Multiple Freedoms

When we talk about freedom, we are usually not specific about the exact type of freedom we are referencing. Freedom exists, or does not, on multiple levels: personal, institutional, political, and spiritual.

Personal freedom reflects the everyday choices that we make about our lives. It is how we choose to spend our time, how we choose to feel, how we choose to think, and how we choose to act. It is an intrinsic freedom which we all inherently possess, but it is contoured by institutional and political freedom. It can also be confined by other individuals who limit our freedom through abuse outside of those systems.

Institutional freedom reflects the ability we have to make decisions in the organizations and groups to which we belong such as our workplace, community organizations, or religious community. Political freedom is granted to us by the nation in which we live. Institutional and political freedom are conditional and structural. The amount of freedom each person has is based on her or his place in the system which may or may not be negotiable.

Spiritual freedom reflects an unlimited resource that is within our souls. It comes from a place that unites us all. Because this freedom is unlimited, access is unrestricted and we are all equally entitled to enjoy it. Spiritual freedom represents our rights as human beings inhabiting the earth.

20 Questions: Starting a Job as an Executive Director

  1. What will my legacy be with this organization?
  2. How will I have a positive local and global impact through my work with this organization?
  3. What are the strategic priorities of the organization?
  4. What is the complete and uncensored history of the organization?
  5. What are the community’s dreams for the future?
  6. How will I strengthen the organization’s relationships and open up new relationships?
  7. How is the board engaged in the work of the organization?
  8. How is the community engaged in the work of the organization?
  9. What do the staff, board, and volunteers need from me to be successful?
  10. What can I do to strengthen the organization’s processes?
  11. How will I promote the flow of information and ideas?
  12. How will I strengthen the organization’s fiscal position?
  13. How can I share my unique gifts and skills through this organization?
  14. How can I help others – staff, volunteers, program participants — make the most of their unique gifts and skills?
  15. What does our organization do well? How has it been successful in the past?
  16. What are our organization’s core competencies?
  17. What does our organization not do well? How has it be challenged in the past?
  18. What needs to be changed and what needs to be maintained or enhanced?
  19. Is the organization’s structure adequate to support the needs of the organization?
  20. What additional resources are needed to achieve the organization’s goals?

Tips, Tricks, and Secrets

Whenever I see those words in marketing copy, I immediately feel a bit suspicious. I crave real relationships, openness, and authenticity and I try to integrate these values into my work and my marketing efforts. I don’t want to offer tips, tricks, or secrets through my work; instead, I hope to inspire deeper and more expansive thinking and feeling to elevate the tenor of, and meaning in, our work. Is this realistic? Is this what people want? I’m not so sure. By aligning my work and my marketing with my lofty ideals, I may actually be alienating and excluding a lot of people that would eventually be open to pursuing more complex ideas. Tips, tricks, and secrets might actually be superficial entry points to strong, meaningful relationships.

I felt a bit of dis-ease as I wrote the copy for two of my recently published books, The Fruition Coalition Grant Proposal Workbook and The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook. I wanted to convey that they were simple and easy to use, which they were and I did. But I feel that there are also a handful of profound ideas within each book that could change the way we think about proposals and marketing. This was not captured in my marketing. I made this choice because I feel the books would be really, really, helpful to organizations and I want them to buy and use them.

Thus has been my marketing conundrum with the Fruition Coalition – balancing meaning with pragmatism, depth with superficiality, and complexity with simplicity. Any suggestions?

The Nature of Change

I talk about progressive change a lot, yet that idea does not fully capture my ideas about how change occurs.

I like the word progressive because it indicates forward movement. It is also nonpartisan, or at least it can be understood in that way. Yet, progress is linear, logical, and rational. There is a beginning and an end. Yet, change does not always occur in this way. In fact, change is an ongoing, continual process. Every breath is a potential transformation.

When I was an undergrad, my theology professor shared two views of history with us. According to him, a line with a set starting point represented the Western view while a circle represented the Eastern view. Not being satisfied with either, I developed a third idea – a spiral with no beginning and no ending, with cycles that build upon what has occurred in the past.

Social change happens in all three ways, reflecting the multiple understandings that humans have about the nature of history. Social change also occurs in quantum space when openings are created through chaos.

So how does one become an advocate for quantum change, rather than progressive change, without being physically or psychologically violent?

I think this can be achieved by detaching, opening up to possibility, and flowing.

So how does one effectively do this in a politically tenuous environment?

By focusing on our intention, trusting, and being love.

Releasing our unrealistic desire to control everything in the universe leads to an increased sense of self-control.

I think that the concepts of progressive change and quantum change are complementary, perhaps even paradoxical. Activists can simultaneously employ different means toward the same ends either inter- or intra-personally. The important thing is to be aware of what we are doing, our purpose, and to do something to express our deepest values in the social sphere.

20 Questions: Advocacy

  1. What social condition(s) are we trying to shift?
  2. What change will positively influence this social condition?
  3. What is the specific ask?
  4. Are there any acceptable alternatives to this ideal solution?
  5. What will be the result of making such a change for the community overall and in the lives of individual people?
  6. What are the financial, environmental, and human costs and benefits of making such a change?
  7. What stories illustrate the need for this change?
  8. What data support the need for this change?
  9. What visuals can be used to communicate the need for this change?
  10. What structural obstacles are preventing this change from taking place?
  11. What personal or organizational resistance exists toward this change?
  12. What are the values and priorities of the decision makers that we need to influence?
  13. What other individuals and groups are working on this issue?
  14. Who else cares about this issue and why is it important to them?
  15. How will we engage others in our advocacy efforts?
  16. What key messages do we need to share?
  17. Who needs to hear our key messages?
  18. How will we communicate our key messages?
  19. How will we prepare others to be effective advocates for our cause?
  20. How will we strategically time our advocacy campaign?