2020 has been a year of pausing, letting go, reflecting, listening, renewing, and recommitting. In many ways this year has been about laying the foundations for the tremendous opportunities emerging on the horizon.
The webinar series that we organized at the end of November / beginning of December beautifully encapsulated all of these dimensions. Taking the time to pause and deeply listen to the transformational stories of the transformational leaders we have been fortunate to work with over the past years was inspiring and a clear reminder that the time has come to further expand human potential development work into the world.
Reflecting back on this amazing experience, we realize that there was so much more going on beneath the surface which only now we can start to comprehend. In this retrospective we would like to share some of these insights with you and hope to open up a dialogue on how we can continue to support each other’s growth into our transformational leadership potential.
An unexpected “rite of passage”:
Throughout this process, we assumed that the main purpose of the series was to inspire the audience. The stories shared by our clients would help the audience see expanded possibilities for transformational leadership in their own lives. The focus was on the audience. However, could it be that this experience was equally significant for the speakers?
We realize now that for some of them, this may have been the first time that they revealed their inner process and stories in such a public way. Did we naively assume that participating in this webinar would be a natural extension of how they were showing up in their teams and organizations? Did we overlook the rite of passage that this invitation may have represented to them? In hindsight we can now sense how this could have been experienced as a stretch out of their comfort zone and, in doing so, a significant step in their development as transformational leaders.
This is an important reminder that the journey of a transformational leader always starts privately with a subtle inner impulse to bring more of who we are into what we do. Then it gradually expands outwards to impact our immediate sphere of influence (family, team, organization). As we start to see the results of our transformational leadership, we grow in confidence until we are naturally ready to take a step beyond. For example, Andrew Thornton, owner of Thornton Budgens supermarket in London, spoke about the plastic free initiative in his supermarket being an experiment he has already leveraged to inspire and persuade much larger retailers to do the same important work.
Could it be that the deep insights Laura Saldivar Luna (CPO at Teach for America) has gained about what it takes to shift an organizational culture are setting her up to become a champion for culture change at a societal level to foster larger systems change? Is Tanya Gonzalez’s extraordinary leadership in unleashing the resourcefulness of her team to respond to the great challenges brought on by the pandemic a blueprint for other organizations in the non-profit sector? Do KS Saravanvasan and his team hold the keys to unlocking the highest impact initiatives in an organization?
Looking at the webinar series through this lens makes us even more grateful for the gift of their courage and the significance of this process.
Releasing transformational energy:
The second unexpected discovery about the underlying potential of this series is the energetic impact it has had. Looking back, we can see that creating the space for these stories represented an unpacking, or unleashing, of energy. Prior to the webinar this release of energy was contained to the people directly involved in the projects. We would talk amongst ourselves about the lessons and insights but very little of it was visible to the outside.
By intentionally sharing the stories beyond our immediate circle we can witness the freed-up energy moving and expanding, gracefully reaching new people and inspiring new breakthroughs.
Proactively welcoming the “tipping point”:
The tipping point has always been a fascinating concept to us. It’s that moment when the NEW has developed to a point where it can naturally and effortlessly replace the OLD.
In the context of our work, I can imagine this happens when enough people have come to the conclusion that the kinds of interventions they have relied on in the past to achieve their objectives will no longer work to navigate their organizations into the future. Until now I have assumed there is very little I can do to influence the arrival of the tipping point, other than lay the foundations so we are ready to respond when it does eventually come.
The experience of this webinar has profoundly shifted the way I think about my relationship with this phenomenon. Releasing and freeing of this transformational energy has created a new openness to receive, and a more expanded awareness about the need for transformation?
I no longer see the tipping point as something “out there” that we need to “wait for”. Instead, I now look at it the other way around – as if it is waiting for us. Waiting for us to welcome it, from a deep place of groundedness, into the heart of our collective Being and Doing.
Without doubt, the time to do so is NOW. So dear tipping point, let 2021 be the year we proactively take steps towards each other, in partnership, so we can discover and co-create a thriving future for all.