Recently at one of our community learning sessions we focused on imagining our futures and stepping into aligned commitments in our careers and in our lives. We used generative approaches and stream-of-consciousness writing to explore what we most want to create in our futures. As we wrote about our desired futures in silence, we listened inwardly - an introvertâ€™s delight.
We then courageously shared our imaginings with a partner, opening up to someone we might or might not have known. In this vulnerability we heard ourselves think out loud and saw our stories of what we most long for. We were witnessed by and interacting with another, being heard, reflected back and completely focused on (some of our most basic needs I would think) - an extravert's delight.
To close the session we each reflected on our commitment(s) to action in service of our future imaginings. We looked at the distinction between strong, shallow and â€˜criminalâ€™ commitments (TM - Newfield Network) and declared our strong promises out loud to this forming community.
By using generative approaches at this session, we looked at what we want to generate more of in our careers and in our lives. We focused on exploring possibilities for the future rather than limiting beliefs. We looked into what is most meaningful to the individual and others involved, and how to build on our current strengths to propel positive action.
In generative approaches we ask questions such as:
- What hopes do you have for your career and life in the next 2 - 3 years?
- Where do you see these future elements showing up most now?
- What kind of support do you see around you to make this happen?
- What do you want to be saying about what you are doing and how you are being in this future?
- Who else needs to be engaged for this to happen?
- What is your next strongest step?
Though I have a highly skeptical side, I am sold on generative approaches as a key enabler of positive change. Iâ€™ve witnessed many individuals and groups dive into finely-crafted generative questions and process wholeheartedly and in community, and come out the other side with higher engagement, sense of purpose, agency, collaborative community and stronger commitment to action and sustainable change.
Author â€“ Joanna Mackie â€“ Leadership Coach