What is Creating the Future? And what language will answer that question with both the essence of who we are AND the power of that essence?
Last month, two very wise souls – Dave Svet and Zach Braiker – spent a combined 3 hours asking insightful and probing questions, setting us on the path to answer those questions. This Friday, those two will be joined by Erica Mills, as we continue the journey to – as Zach Braiker’s company name suggests – refine and focus. (Click here for details to watch and/or participate in that meeting, and for links to the videos of our January meetings.)
As you can tell in the videos of those two sessions, (through our words and oh goodness through our body language), Dave and Zach had us thinking along paths we have not traveled before. From those sessions, the following thoughts and questions seem to be at the heart the work ahead:
To date, as an organization and as a board, we have eschewed the definition of Creating the Future as an organization in anything but legal structure. We have known that to accomplish our mission – that social change efforts actually create the world we all want – that we must be more starfish than spider – more distributed than hierarchical in the way we do our work, more node than hub. But having a sense of what we are NOT does not mean we have a sense of what we ARE. If we are not an organization except legally, what ARE we?
To date, what we ARE has felt more like a movement. But that raises many more questions than it answers.
• What is the movement?
• What is our role in it?
• What is our relationship to the people in it – and specifically, with whom?
• And lastly, what are the implications for other organizations and individuals who feel boxed in by how they define themselves / are defined by others?
These questions aren’t new – Creating the Future’s board has been pondering these questions for over a year. The joy has been to have Dave and Zach, and now Erica, coax the answers out of us in ways that only gifted and seasoned pros can do – asking and then asking again and then asking differently. Probing, tenaciously bringing us back to consider more deeply, not letting go. And doing all of it in the spirit of true advocates, in a way that says, "I believe in this cause, and I want to believe even more. Help me to do that."
And so, as we prepare for this Friday’s meeting, here is what we have unearthed.
Creating the Future is a community.
It is a community of people who are working inside of and participating in a movement to create a world where all beings live well, individually and collectively (our vision).
That movement exists in the environmental movement and the Occupy movement and in all the various movements to bring humanity and our planet to their potential in all ways.
Our relationship to that movement – and our role in it – is to support and amplify and nurture it to its potential – to accomplish its mission, and to arrive at the peaceful, healthy, vibrant world we all want.
We are not sparking or catalyzing, because the movement is already plenty sparked. We are helping it achieve its deepest desires, while it is already in motion. The image that arises is a pit crew on a race track. The race is in motion. We’re adding the fuel and the support to win.
A community of people who are supporting and amplifying and accelerating the movement to create a world where everyone lives well, individually and collectively.
That feels so right – not polished or finished, and with many questions arising from that. But the sense that we are participating in, doing our part – that feels right. And all of that wrapped in the realization – duh – that what we are is a community – oh my that feels right.
And what that means as we head into this Friday’s meeting is that the relationships we are seeking – and the language that will help describe those relationships – are all “co” relationships.
- Co-educators and co-learners.
- Co-conveners and engagers.
- Co-supporters and co-amplifiers and co-accelerators.
Oh my what a session this Friday will be!
If you are reading this post, you, too, are a member of this community. If you can join us on Friday, to keep exploring how to talk about what this community is doing to participate in the movement – and to more clearly identify specifically with whom we are (and want to be) in relationship to accomplish that, please join us. Details are here.
Which leads to the questions that matter most in this journey:
- Is it close, or are we off base? (We know that just because something feels right doesn’t mean it is anywhere near complete…)
- What does this spark for you? What aha’s does it raise? What stands out?
- And what might implications be for other groups and individuals who are uncomfortable in their own skin, but can’t quite identify what to move towards?
Our gratitude to Dave Svet and Zach Braiker for peeling back the layers and rewiring our thinking, to uncover even just this much essence, is unimaginably huge. And our thanks to all the members of Creating the Future's community, who participated in the meetings with Zach and Dave, helping us clarify and think things through. We can’t wait to have Erica Mills join the team this Friday, as we seek language that truly represents our goals and dreams for what we can accomplish.