There is so much bad news out there, if you look for it. Riots in London, failing economies, famine in East Africa, changing climate causing erratic weather disasters… the list goes on and on. Some days it feels like the whole world is crashing in around us.
It’s enough to make a person completely discouraged. It’s enough to make a person want to bury her head in the sand, and choose to live a self-focused life instead of spending seemingly useless energy on problems that are too big to manage.
Everything I see tells me the same thing over and over again… we need a big hairy audacious paradigm shift.
We need to imagine the world differently.
We need to imagine leadership differently.
We need to imagine ourselves differently.
We need to imagine community differently.
We need to get our heads out of the sand and instead of paying attention to the big ugly negative news, turn our attention toward each other.
We need to keep on caring for each other even though it hurts sometimes and often feels like useless resistance in a tsunami of bad news.
We need to start insisting that our news media focus on the good in people and not just the bad.
We need to engage our creativity and collaboration and stop listening to those people who tell us that consumption and competition is what makes the world go round.
We need to stop believing that the economy is our god and over-consumption is okay because it feeds the economy. We need to seek happiness in other places than shopping malls.
We need to turn to each other, focus on building our communities where we live, and trust that the benefit of local communities will have far-reaching impact (as my friend Kathy Jourdain so eloquently suggests).
We need women and men who will rise up and shift the tide away from aggressive “command and control” leadership to participative “engage and collaborate” leadership.
We need to sit in circles and tell each other stories that will help us understand and celebrate each others’ differences and similarities.
We need to engage our right brains in conceptual, creative, intuitive, spiritual thinking and start imagining new patterns that will shift us away from our self-destructive paths.
We need to get our egos out of the way and start admitting that the only way to find a new path through the weeds is to trust each other to contribute the necessary skills. And then we need to believe that we are better together than alone.
THIS is why we need more feminine wisdom in leadership. It’s not about women taking over from men (and making their own sets of mistakes). It’s about trusting the wisdom that tends to be more inherent in women than in men. (Even the Washington Post says so.) It’s about engaging our creativity, spirituality, compassion, collaboration, and empathy in the way we lead. It’s about letting our right brains contribute to our decisions as much as our left brains.
None of these problems is going to be fixed overnight. In fact, even using the word “fix” shows limited thinking on our part. These things are not simple problems with simple solutions. There is no linear logic to apply, like a math problem on a high school exam. We can’t just assign more police to the streets of London, for example. We need to look at the systemic problems that shaped what happened long before anything erupted. There is deep complexity that will require a lot of deep thinking and collaborating and failing and trying again and meditating and engaging in conversation.
When change happens, there is always a time of great chaos before new solutions are found. It feels like much of the world is in that place of chaos now. This is not a time for despair. This is a time for hope and creativity. This is a time to gather together and lean on each other.
The world needs new ideas. The world needs YOUR ideas. Get your head out of the sand and start sharing them.