Human trafficking and child sex tourism are on the rise. The United States and 37 other countries have yet to ban landmines. Each day 27,000 children die from preventable, poverty-related causes. More than 60 million girls do not go to school. One in nine Black men between the ages of 20-34 is incarcerated in the USA. In the last decade more than 200,000 farmers have committed suicide in India. So many social injustices. How do we channel our outrage?
Finding people to blame or identify as our enemies never solves the problem. However, practicing radical self-care generates greater sensitivity to ourselves and to others, which inclines us toward social responsibility. But doesn’t empathy placate our passion and make us less willing to fight for justice? How do we transform our anger, tap our courage, and release the forces for social change?
Deliberately improving the quality of life requires leaders to transform on the inside in order to create meaningful change in the world. Our personal transformation enhances the well-being of our families, which impacts the quality of our communities and organizations where small successes build momentum and empower people to create synergistic change. New behaviors, new ways of thinking, new alliances, all contribute to sustainable social change initiatives that improve the human condition.
The best way to lead people to transformation is not by trying to get other people to change, but by exploring our own inner landscape and seeking our own opportunities for shifting our perspectives and paradigms. In the process, many people are impacted by an opening heart, which has a ripple effect, helping everyone involved awaken their hearts and hold deep compassion for themselves and for others.
So what's the personal transformation available for me right now? My own leadership is at a cross roads. The metaphor that springs to mind is a bucket full of crabs. But the crabs in my bucket aren't the kind that pull you down when you try to get out; they push me up and out to use my power for the larger good. I keep coming back to the sense of intimacy and camaraderie in the bucket, despite their support to get out there and step into my power as a leader.
I thrive on the collaborative partnership we have at Leadership that Works. Simultaneously I'm pulled in a new direction, toward bigger social change projects. The big picture vision is a redistribution of resources, so that people all over the world can thrive. That's my quest and if I can sit with my fear long enough, the details will come. I have high hopes that the Making Collaboration Real conference will attract similar dreamers and doers. As part of accelerating my learning curve, I'm headed to the Center for Creative Leadership next week. I'm going to need a bigger bucket, an easy way out, and an easy way back in whenever I need support!
About the author:
Martha Lasley is a founder of Coaching for Transformation, an accredited coach training program and ChangeMakers, a year-long facilitation training program. She creates results-oriented programs that inspire, motivate, and transform. “I surround myself with people who take risks and look for new ways of doing things; we explore both the solid ground and the edges of transformation.”
Martha is a certified trainer in Nonviolent Communication and is a professional member of the Indian Society for Applied Behavioral Science. She has written three books: Courageous Visions; Facilitating with Heart; and Coaching for Transformation.