenes

Power in Presence

by Renee Dunn 12 Feb 2020
Power in Presence

Sealing another bag of Salted Olive Oil plantain chips, I looked up and saw the hustle and bustle of our new factory in Zirobwe. Teams of 4 were split up into various tables; packing, building cases, all the while team members in the other room were manning ovens, sorting and sanitizing farmer fruit deliveries, and prepping jackfruit…. 

I was transported back to the last time I was sealing a package of our chips. Standing at a table working through the night at local commercial kitchens and bakeries with my dad and a small team of college students, picking plantain chips one by one as we sorted through batches upon batches of inconsistent quality. I remember feeling so trapped in those moments - the dread of the inefficiency, with no end, no solution in sight. I thought it was going to be like that forever.

Then, it hit me - this was less than a year ago. Less. than. a. YEAR. ago. I was forced to take in this humbling moment. 

It’s easy to get swept up in the day-to-day, wherein I often question whether I’m ever really doing anything. I’m fixated on the next thing, the “but’s” and “what if’s.” Regularly losing the forest in the trees. The intoxicating combination of impatience, the need to always do more, to feel direction and SEE progress. 

Ultimately, though, I believe it stems from the difficulty I have with being present. With truly receiving. And honestly, even as I sit down to write this, I’m having a hard time letting myself receive this. 

Because it’s scary. To see an entire team of dedicated Ugandans, grinding away at their first full-sized PO, excited by the opportunity in front of them. To think that I have this kind of support. That so many people have worked so hard to bring this vision into reality. To recognize, to accept, to hold responsibility and space for this kind of trust….

Yes, it’s scary. It means letting go of the familiar - the draining comfort of daily tasks or looking for fires to put out, the cycles of anxiety, the excuse of being busy, the playing small. 

And scary as it may be, this presence filled me with so much validation. I must have the power to create more than I think I do. 

Presence is a call to action. A call to receive what’s real. I am SO lucky, so honored that people have believed in what Amazi stands for to mobilize in this way. 

In the wake of my trip, I’ve been working to remove myself from the hamster wheel of the day-to-day spin, to find a new rhythm now that this facility has come to life. I know that the leaps and bounds are there for us, thanks to the support of 30+ production employees, 200+ farmers, my amazing family and team. 

I’m trying to hold onto the immense gratitude and deep humility that I felt at this moment, packaging with the team at the factory in Zirobwe. Receiving the moments that show progress, connection, leadership; resisting the urge to push them away and instead letting them be the ones to stick. 

And the good news is - this practice doesn’t just apply to strung out entrepreneurs. I invite you today to notice how you accept, receive, prioritize presence. Try to step out of your hamster wheel, and see how far you’ve come. 

There is power in presence.






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