Some interactions lead to meaningful learning. Anjan Thakor and I had the opportunity to collaborate with Steve Stine. Steve works for the Conference Board in Asia and is a deeply insightful man. A few days after the session with the Asian executives, Steve let us know that the participants showed more interest than in any other session he has done with them. When we asked for an explanation, Steve wrote a most interesting response.
“Your question is timely. I went back to The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken – a prophetic piece of work first written in 1994 and as real and right today as it was then.”
“Somewhere in the book he quotes Gordon Sherman, the founder of Midas mufflers, who in the mid-1970s made a rather startling confession. He said: “We spend our lives evading our own redemption. And this is naturally so because something in us knows that to be fully human we must experience pain and loss. Therefore, we are at ceaseless effort to elude this high cost, whatever the price, until at last it overtakes us. And then, in spite of ourselves, we realize our humanity. We are put in worthier possession of our souls. Then we look back and know that even our grief contained our blessing.”
Steve then commented; “I think that’s where we are, and everyone knows it. We’ve run amuck on the environment and on each other and it’s time for some comeuppance. We need to make things right and corporations – I believe – are the tip of the arrow and a crises is a great starting point for change and revision.”
Steve is correct. We have run amuck. Polarization is everywhere. We need, at every level, a sense of meaningful purpose and we need to operate in networks of life-giving connections. The grief we feel is ever more observable. As it grows leaders will emerge and they will inspire us to operate from our own humanity. It is a predictable future that will emerge in unlikely settings. We can play a role in the process.
In working with Steve, Anjan and I also did a podcast on Purpose. You may find it helpful. Regardless, please note the other wonderful podcasts done by Steve. They are full of useful insights.