Women and Emerging Futures

The next wave of my own evolution lies in exploring the potential of women to profoundly shape our world. Not only if women can but if women will...do what is required to make the difference. This demands redefining our notions of 'leadership' and reclaiming meaningful expression for women. To progress beyond historical notions of evolution through incremental change, we must redefine what it is to be human - and women are the key.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Elements of a Catalyst

It’s been a great day!

I had lunch by the water with a woman whose company I thoroughly enjoy. We concluded today that the only way you can really know how you’ll do at the deep end of the pool is to venture in to the deep end of the pool! Until that happens, it’s all philosophy, hearsay, wishing and hope. It‘s all story without wisdom. We concluded that now is as good a time as any to start living large and just dive in!

After great conversation, great company and great food, I headed for home and checked in to see what was new on email. There, I found a note from a woman who shared her admiration and respect for her friend who has become a WEL-Systems Master Facilitator over the last 18 months. As I read, it occurred to me that what makes her so different is that she LIVES what she has learned/discovered. Every conversation, every problem, every person, every email, every choice point is an invitation for her to stand in the ‘now’ and live her life differently. Her way of being is a living model of what it takes to profoundly shape her world. She does not apologize for who she is, what she holds to be true and how she moves through the world.

Most of us live secret lives. There is the one that maps to what we think the world wants/expects of us and then there is the one that lives inside of us. Many times in our day-to-day living, the conversation that goes on inside of us does not match the one that is going on outside of us. Living authentically requires the simple act of decloaking and being true to ourselves, no matter where we are, who we’re with or what we’re doing. Our secrets kill us and keep us locked into living much smaller lives of habituation.

And it’s not an easy thing to do. It takes courage to let the world see the truth of who we are. It takes courage to take our safe and comfortable conversations in small groups of aligned and supportive people out into the much larger, and unpredictable, domain of clients, colleagues, neighbors, partners, parents and offspring. It’s easy to be brave when we’re by ourselves; to be bold when we are preaching to the converted. It’s much harder when there is a chance that there will be disagreement, challenges to our model of the world….and worse, ridicule and embarrassment.

In a recent conversation with a WEL-Systems Catalyst, we concluded that the catalytic properties of a catalyst only find expression when the catalyst is inserted into another context, i.e. a solution or medium. In that moment, the catalyst activates and its medium is transformed by its presence. Likewise, WEL-Systems Catalysts cannot be effective by themselves in a closet! If there is no willingness to enter into organic collectives (i.e. families, work, friends, clients, colleagues, etc.) and engage, there is no catalysis. Plain and simple.

There are a number of definitions for the word ‘catalyst’ with all of them in agreement that a catalyst engages with something else; and that the catalyst precipitates change in that something else, without losing itself.

Back to the young woman and her WEL-Systems Master Facilitator friend…. The difference is the willingness to engage in a decloaked and authentic way as a way of ‘being’ and not as a technique of ‘doing’. She is who she is and she can no longer be otherwise – and it goes with her everywhere in her life. Every conversation. Every person. Every breath, from one day to the next. And that is what makes a difference.

Breathing is good…..


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