Become the change you want to see

As a thinker, I can easily miss the point. You have to become the change you want to see.

Thinking is important and good thinking is crucial if we want to plan for positive, sustainable change. Yet currently there is a lot of rubbish thinking out there…

But even the best thinking isn’t enough. We have to do something with it.

Hence my dilemma. I can feel like I’ve done the work because I’ve done the thinking. However, we can’t get beyond ourselves with the thinking that got us here.

Recently I’ve been on a mini-adventure. Being intentionally more open to hearing and experiencing things that would free me up to become the change I believe is possible

The result? I crafted a phrase in a post earlier this week that seems to sum it up, and struck a chord with others too:

To become the change you want to see – find your friends, uncover your voice, and find a good space where you can flourish.

Find your friends

In the business of life, we can so easily be propelled by the imperative to just get on and do it. And our culture often frames that as ‘on our own’.

Frankly, there’s not a lot out there that cultivates real friendship. And where it does exist, it tends to be put into a box. Friendship and friends are for there, not for here…

Even more insidiously, we get the message that friends are for those who are too weak to make it on their own. Or that they are an appendage to make us look better.

The truth is we are designed for friendship. Deep friendship. We are not complete without each other.

Therefore, our becoming the change we want to see is not an autonomous exercise. However hard we try, we cannot unstick ourselves alone.

This week Steve and I have yet again experienced this in action. In meeting with some lovely friends who are committed to us and want us to succeed in our little valley here in South West Wales, we received insights that would’ve taken us years to get by ourselves. Not just ways of looking and listening, but also that inner resilience and release that comes from being deeply connected to others.

Free to be who we are. Secure enough to push the boat out into the deeper water

And it’s not just here. Friends we have across the globe, who we know in a different way, but whose impact on our lives is also profound.

Or those we reconnect with after years of absence. Who reminds us who we are, and who we can be.

People like us, who share values and dreams. Who believe the best in us and are ready to challenge us to realise that more fully.

What about our clients or those we serve? Actually, I’m looking for a quality of relationship that releases the best in them and helps them be the change they want to see. Whether through our Waterside Conversations, Quiet Disruptors, or our work with alpacas…

Uncover your voice

Our voice is more than just our words. In fact, our voice transcends language – fundamentally, it is a means of effecting change.

But it is often buried, sometimes so deep that we don’t even recognise it.

Without it, we cannot fully become the change we want to see, because we’re not clear about what is important to us. We don’t have an opinion that is worthy of who we are. And without that, all we produce is noise

I needed to be open to hearing things outside of my comfort zone, being challenged by voices that I thought were so different from mine.

In listening to James Victore open The Do Lectures this year – via live streaming – I needed to get beyond some of his language to hear what he was saying. His new book – Feck Perfuction: Dangerous Ideas on the Business of Life – took me further and gave me the push I need.

Here is the introduction to the first section, Voice:

Your voice is who you are. Maybe not the “you“ you carry around every day, but the one yelling from inside, demanding to be heard.

Your voice is the way you see the world and how you translate it back. When you train your voice and allow it to grow and be heard, that beautiful sound will carve a path for you to follow for life.

Conversely, if you fail to use your voice, others will be in charge of it. And you. Never give in, never surrender. Your voice is your most powerful tool.

This is more than finding your voice as if it’s like going into a bookstore to find a book. It starts from the premise that we have a unique voice. It’s just been buried and we need to begin to do the work of uncovering it.

Find a good space

Finally, we need to own the choices we make about finding a good space to thrive. Clearly this isn’t wave a magic wand territory, it’s a direction of travel, and it does involve hard decisions.

Choices about where we spend our time. Where we work, and the physical and psychological space we inhabit.

We cannot become the change we want to see if the environment we are in shuts us down… Unless our voice is a sledgehammer or wire cutter – and we would really need to know that!

Sometimes it’s about small changes that accumulate over time. Like choosing to walk, shifting a pattern of activity, or who we work with.

It’s also about the courage to say no. Space is not space if it’s full.

In our work here in the valley, we are choosing to let go of good ideas in order to be free to pursue the best. Fewer but more targeted.

I can guarantee that not everyone will understand, and the risk clearly feels real! But already we have a sense of release to do our best work with those it will make the most difference for.

Becoming the change we want to see in the world through our work and life.

Become the change

So what about you?

Is thinking the same as doing? Or are there steps you might take to become the change you want to see:

  • Find your friends
  • Uncover your voice
  • Find a good space where you can flourish

Thanks for reading


This week

I have been really challenged about listening and hearing this week, though as we come to the end I also recognise a sense of building momentum and I’m excited to see the fruit start to emerge.