Many leaders who are grappling with poverty, injustice, illness, and despair become cynical after a time because they do not see their efforts translating into a sufficient level of impact. They may wonder, just how long exactly do we have to wait for the moral arc of the universe to bend?!
At the same time, they may become increasingly attached to the methods, constructs, tools, and approaches that they have been using to address those challenges. Their desire to do good morphs into a belief that they have done good, which produces frustration with the world around them that “just doesn’t get it.”
What they may be missing is that every one of today’s challenges is an escalator that one can take all the way down to the deepest source of power, creativity, and meaning. But you have to be willing to take the ride. You can’t jump off a couple floors down because you think you’ve found just the trick to make the problem go away.
Staying on means facing what is. Not what’s wrong with what is, not how it got that way, not how much worse it is this year than last, and not how it should be. Just what is. Further down you start to observe how you feel about what is – what comes up for you personally when you observe poverty, injustice, illness, and despair in the world. And that’s when the learning begins, and when you begin to unlock your greatest change-making potential.
In the end, you may find that the greatest change you will make is within yourself. Which is good, since that’s precisely what the world needs.