The world and our species are in states of deep transition. Many describe our present situation as a planet and a people as one of great turmoil. We experience constant “wars and rumors of wars;” we hover on the verge of economic collapse; our political systems seem unable to address societal problems.
Even more profoundly, the ecosystem necessary to sustain human life on our planet is at risk; we have created for ourselves a major threat to our civilizations, and to our survival as a species. Our climate is changing; extreme weather events are occurring more frequently, and time is running out.
As Kurt Vonnegut stated so poignantly, these realities are having a powerful effect on our consciousness:
”Is there nothing about the United States of my youth, aside from youth itself, that I miss sorely now?” opined Vonnegut. “There is one thing I miss so much that I can hardly stand it, which is freedom from the certain knowledge that human beings will very soon have made this moist, blue-green planed uninhabitable by human beings.”
From Our Choice by Al Gore
Indeed, earlier civilizations have experienced economic, political and environmental Collapse. Numerous Central and South American civilizations had come and gone over the thousands of years before Columbus arrived at islands off this continent’s shores. Some of these earlier civilizations destroyed themselves through war, some through greed, and, yes, some through destruction of their environment. Others were destroyed by disease brought by visitors from across the oceans. (See 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles Mann and Guns, Germs and Steele buy Jared Diamond).
The difference now is not that we as a species are encountering these cataclysmic shifts for the first time. The difference now is the scale on which we are experiencing them. Our species has become so large in number, and so interconnected, that we now face these challenges on a global scale. We are regarded by many, and I think accurately so, as a species out of control, a species in danger of destroying not only ourselves, but also the ecosystem on which we depend for survival.
Some refer to this period as “The Great Turning.” Many believe that we are at a critical, make or break turning point as a species. One fork in the road will lead to disaster, to a situation in which our planet can no longer support human life and human civilization as we know them. The other path leads to a new level of integration with one another and our environment and a new level of consciousness as a species. Depending upon the choices we make, we can either destroy ourselves or evolve to a higher state.
We need many things to address today’s crises and to evolve, including a clear vision of a better world, the ability to collaborate in ways we haven’t yet imagined, and the political will to make the required changes in our legal and social infrastructures. Another of the things we certainly need is to be grounded in who we are—to be able to act with a conviction based on our deepest view of ourselves. To meet today’s challenges effectively, we need leaders and followers who can operate from this deeply grounded state and draw upon our wellsprings of wisdom, strength and courage. Story work can help us become so grounded and operate from that place of personal alignment. It will help us be clear about who we are and enable us to have the reserves of strength, authenticity, and good sense to address contemporary challenges successfully.
If you would like to learn more about story work and/or consider story coaching, feel free to call or email me at:
Steven P. Ober EdD
President: Chrysalis Executive Coaching & Consulting
Affiliate: Systems Perspectives, LLC
Office: PO Box 278, Oakham, MA 01068
Home: 278 Crocker Nye Rd., Oakham, MA 01068
O: 508.882.1025 M: 978.590.4219
Leadership Blog: HYPERLINK “https://managementhelp.org/blogs/leadership” \t “_blank” https://managementhelp.org/blogs/leadership
Steve is a senior executive coach and consultant. He has developed and successfully uses a powerful approach to leadership coaching, Creating your Leadership Story, which enables leaders to make deep, lasting improvements in their leadership effectiveness in short periods of time. He and a group of partners created a breakthrough educational program, Coaching from a Systems Perspective, in which you can significantly enhance your abilities as a systemic leadership coach. See HYPERLINK “http://SystemsPerspectivesLLC.com” http://SystemsPerspectivesLLC.com.