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The Challenge of the Change Agent

My wonderful problem solving self is one of my greatest barriers to creating change in my community. I am a social entrepreneur. If a problem or opportunity catches my heart and my mind, I set to work on addressing it, or on making it a reality. This is a wonderful capacity. It has allowed me to manifest much in the past and yet I am also increasingly seeing how it does not always serve me, or those whom I seek to serve.

Much of my work has been with rural communities, women in particular. An important part of my journey has been about reaching out to help them ignite their passion and energy for change. They are not problems to be solved (which in my experience the development sector often turns them into). They are an important key to a different future – as we learn to unlock and release the unique and beautiful possibility that resides in each one of us.

And yet, one of my biggest challenges at this time comes from an impulse, in the face of much need, to rush it. When I see a problem, oftentimes my mind jumps into solution mode, and I wish to surge ahead. This may be a wonderful trait of the social entrepreneur, and yet I am noticing that given my wish to build a deeper change in people and our capacity to generate solutions and innovations together, my impulse to action in many ways inadvertently belittles their power, their capacity, their view.

How then to stand in my power, and honour and invite in theirs?

I am learning, once again, to slow down. Real change takes time. It requires attention and care to invite others in and to build the collective ground from which much more can grow. It requires curiosity, and a weaving of relationships. It requires us to come together as a community identifying what we really care about, and then slowly but surely taking the steps to move towards that. It may include reaching out to others to join us, but it is about walking together, trusting that we have what we need, and that together we can make our way into the kind of future we wish to live. In this much more integrated and whole place, I can offer my gifts and my power, not from my busy problem-solving mind, but out of my connection to the whole.

So how does an online community support this work, which is in so many ways about sinking local roots and developing real presence where we are?

An online community reminds us that we are not alone. It gives the gift of walking alongside others who are engaging with fundamental change in a different way, that invites all of us in. It gives courage and energy to carry on. It provides perspective, lessons and ideas from other contexts. Sometimes even deep friendships. It reminds us: We are a part of a worldwide movement of change.

Comments

sallysmithr's picture

Great message!

Thank you so much for sharing. I love that you mention wanting to rush things. I understand what you mean...having that impulse to want the solution or end result because of our passion but understanding it may take time. I think what you are doing is great as well as the message that you are sending.

Good luck with everyone and thanks again for sharing.

Sally Smith

Hiba's picture

hi marianne, wow, to say the

hi marianne,

wow, to say the least. the message you're sending is so powerful that I can hear it afar!

I loved this part the most: "This may be a wonderful trait of the social entrepreneur, and yet I am noticing that given my wish to build a deeper change in people and our capacity to generate solutions and innovations together, my impulse to action in many ways inadvertently belittles their power, their capacity, their view."

Change does take time, yes - but rightful change eventually happens. Stand up for what you think is right and change is all what you're going to see at the end!

best,
hiba

Debra Engle's picture

Beautiful!

You write with such clarity and conviction. And you've also made your story personal but universal at the same time....not an easy thing to do! Thank you for an excellent essay...it has so much to teach all of us about patience, building relationships and honoring the voice within.

Well done!

Deb Engle

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