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Expanding on Capacities to Change the World

Capacities to Change the World by Adam Fletcher

The other week I published 16 Capacities to Change the World. So many of you responded so awesomely to it, that I have been thinking over each item carefully for the last week. Today, I’m going to elaborate on each point and add some more to the list.

I call these items “capacities” because they provide definition to our vessel in life. They determine what we can do, who we can be, and where we are. Each of us is absolutely limitless in our capacities. The following attributes are what I’ve experienced and observed are useful when working to change the world.

The Original List

You’ll remember that the list included these items: Change Management; Humility; Collaboration & Teamwork; Conflict Management; Decision-Making; Diversity & Cultural Competency; Coaching; Motivating & Empowering; Personal & Professional Goal Development; Knowledge Management; Problem-Solving; Training & Facilitation; Verbal & Written Communication/Public Presentation; Personal Engagement; Compassion; and Systems Thinking.

Expanding Capacities

In the original list I was originally considering the skills that a person needed in order to be a successful change agent; you’ll see that I began to add on the dispositions I know are important at the end.

The 18 expanding capacities are Challenge; Focused; Deliberate; Facilitate; Release; Listen; Simple; Action; Help;  Amaze; Driven; Funny; Bold; Learning; Openness;  Community; Passion; and Humility.

  1. Humility: Despite all the things I may have accomplished in the past, there will always be challenges ahead. No matter what happens, I want to always respectful towards everyone. I love to celebrate my successes, but not in an arrogant or boastful way. I believe in a quiet confidence because in the long run my character will speak for itself. I strive for humility.
  2. Passion: What keeps me going? It’s passion for engaging people. I’m inspired because I believe in what I am doing and where I’m going – even when I don’t know where that is! I don’t take “that’ll never work” for an answer. A lot of people tell me that the Engagement Revolution will never happen; imagine if I had listened to them so far! I have a positive and optimistic attitude because I have open eyes and am inspired by everyone around me. I am passionate.
  3. Community: I want to build community, not just colleagues. I serve children, youth, adults, and organizations by removing obstacles and enabling people to succeed on their own terms. The best decisions and ideas are made by people who take action, and I want to foster action among people. I collaborate with people and organizations to address the challenges in their worlds. Beyond that, I watch out for my community and care for others. I work together and play together with my community because our bonds go beyond the typical consultant/coach/trainer/speaker relationship. I work to build community.
  4. Openness: I am an open book. My availability and vulnerability can lead to creating strong relationships built on trust and courage. I can use these strong relationships to accomplish so much more than I can otherwise. It’s not easy getting there! I strive to always act with integrity, be compassionate and loyal, and try to be a good listener. At the end of the day it’s not what I say or do, but how I make people feel that matters the most. I cares about others, both personally and professionally. Peeling away the layers, I work to be open.
  5. Learning: I work to S-T-R-E-T-C-H myself both personally and professionally. I see the differences between being stuck in a rut and moving through a groove. I know everyone, including me, has more potential than we ever realize. I work to constantly unlock that potential, both in myself and the people I work with. I will never “get it right,” and that’s a reality I gladly accept. The only way I can solve new problems that arise is by learning and growing myself to meet them head-on. I am learning.
  6. Bold: I am bold and try not to be reckless. I’m not afraid to make mistakes because that’s one way I learn. I take appropriate risks and I encourage others to take risks too, and I use my risks to make better decision. I believe gut feelings. Everyone can develop gut feelings about decisions as long as they are open to new ideas and can allow failure to happen.
  7. Funny: I have a sense of humor, and I know it’s good to laugh at myself frequently. Living shouldn’t be drudgery or toil. I can fun and be goofy even when there’s work to get done, and I get lots done. Being a little goofy requires being a little innovative, and I am always looking for a chance to fully engage in my life and bring out the fun and goofy side of it.
  8. Driven: I constantly change and embrace it with open arms. I never accept status quo and I’m always thinking of ways to change processes, perspectives, and opinions, hopefully for the better. Without change, I can’t continue to be useful to myself or other people. I am driven.
  9. Amaze: I think anything worth doing is worth doing to amaze. To amaze, I differentiate myself by doing things in an unconventional and innovative way. I go above and beyond the average level of action to create an emotional impact on people and organizations and to give them a positive story they can take with them the rest of their lives. I seek to amaze.
