“The world will be saved by the western woman”.
Next minute a wag posted “Which one?”.
I cheekily added “Me”.
She replied: “Go girl” to which Christine, another Facebook friend added; “You could do it!”.
“How?” I typed beneath her words.
“Not exactly sure but willing to talk more about this. Normally I work in what I call a micro influence area and this would be macro for sure,” she replied.
“Let’s talk”, was my response. We took our conversation off-line and arranged a time to meet three weeks later, but not before others jumped on line with offers of help.
Christine and I met last week. To be honest I couldn't remember what had triggered this entry in my diary labeled “Save the World’, but I was looking forward to seeing Christine and curious about where this conversation might go.
Christine has recently left a role running a Not for Profit organisation after ten years and we had met in a leadership development program in 2013, so we had some catching up to do. I was always impressed with her clear focus and effectiveness. I was fascinated to hear that she is currently exploring ways to tell stories that interest and inspire her. She has begun a course in writing and producing film and television and has a clear idea for a book she wants to write.
I shared with her an article by Julie M Daley about the creative opportunity for us to tell our own stories in our own voices, that confirmed she was on the right track.
Julie Daley said, in part: (her bold type, but my italics)
“When people in power speak and behave in a certain way, we can begin to believe it is the new ‘normal’ or that it is ‘true’. And then, suddenly, we have a new narrative about what is ‘real’.
Who will normalize the female experience if we do not as women? Who will normalize and make explicit one’s experience of the feminine aspects of life if those of us who are becoming conscious of them do not?
……[And by the way, I hope men do this, too. I sense the current cultural narrative of what it is to be a man is not based on many men’s experiences.]
The feminine is not only white.
The feminine is not only straight.
The feminine is not only Christian.
The feminine is not only thin.
The feminine is not only ‘beautiful’.
And, the feminine is not just female.
Who will define (and normalize) the feminine or the female experience if we do not? If we, ourselves, are not willing to be vocal about what this experience is?’
Christine’s story-telling activities were already fitting perfectly with Julie Daley’s questions.
The other thing that influenced our ‘Save the World’ meeting was feedback from a participant in a 'Finding Meaningful Work' workshop I’d offered the previous week with a colleague, Andrew Stevens, which described our work as ‘uplifting’.
As Christine and I discussed ideas about how we could save the world, it gradually dawned on us that perhaps we know how to do it, perhaps we are already doing it and it doesn't require forming more organisations, joining more committees or finding vast amounts of funding.
It's one thing to have grandiose ideas of saving the world, but surely the only way is for each of us to be individually responsible to contribute what we can. Perhaps all of us, in our own ways, are already making the world a better place - for our families, our neighbours, our friends and our various communities - just by being who we are and doing what we do with care, passion and enthusiasm.
By sharing ourselves and our ideas and experiences, by being generous with our time and with our stories, perhaps we are saving the world, one opportunity at a time. Do we really need feedback from others or can we be our own reference points to consider and value the impact we are already having?
So, while I hope I’m not just avoiding facing the harder issues that take up a lot of my head space, (domestic violence, the costs of obesity, the effects of drug and alcohol abuse and climate change, to name a few) I wonder if we just need to value what we already do to save the world, and commit to doing more of it.
And not be afraid to stand up and be counted on the issues we care about.
What do you think?