Be prepared to be surprised
On the one hand, you are invited to let go of all expectations and practice being open to the outcomes that emerge. Whatever your past experience in groups like this, drop into the curiosity of a beginner's mind. These conversations will also invite you to personally own your experience, fully showing up with your presence.
That said, we anticipate that you will come away with:
- Deep, genuine connections with others in the group.
- Insights, ideas and new skills for community building.
- A desire for this group to continue, deciding on and fulfilling an aligned evolutionary purpose for the good of all.
- Elevated energy and inspiration to change our world through the power of connected conversation, community and inspired action.
People become powerful when they choose to shift the context within which they act in the world. Communities are human systems given form by conversations that build relatedness. The conversations that build relatedness most often occur through associational life, where people show up by choice.
In this experiential learning lab, we will experience 7 conversations designed to build relatedness. Each of these conversations will be experienced through inquiry with powerful questions. The power is in the inquiry, not the answers. The 7 conversations are:
- The Invitation Conversation
"Invitation is the means through which hospitality is created. Invitation counters the conventional belief that change requires mandate or persuasion. Invitation honors the importance of choice, the necessary condition for accountability." - Peter Block
- The Possibility Conversation
The distinction is between possibility and problem solving. Possibility is a future beyond reach. The possibility conversation works on us and evolves from a discussion of personal crossroads. It takes the form of a declaration, best made publicly.
- The Ownership Conversation
It asks people to act as if they are creating what exists in the world. The distinction is between ownership and blame.
- The Dissent Conversation
The dissent conversation creates an opening for commitment. When dissent is expressed, just listen. Don't solve it, defend against it, or explain anything. The primary distinction is between dissent and lip service. A second distinction is between dissent and denial, rebellion, or resignation.
- The Commitment Conversation
The commitment conversation is a promise with no expectation of return. Commitment is distinguished from barter. The enemy of commitment is lip service, not dissent or opposition.
The commitments that count the most are ones made to peers, other citizens/members. We have to explicitly provide support for members/citizens to declare that there is no promise they are willing to make at this time. Refusal to promise does not cost us our membership or seat at the table. We only lose our seat when we do not honor our word.
- The Gifts Conversation
The leadership and citizen/member task is to bring the gifts of those on the margin into the center. The distinction is between gifts and deficiencies or needs. We are not defined by deficiencies or what is missing. We are defined by our gifts and what is present. We choose our destiny when we have the courage to acknowledge our own gifts and choose to bring them into the world. A gift is not a gift until it is offered.
- We will end with another Possibility Conversation. What is possible now that we are are connected to each other and have had this experience together?
The primary value and cost of this program to you is your time and presence. To support this program and its expansion, you will be invited to consider making a gift donation according to your means. Making a donation(or not) is completely within your discretion and can made at any time during or after the program. If you received good value, you are invited to pay it forward.
To participate in this Learning Lab, we ask that you consider and agree to the following.
- We come together to create new possibilities through having a conversation we have not had before. We do not come together to negotiate interest, share our stories, or problem-solve the past or future.
- No one will be asked in any way to yield on their commitments or interest. We are not coming to decide anything. We begin with the belief that the commitments and interests of each of us have to be honored and taken into account by all.
- Each agrees to participate in at least 6 of 7 sessions (2 hours each). There are always emergencies, and always pressing priorities, but the loss of even one person, for just one meeting, reduces the potential of what we can co-create together. Sessions will be recorded so you can catch up if you miss one, but are not intended as a substitute for your attendance.
- Each agrees to spend a minimum of 1-2 hours in reflection, contemplation or meeting in interactive conversation with other participants to integrate the experiences, deepen connection or prepare for what is coming up each week.
Our hope is that you personally feel the call to build your own community circle according to your own passions, purpose and interests. We hope that you want to continue changing the world in some way, connecting people for the good of all.
This program is just the beginning of the possibilities that can unfold for the group too. We expect that your connection with each other will be so enlivening, that you will want to stay together to fulfill some evolutionary purpose. We imagine that you will want to support each other in changing the world by continuing the conversation, and together, changing the story of what is possible!
To facilitate your group moving forward in discovering and fulfilling your evolutionary purpose, we'll invite you to join us in other supportive programs and collective movements for changing our world for the good of all.