In a recent blog entry I shared a story about a mother and her son who was being bullied at […]
When things are always the same, we can and do develop stable hierarchies in which people do highly repetitive work. […]
The enactment of committed purpose is much more powerful than words. When we courageously move forward we initiate the dynamics of cultural change. To do so is to empower one’s self.
We are empowered when we clarify our purpose. It is the moment when we finally say “This is who I am, this is where I going, and I will endure what I must endure in order to go there.”
Purpose can be animated by a question: What result do I want to create? It comes from Robert Fritz who […]
Occasionally there is a story of positive organizing that is so potent it must be told. On August 12th I […]
I once gave a talk about deep change to a group of venture capitalists and CEOs of start-up firms. A […]
We most empower our imagination when we link our minds to our deepest purpose.
We accept the world as it is, and we become what we behold.
There is a movie called The Help. It is about the condition of African American women in the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi. The women are all housemaids. The depiction of the everyday racism is jolting. The women are trapped in a hopeless system.
At the risk of extreme punishment, the maids are asked by an author to tell their stories. To do so means certain punishment. As events unfold the women find the courage to tell their stories. Their stories are published and become a part of the culture of the Civil Rights Movement.
Their circumstances do not improve, but, because they exercised their courage and told their stories, their lives are filled with increased meaning. They feel they are part of something bigger than themselves. They can therefore better endure their lot in life.
I am reminded of a sentence from Parker Palmer: “The greatest punishment we can inflict on ourselves is to conspire in the diminishment of our own potential.”
Many of us live in organizations just as the maids lived in Jackson. Full of fear we “conspire in the diminishment of our own potential.”
In contrast, we can learn how to engage in our own self-elevation. This does not happen through anger, resistance and rebellion. It happens through internal work. As we clarify our deepest purpose, increase our integrity and authenticity, orient to the needs of others and find ways to co-create a better future, we change and so does our context. We begin to grow in self-respect and recognize the expansion of our own potential. This kind of courageous work creates a new life story, one that is worth living and worth telling. We become more empowered and more empowering to our community.