As the season change and I close down the garden this Autumn, I find myself with a particularly strong sense of completion – of one phase at least.
On the run up to my birthday next month I am taking pause to reflect on what has been a busy year, full of many different activities, some more fruitful than others.
Though the coming year will be one of reflecting on what has and hasn’t worked for me over the past 8 years in particular1, there’s also cause for me to reflect on 2019 to-date.
In January, I rounded up a group with the promise of an interesting year where we would look at how to contribute individually and collectively to the creation of a better society.
They were warned that things may change dramatically over that period and they were not disappointed.
— 1 I live my life on a 9 year cycle with each year representing a certain theme that guides my focus and activities.
As we started out, the intention was to create a business of contribution (see the video). But it quickly became apparent that how I had framed business wasn’t quite right. What was right about it, was that each of us needed to ensure a dedicated focus toward the kind of work that only each of us could do – our Purpose work. But such intentions rarely fruit quickly. There was a need to take the foot off the pedal and focus on a more emergent, creative approach.
We met weekly for support drop-ins, monthly for webinars and had our development triads with whom we dug in and got personal, speaking of our aspirations, the wisdom we’ve gained and what holds us back in life. I personally met with everyone weekly to ensure they were progressing in the way they wanted to be progressing.
We had a successful event in April where we spent time getting to know one another in person and confronted some personal limitations. It was a potent experience for all involved. It became apparent following the event that a clearer distinction needed to be made between the collective component to the work and the one-to-one coaching that I was offering.
So we went on, ditching what wasn’t working and enhanced what was, bringing more of a focus to how we could support one another professionally. A few new people joined and a few others left.
Several excellent contributor presentations later and we found ourselves with another event on the horizon. This time with a renewed focus toward how we could become citizens of the regenerative society. This was the vision of a society that is more just, peaceful and harmonious. A Utopian vision, that whilst unattainable in the near future, represented a grand inspirational goal to point at and start travelling toward.
The September event was a big hit, with some excellent contributions once more. Many stronger connections were formed and potent collaborative opportunities initiated. The resounding insight following the event was the need for greater and deeper initiations – facing blind-spots, pushing beyond comfort zones and breaking ourselves from fear of the unknown and overly-reductionist mind-sets. Without making these shifts, we cannot become effective citizens of the society.
So as I review the year behind us, a new phase of Fourthguides is about to begin and I would like to invite you to be a part of it.
From November 2019, I will be launching the beta for our personal and business development network – bringing together the best bits from 2019.
We have a diverse set of folks in our number, all of whom are geared toward improving themselves and their societies.
For those who are unfamiliar with my background, Fourthguides is my latest attempt to answer two big questions – 1. how do we look after ourselves better and 2. how do we get along with one another better? I believe realising the answers to these questions collectively will result in a more just, peaceful and harmonious – a regenerative – society. But for this vision to become a reality, we must learn to become citizens of that society.
After losing faith in the current status quo back in 2007, I have spent a great deal of the time since, in crisis. I spent a lot of time trying to move forward, then running away, then falling into addictive behaviours, then running away some more. But I also spent time giving talks, leading social and environmental projects, developing my martial skill and philosophical understandings of life.
I went from having no clue of what direction to take in life, dependence on family and employers, difficult relationships with immediate family and thinking I could never have kids, to being settled in a relationship with a baby on the way, feeling love and respect for my family and getting paid to pursue work that is making a difference in the lives of others.
The people I’ve gathered around me are committed to the same path of discovery and mastery. I won’t lie, committing to living authentically, dispensing with victimhood and thoroughly taking responsibility for oneself can be a tough old slog. But the most fulfilling thing you’ll ever do. I guarantee it!
Many encouraging words have been shared about this work since January, including:
I have lost count of the number of ‘initiatives’ ‘groups’ ‘sessions’ ‘seminars’ etc that have purported to be for my benefit but have actually been a means to ram a concept down my neck or sell me something. This approach allows us the space to choose, contribute and in some cases alter the direction of travel. – Lenny McCoy, Simply Great Media
Nourishing, nurturing, great fun, wonderful connections with incredible people… so inspiring! Thank you to everyone! – Charlie Mitchell, Creating Space For You
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