I woke up at the Conversations for Change conference in 2014.
Having been unsure what to expect, that weekend managed to instill in me a sense of responsibility for the world and the contribution I could be making that I had not experienced before. Asked to face up to the diversity of issues faced on all fronts across the world, I was shaken out of the complacent belief that there’s little I can do, or that it is all better left to the experts.
In this information age there is a wealth of talks and presentations, articles and publications freely available to inform and inspire us and open our eyes to some of the great work already taking place. Conversations for Change workshops help to draw out the issues and ideas that have the greatest impact on us individually, help us to formulate questions we want to ask and turn ideas into potential actions and next steps. We can sometimes surprise ourselves to learn what we really think when we say something out loud, and in turn we can have our ideas shaped and refined by what we hear from others.
Over the past few years I have been working to identify ways in which I can make choices to live and work in better alignment with my own values – for instance, to be part of a kinder and more compassionate world, making ethical choices, being well informed and serving others. However, it is a hard and demanding road – our conversations can be full of idealism, the desire to make a difference, to do meaningful work in the world – and the answers can seem so obvious. But taking steps towards making a positive social impact probably won’t be glamorous, won’t necessarily pay well, and we can be asked us to make difficult choices about our current way of living. Sometimes existing organisations or systems that desperately need to be changed for the better are so far from even being able to start that conversation that it can be demoralising or seem pointless, requiring ongoing commitment and perseverance to make even a little difference.
So yes the conversation is the easy bit – but conversation with interested people can help to sustain us through challenging times, can nurture our vulnerable ideas and visions, or can help to reflect back to us the potential we each have to make a contribution, even if we don’t know where to start.
If you are interested in the concept of Conversations for Change or if you’d like to suggest a question or a conversation starter, please get in touch