In our teaching and our work at Creating the Future, we talk a lot about the power of NOT starting meetings with brainstorming (which is always about ideas for what to do), but instead identifying a shared vision for what we want life to be like when we’re done.
No matter how simple the issue is, we have found huge power in looking at the issue at hand, and asking, “What would it make possible if this problem were no longer a problem? What is on the other side of this being a problem?”
The answer to that question is always a being question. We would be happy. We would be more productive. We would be secure, capable, joyful, calm.
From there, we walk backwards to create the path of cause-and-effect that quickly shows us what to do.
When we work in this way, we consistently find answers that are energizing, and that even people who had been in conflict find common ground surprisingly quickly.
There is a simple reason for that.
When we talk about how we want things to be, we all want the same thing. We share that vision.
When we talk about what to do, though, each of us takes that personally, because each of us, individually, will be doing that work. And each of us brings our baggage to how we feel about doing that!
“Do more? Are you kidding? I can’t get done what I already have on my plate!”
“Really? Scrap what I’ve been working on for 2 months, and now do something different? What a waste of my time!”
“And who do they think will do all that? You know Harry is just going to palm it off on me. He never does anything, but you know he’ll take the credit for all the work I’ll do…”
When we start a meeting with a conversation about “What should we do?” those angry or fearful or overwhelmed thoughts are part of what everyone is thinking. Doing is all about me.
But when we start the conversation at the vision for what we all want life to be like, it’s all about all of us. We will all be happy and calm. We will all have all the resources we need and feel secure.
As with everything in life, context creates our reality. There is joy and calm and grace in finding my place within the context of our place. I can easily see where I will fit into that picture, along with everyone else.
ME is a lonely place without the context of WE. And that joyful context of we can be found simply by starting with a vision for how we want things to be.