Christer Söderberg is the founder of Open World Foundation with the aim to create meeting places to inspire transformational dialogue about sustainability and leadership. Read Christer Söderbergs profile to get a more in-depth overview.
We are in the middle of a paradigm shift, a collapse of the old and emergence of something new; a more social and humane business is replacing business as usual, environmental awareness about our planets’ finite resources is replacing the rampant consumerism of post WW2, and modern technology brings the plight of the hungry and poor to our living rooms and now, to our IPhones. We have the knowledge, the information, even the technology to right the many wrongs; and yet we seem to be losing the race to save humanity from itself… What is missing?
Time to Stop, Reflect, and Listen…?
Whether engaged in business as usual or working towards a new social, environmental, and financial paradigm, we all seem to have one thing in common; we’re all in an awful hurry! Whether looking for the next moneymaking deal or how to save another tree in the rainforest, we all seem to share an enormous amount of stress. Stress leads to disease; dis – ease, bad decisions result; choices which determine the reality we create and experience in our lives.
This background “noise” in our society reflects, or should I say resonates, with our life; we think that if we just do more, and faster, we just might be able to turn the tide… or will we?
Could it be that there is another way? Could we be missing something because we’re just going too fast?
Open World Cafés aim to provide physical and virtual spaces for reflection; engaging dialogue and promoting personal leadership for a more sustainable and resilient living. The first Open World Café opened in 2008 in Stockholm, and today there are eight initiatives in as many countries working on providing local platforms for these dialogues and a reflective leadership for sustainability, in addition to more than 500 members on a growing social network.
But what does it mean to stop, really?
Stop means full stop; Stop! Stop what you are doing, put everything down, or away, and begin to ask yourself some questions, maybe difficult questions, something like… (A good way to do this by the way is to take a walk in nature; my favorite is a forest with big trees.):
Am I doing what I want to do – what I really want to do in my life? Do I feel a passion and sense of purpose in what I do everyday in my work, in my life?
Who am I today, and who would I like to be tomorrow? Are we talking about the same person? How would my family and friends respond to that person?
How does my life impact my community, my country, and the planet? Is it with a positive, constructive impact or am I taking and breaking things without replacing or repairing them?
Reflect on these things… be a leader; decide how you want to lead your life; personal leadership is about being responsible and respectful, and truly loving: yourself, others, and our fragile planet.
I believe that we don’t value the crisis we find ourselves in; this crisis, sometimes unwittingly, is a teacher; we are being presented with an opportunity to learn, or unlearn, which may be the more powerful task. If we choose to embrace this crisis, indeed all crisis’ and learn, even learn to unlearn then we give ourselves a reason to celebrate; celebrate our successes, and perhaps more importantly, celebrate our failures. In this celebration we may just find ourselves; who we really are; small imaginal cells in a larger body striving to connect; develop relationships and share; longing to be ourselves in a place which is paradise, if we only stop long enough and choose to see it for what it is.
Open World Cafés and Villages are Open to any and all those wishing to engage in this dialogue about leadership for sustainability, and actively participate in projects on our network, or start your own. Join us! A first step would be to share what emotions and thoughts emerged from this post in the comments below.