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Purpose Quest – Finding courage to deal with systems crises

Confronting the challenges of global climate crisis and disruptive change, leaders can be most effective by drawing upon a deeper purpose. Grounding oneself in purpose helps one to more consistently navigate and harness the swirling emotions that we are increasingly seeing in front line sustainability and climate champions. Working together and with clarity of vision and purpose, we can better create our path towards a resilient, sustainable future, and motivating others to do the same.

A partnership between Sander Tideman – executive director of Triple Value Leadership  – and Edie Farwell – executive director of Sustainability Leaders Network – welcome sustainability leaders from around the country for a three and a half-day  Shared Purpose Quest at the height of the foliage season in Norwich, Vermont.  We are called to action by the knowledge that:

  1. The effects of climate change and resource depletion are visible and increasing.
  2. Climate change is the greatest challenge the world has ever faced.
  3. We are the final generation that can stop it.

Centering our work together in systems thinking theory from Donella Meadows, Tideman’s Triple Value Leadership and the Purpose Quest methodology, and Farwell’s rigorous and empathic analysis of the systems we seek to change, the group will strengthen leadership identity with a “systems being” approach for positive change. This will be done through exploration of three levels of awareness – thinking, feeling, being. In this process, we will learn how to move from systems thinking to system being. Using a transformative process, immersions in nature, discussions, meditation, haiku, dance self-reflection, and small group dialog, the shared purpose quest journey amplifies the resources of the participants   as they collectively address the challenge of creating solutions to successfully address climate change.

The least obvious part of the system, its function or purpose, is often the most crucial determinant of the system behavior.— Donella Meadows

Leaders with a deep sense of purpose and commitment are key to turning the tide. Purpose-based leadership transcends our innate ego-body to support leadership vision and action through a balance of self and surrounding. This is a powerful way we can choreograph a response to the greatest human challenge we have ever known. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants begin to envision future impact by creating a community of practice for continued inquiry as part of a global network of change leaders. . Their connection will continue the shared work that began in the workshop in respective fields, specialties, and impact around the world.

Participants comments:

“I left with a new gratitude for my work.” — Sally McGee “I gained valuable insights about interconnectedness and collective spirit. I also learned a lot about finding joy. “— Nathaniel McCoy “The Purpose Quest was such a transformative opening for me.  I feel connected to the natural world in new and powerful ways.  I emerged with a stronger foundation; a more direct connection to the Earth; and clarity about where I will get energy for the work ahead. I am perfectly on my path. It’s just what I needed.” – Kirsti Kimball

“I emerged with a stronger foundation; a more direct connection to the Earth; and clarity about where I will get energy for the work ahead.” — Kristi Kimball If we stop being blinded by the illusion of control, we can see that the future cannot be predicted but it can be envisioned and brought lovingly into being. — Donella Meadows


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