We’ve constructed much of the working world in a way that sends us asleep to ourselves, to others, and to what’s possible for us. We’re often fearful. We’re afraid to be fully seen. We hide behind words, procedures, frameworks, policies, perfectionism. We avoid the risky and important work of understanding one another.
We use shame to get what we want at the expense of people’s dignity. We take the burdens of the world on ourselves without reaching out for help, and expect others to do the same. We make sure we look fine. And we feel alone.
All this stifles our creativity, and has us hold back our most essential contribution from one another.
We design roles marked by how much of people’s uniqueness must be left out, rather than included. And we frequently treat people as if they were machines – particularly troublesome ones who won’t fit into the frameworks and designs we have for them.
Much of this happens even in many of the most sophisticated, principled of organisations.
While we’re doing this to others, we’re also doing it to ourselves. And most of the time we don’t even know that this is what we’re up to.
The writing we share aims to help each of us undo all of this, bit by bit.
Our hope is to support you if you recognise even a shred of what we are saying here in yourself or in others; if you lead, whether ‘leadership’ is stated in your job title or not; and if you want to take your development seriously, so you can bring yourself with integrity, courage, generosity, wisdom, and fierce humanity to the world.
At its heart, our work is about cultivating both inner and outer human freedom, so that we can release ourselves and others to make the contribution we’re really here to make.
And it’s about a scary thought – that it’s possible to bring about genuine, powerful change that matters.
To the thousands of you who encounter our work around the world – thank you. There’s much more to come.
Banner image: ‘Untitled (1972)’ by Mira Schendel