  10. Help: Help is a key word for me. I offer it and ask for it often. Often, I can’t do everything required in a project, so in a large part, part of my livelihood is helping others do their projects successfully. I am not expected to know all the answers, but I know where I can go to find them, and I share that with others. I help myself help others.
  11. Action: I avoid the risk of not trying and the regret of wishing I had done something. When I was young, I knew that it would be far more haunting to live with the regret of having not followed my instincts than to have followed my gut and failed. I have lived in action and done risky things. I see my ideas when I have them and make note of them. That’s why I always have a notepad. If I think an idea is compelling, I go after it. We live life only once, and we all die too soon. I always try. I take action.
  12. Simple: More and more, I realize the power of simplicity. Since I am in the business of ideas, I want to share them as effectively as I can in our complex world. I do that by being simple. It takes more mental space for me to create something simple or communicate something complicated in basic terms, but ultimately, that’s what people want. I don’t need to explain everything the first time around. I need to facilitate the best tailored learning experience for you and your organization or community. I always need to break down knowledge into easily digestible, clear statements and actions. I work hard for simplicity.
  13. Listen: I speak by listening. Instead of rushing to come up with a quick reaction to what someone has said or done, I listen to them. When the time is right, I respond with knowledge. When I was younger, I assumed that the world was more interested in me than I was in it, so I spent most of my time talking. I was generally under-informed, I shared whatever I thought, I tried to be clever, and I thought about what I was going to say instead of listening to what someone else was saying to me. I have learned to slow myself down and engage rather than debate. I take time to really listen to what people say, and I try to learn from everything I hear. I listen to people.
  14. Release: I have to release everything I do when it’s done, and just let it go. Instead of trying to figure it out, I just let it be and accept that it is what it is, nothing more or less. It doesn’t determine my worth, others don’t validate my choices, and my contributions never go unnoticed, even if it seems like it. I release what I do when it’s done.
  15. Facilitate: I provide appropriate support to learners. I do not train people, because we don’t do tricks or routine work. Instead, I adapt and contrast, modify and transform. I encourage learners through questions and activities that build confidence, stretch understanding, and foster engagement in learning. I facilitate learning.
  16. Deliberate: I regularly stop to check my intentions and affirm my actions, so that what I’m doing actually reflects who I am. If I’m not aware of why I do what I do, I am disconnected from what matters to me. If I’m disconnected, I’m ineffective. Staying aware of my intentions and being deliberate allows me to guide my work with purpose, and challenge myself when its time. I am deliberate.
  17. Focused: I work to change the world, no matter what I’m doing. I do not look for fame or fortune, and I reject greed and deceit. Instead, I constantly look for opportunities to serve others, and I share my energy and efforts as often as I can. I see the ripple effect in everything I do, not just the flashy or huge things. I know every action in my life sets off an entire cascade of responses whose overall impact is huge, and I know this is true for others, too. I am focused.
  18. Challenge: When a I get too attached to the way things are, I lose the the greatest freedom of all: the freedom to fail. Without feeling like a failure, I don’t have to assume that a slight misstep is a deep plunge into the abyss. Instead, I step forward to challenges and see them each as an opportunity to innovate using a smart idea or strategic thinking. When I’m stepping up to challenges, I accept that failure is going to happen while I’m growing. Ultimately, I won’t become a better person because of how I respond to success, but instead, what I do with failure. I accept the challenge.

 

The entire list of capacities to change the world is now: Change Management; Humility; Collaboration & Teamwork; Conflict Management; Decision-Making; Diversity & Cultural Competency; Coaching; Motivating & Empowering; Personal & Professional Goal Development; Knowledge Management; Problem-Solving; Training & Facilitation; Verbal & Written Communication/Public Presentation; Personal Engagement; Compassion; Systems Thinking; Challenge; Focused; Deliberate; Facilitate; Release; Listen; Simple; Action; Help; Amaze; Driven; Funny; Bold; Learning; Openness; Community; Passion; and Humility.
Respond to these capacities in the comments section below and let me know what you think!

By Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker, writer, trainer, researcher and advocate who researches, writes and shares about education, youth, and history.

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