I am a ready-fire-aim kind-of a woman. I know where I am going. I always have a large-scale plan. It drives my action. But it lives in my head and I figure out the route on the fly. I always get to where I am going, but sometimes the journey is longer than I hoped.
It is like this “10 mile” three-day backpacking trip we did with our nine and seven-year-old kids, and 4-month-old dog. We had a plan – cover 10 miles over three days. This is not a lot for us. Two miles the first day. Four miles the second. Then another four miles the third. Only we pieced together the estimated route from two different hikes. We bought maps of course. But failed to look at them and “string” the route before we left.
On day two, after a lot of elevation and about 4 miles of walking we should be close, but we were in the middle of nowhere. I turned to Neil and mouthed, “How much farther?” He shrugged and pulled out the maps. We found about where we were, then put the compass string on the map to measure the twists and turns of the trail. We had about five miles to go.
“Five miles!” We were nearly out of water – no more streams along the ridge trail we were on. We had snacks enough for a 10-mile hike total – not a 10-mile day. Our kids had never hiked 10 miles in a day. And the poor baby dog was so tired – probably wondering what the heck are these people thinking!
This was a ready-fire-aim experience. We had everything we needed – we just had to conserve water and manage our snacks. We made it. The kids and dog were amazing. Heck, we found wild strawberries along the route! The lake we slept at that night was such a reward. An advance plan would have been nice, but knowing the hike was 19 miles – almost double our distance – we might not have gone. Our coordinated effort – bringing a map, looking at it, managing our snacks and water, foraging, having all we needed on our backs, and having practiced roughing it for nearly 30 years – allowed us to realize our goal.
All around the world groups of people are building amazing futures out of the rubble of the past – they are taking mistakes made by some and using it as fuel for a new way. The coordinated effort is happening. Women, people of color, people of all genders, and humble men, are on the fore front of the movement. Yet, to fuel our efforts, and feel camaraderie on the journey, we must name the plan and string the route.
Stringing the route looks like this:
- Have a final goal in mind: A safe and just world, where people find their place, and can significantly contribute in right relationship with all things. This is mine. Yours may be different, yet have similar qualities at heart.
- Talk to your kids about the world you hope to see – read books, watch movies, share articles, and attend events that speak of this goal.
- Talk to your friends and family about this world. Ask them their opinions of a world like this. What are their ideas?
- Recognize disparity when it happens. Speak about it. Work to change it.
- Examine and understand your actions. Work to be kind, understanding, and able to hold the line.
- Notice others that are working toward a similar goal. Acknowledge them. Show gratitude for their commitment.
- Practice what you need to build this world: skillful conflict, discerning what to put energy toward, listening, and coordinated action. Help others build these skills.
These are some of the things I practice daily, weekly, and over my lifetime on my way to the more beautiful world my heart knows is possible. What do you practice?
Everyone has their own way of doing things – this is the beauty of individuality. The big change that is happening is through coordinated effort. You are already contributing – take a minute to acknowledge yourself.
Now, flesh out your plan – not an idea – but a robust plan, and then talk with others. Discover how very similar we are at heart, even if our approach is slightly different.
This coordinated effort is happening all over the world. If the news won’t tell this story, we can tell it at coffee shops, on the phone, through text messages, at dinner parties, in schools, churches, and everywhere we go.
When we plan, converse, and practice, we make our dreams possible.
We do not need to be in the same room – or even country – to arrive at the same place. We simply need to recognize our efforts – we are enough, build the skills, train our children, and speak what we hope to see into reality. Naysayers beware.
If you need help figuring out your plan – invite perspective. We love helping others define and build skills for the journey.