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November 17, 2020

Cartoon of two-headed man in business suit, each head speaking - a thought bubble coming from their mouths, left blank for us to fill in what we think they're saying. All to indicate one person saying two different things at once.

What are the values you want to see in the world?
Is that what you're modeling?


Before we dive in, a quick announcement:

We want your insights!
This week’s eJournal about Integrity is timely for the work Creating the Future’s board has been doing. At our last meeting, we began reworking our values statement to be more explicit about what we stand for, to align our actions with our intentions.

That values statement will be the guide that holds us accountable for all our actions, from our programs to the recruitment of new board members. We hope you will help craft that statement, to ensure that your voice is included in our decisions and actions. Please add your thoughts here.

Aligning with Integrity to Create a Future Different from our Past
The simplest definitions of “integrity” generally focus on consistency of intentions and action, of words and deeds – or as we say around here, consistency of walk and talk.

The opposite of integrity is hypocrisy – saying one thing and doing another. While it is easy to see hypocrisy in others (especially politicians), none of us likes to think of ourselves as hypocrites. And we especially don’t appreciate having it pointed out to us!

Our own board has been exploring what it means to have integrity be its primary work. For example, what does it mean to center equity and justice in the board’s work, when our small board as it currently stands is mostly white? These conversations are indispensable if we are to BE the change we want to see in the world.

Perhaps the most important lesson we can take from 2020,
is that each of us has work to do
when it comes to our own alignment of intentions and actions.

It is not always easy to identify when we are failing to live up to our own spoken values, whether in our personal lives or our organizational lives. That is why this week's Try This exercise is focused on bringing those disconnects out into the light, where we can begin to work with them.

Try this:
This week’s exercise has two simple steps.

Step 1:
Make a list of all the behaviors you wish other people would engage in. What do you wish other people valued? In what ways do you wish they were acting?

Add to that list throughout the day. Whenever you hear yourself thinking, “If only those people would do X” or “If only they would be more Y,” write that down. How do you wish others would behave?

Step 2:
Next to each item on your list, note what that might look like in your own life.

If you wish people would be more understanding when people make mistakes, how might that look when dealing with your spouse or your kids? How might that look with your coworkers?

If you wish people were more accepting of people who do not agree with them, how might that look when you are screaming at politicians on the news?

This is not about righteousness; just the opposite. It is about alignment. It is about being who you say you are, being who you think you are. That not only feels good personally. It demonstrates that those values-driven behaviors are indeed possible.

Working with integrity is not a once-and-done thing; it is an ongoing practice, constantly coming back to move the needle a bit farther. None of us is perfect. We can only do the work to bring a bit more alignment into our life, to BE the humane, generous, joyful future we want to see.

That is why that values alignment is so critical to the Catalytic Thinking framework. It is why inclusion and engagement are baked into the process. It is why compassion and listening are baked into the process. It is why sharing and building trust are baked into the process. And ultimately, it is why Catalytic Thinking is so effective for creating systems change, as it aims us at bringing out the very best in what it means to be human.

Resources to Support Your Practice
These resources will help you think differently about aligning your intentions and your actions.

  • LISTEN: Judy Celmins hosted Hildy for a podcast about the values that make workplaces more humane. An energizing listen, for sure! Download and listen here…
  • WATCH: Our November board meeting saw us wrangling with our own values, asking, “What do we stand for? And what is important about that?” Watch here…
  • READ: We're reading The Book of Joy by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Imagine aligning your values and your actions around joy!  (Note: We urge you to activate your values by purchasing this book through your local bookstore.)

Want to learn alongside other people who are also trying out Catalytic Thinking practices? Join our Catalytic Thinking in Action community on Facebook - a welcoming place where you can ask questions and learn from people like you who are experimenting with these practices. We look forward to seeing you there!

Help Keep Our Programs Freely Available
Most of the programs at Creating the Future are free or low cost, with liberal tuition assistance when they aren’t.

If you find our programs of benefit, we hope you will consider contributing, to help keep these programs available to as many people as possible.   Donate here ...

eJournal Archives:
If you’re new to our eJournal, or just want to remind yourself of past practice exercises we’ve shared, check out our eJournal archives here.

Creating the Future
is a collection of people around the world supporting each other in a grand experiment:
To determine how much more humane the world could be
if the systems that guide our work and our lives 
were creating conditions for all of us to thrive.

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