In Seattle, it has been an unusual summer. And so far September has been unusual as well. It has been sunny, like I experience the sun in California. After 21 years in the Northwest, this is strange to me. Now, maybe this is a pattern that happens every 100 years, or every one million, we don’t know. There is no written record, and the oral history is hard to interpret.
But this delight of sun and summer and warmth brings with it a somber realization about climate. As far as I can tell from the sources I choose to listen to, we are creating more damage than we can repair.
When I travel into the awe-inspiring giant hemlocks and cedars in the forests around Seattle, I can sense what we have lost: major ecosystems that clean our air. When I look into my children’s eyes, I can see what we have gained: more people, a global consciousness, leaning toward a new way, a sustainable way forward.
I know this is heavy. It feels heavy when I sense change but feel utterly powerless to turn it around. Now is when I want to be that superhero who has the power to change the world.
In a sense I do have the power. We all do. One way we can change the world is to learn how to have these hard conversations internally, and be in conflict with ourselves.
In order to change the world, the first step we have to take is to ask ourselves the tough questions when we are faced with our wants and desires. I really want that new car, or appliance, or those jeans. Yet, do we know: what really went into making that new car? Is that sustainable? Where are the factories? What happened to the people downriver? Do my jeans contribute to the global degradation of clean water?
Practicing this kind of dialogue with ourselves makes us examine how we live. Not only our relationship to our environment, but our relationship to others, to work, to family, and to ourselves. Every element of the life we live deserves occasional scrutiny, tough questioning, conflict. And a foundation of practice with ourselves prepares us to have these honest, real, scary, guilt-producing conversations with others.
So my contribution to changing the world is a tool called Generative Conflict. It teaches us how to have conflict that inspires a new path, one not seen before, when we face the challenging dilemmas of our lives. It teaches us how to have conversations at the edge of our beliefs; to forge into the unknown; to disagree till we understand that our disagreement itself is common ground.
Sound like fun? Join me on October 10th to learn how honest conversations and conflict generate options not seen before and enhance your leadership presence.
Your family, your community, and the planet need these conversations. Be the super hero and save the earth. Join me and invite perspective. There is no time to waste.