By Jeff Klein
Promoting ideas has been a principal focus of my work for the past six years, beginning with my work as Executive Director of FLOW and continuing today with Being Human, Conscious Capitalism, and Working for Good among others.
Ideas are powerful. Napoleon Hill noted that “Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes.” John F. Kennedy proclaimed, “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.” Most everything constructed or created by human beings begins with an idea. As the Buddha observed, “Mind is the forerunner of all things.”
But how do we bring ideas to life? How do we catalyze movements or facilitate emerging evolutionary processes (if we can facilitate such things)? How do we overcome the inertia of existing perceptions, patterns and ways of being? How do we get beyond fear, doubt and resistance?
One of the patterns or processes I observe for addressing such questions is defined by the progression of these three words: Vision. Stories. Pathways. Here’s how it works or, at least, how I observe it working.
Vision: This is the idea part: An inspiring idea which is animated by a story or projection of what the world will look like, how things will be better, when the idea is manifested through action, when it fully comes to life. Compelling, inspiring visions can touch the core of our being, capture our imagination and activate our passion. But fear, doubt, inertia and other forces and factors can inhibit us from fully engaging with a vision and from taking meaningful action towards manifesting it.
Stories: By this, I refer to stories of people who are already embodying the vision, bringing it to life every day in many ways. As we see that the inspiring vision is more than a fantasy, that it is achievable and already real, tangible and manifest, the forces of resistance diminish, and we can let the possibility of manifesting the vision move us towards action. But where do we go? What do we do?
Pathways: Here’s where pathways come into play. If we outline various ways people can engage with the vision, in action, we bring it more fully to life – for them and in general, as they become part of the story of its emergence. Pathways can include opportunities to learn more, to create something, and to work with others who are already engaged, among others.
Let’s briefly look at Conscious Capitalism as an example of this pattern applied:
The vision of Conscious Capitalism is a world in which everyone has real opportunity to flourish – to express their innate capacities and talents, to learn, grow and develop throughout their lives, and to share in the rich bounty of life, while we as a species increasingly become more skillful at living in healthy relationship to ourselves, each other and the environment. Entrepreneurship and business are core drivers of this evolution or revolution of our social economy.
Stories of companies like Whole Foods, The Container Store and Southwest Airlines, and of business leaders like Howard Behar (retired President of Starbucks), Eric Ryan (co-founder of Method), Blake Nordstrom (CEO of Nordtsrom, Inc.) among many others, serve as inspiring models of examples of the vision coming to life.
As we recognize that this – the transformation or evolution of the way we conduct business and the way our economy functions – is an emerging process and not a complete product, we draw inspiration from these examples and recognize new opportunities to break new ground, to improve on what they are doing and raise the bar – bringing the vision even more fully to life.
Pathways to action and engagement include learning more about the movement and the companies and people actively involved in it; working with, buying from and investing in companies on the frontier of the movement; starting our own companies; exploring new ways of working together and of creating and exchanging value; and an infinite array of other possibilities.
For more information and ongoing exploration of this pattern of Vision. Stories. Pathways. and, specifically, how it applies to Conscious Capitalism, join me for It’s Just Good Business every Friday on en*theos Radio, 11:00 am Pacific time (or stream past shows any time). The program debuts Friday, January 6, 2012, with a conversation with Brian Johnson, founder, philosopher and CEO of Philosopher’s Notes and en*theos Academy. And visit consciouscapitalism.org to engage with the Conscious Capitalism movement.
Please join us for conversation on our Facebook page.
Jeff Klein is CEO of Working for Good, a company that activates, produces and facilitates mission-based, Stakeholder Engagement Marketing™ campaigns and Conscious Culture development programs.
Jeff is a trustee and member of the executive committee of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and authored the award-winning book, Working for Good: Making a Difference While Making a Living.