“Wanderer there is no path, the path is made by walking.” Antonio Machado
Whenever I prepare to work with a client, the first question that I ask myself is:
What do I want to leave in their head, heart, and hands?
This question feels so holistic and deeply respectful. It helps me to remember that each of us is thirsty for knowledge, connection, and a deep desire to take action that makes a difference. All three elements are interconnected and, I believe, that real and lasting change can only happen when we acknowledge and speak to their presence.
Lately I’ve been thinking, is there any question that is more important for us to be asking as social innovators?
In the world of social change, there is no defined path to walk. That is perhaps the greatest challenge and the greatest joy of the work that we do. But I have to admit, some days I wish someone would hand me a map and say, “Go this way.”
Asking myself the head, heart, hands question helps me to refocus. It gives me a chance to slow down my thought process, to take my ego out of the equation, and consider how I can best serve the world. So while I will never be handed a map, this question acts as a compass to guide me solidly and confidently forward. It is a question that allows me to consider more than the impact I want to make. Instead, it allows me to deepen my awareness about what I know, who I am, and how I act in a way that leads to positive change.
As you set out to accomplish the goals that you have no doubt set for 2013, I offer up this question as a way for you to orient yourself and navigate the months ahead. Your biggest contribution will come when you take into account (and truly value) all that you have to offer. Your role as a social innovator is to balance head, heart, and hands in a way that only you can.
Too often we get caught up in what we are “supposed” to be doing. We listen to the conversation that tells us that social innovators are only effective in so long as they are creating disruptive, scalable change. What if we put that idea away for a moment and allowed ourselves to be guided by our head, heart, and hands? That’s where true innovation happens.
So, I’ll leave you with some food for thought and I would love to hear your responses in the comments below.
On Social Innovation + The Head: What knowledge or experience do you have that your community has been waiting for you to share?
On Social Innovation + The Heart: How do you want to “show up” to inspire and motivate your community into action?
On Social Innovation + The Hands: Where do you feel the tug of creativity and collaboration pulling you to bring something new into being?
And finally, how might answering these questions shift your approach to setting and achieving your 2013 goals? I hope your year is off to a bright and amazing start.