I am not an protester. I don’t put my energy into railing against the current reality. But I am still an activist in my own way. When face to face with the pain of living in an imperfect world, I turn my mind and imagination to searching for a better way.
Friends of mine once attended a leadership course where they were asked to come up with a name to identify themselves. They called themselves Lartivists – a contraction of Leader + Artist + Activist. I have considered myself a Lartivist from the first time I heard the word. The first Conversations for Power and Possibility event was conceived as a Lartivist project – my creative response to the negativity and fear generated by the economic crisis of 2008. It was my way of standing up, not to protest what was wrong, but to try to do something that could make things right.
One of the reasons people band together, whether to support as cause as in a march for cancer research, or to protest an injustice, is to experience the feeling of strength and connection it brings to people who are feeling helpless and alone. People march partly as a show of strength but also to generate power.
One of the most interesting results of the Conversations for Power and Possibility marathon at Starbucks locations in Toronto in 2008 was how it brought our coaching community together. It gave us a greater sense of our own strength and demonstrated the power of our work. Rather than sitting in our offices worrying that business was drying up, we took to the street to say “We have something of value to offer. We are here to help.” Declaring ourselves a part of the solution, a local response to a global problem, we grew larger and stronger than we had been before.
Three morals in this story:
1. In times of crisis we band together, both as a show of strength and to generate power.
2. Our conversations can either take us into a downward spiral of negativity and despair, or lift us up by generating new ideas and the power to act on them.
3. When the world around is in chaos, it’s a great time to ask “What’s my creative response?”
Yours with creativity and imagination,
p.s. This post is excerpted from Conversations for Power and Possibility – The Activist’s Guide to the Four Conversations.