When it comes to bringing positive change into your life, it might start as a wish, or an aspiration, or a dream. We know from history, some of the biggest dreamers have created the most lasting positive social changes. The ability to dream allows for anything to be possible. Imagining a desirable future is what keeps us going,
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
In the work I do as a change agent, whether as a coach with individuals or a consultant in a community or an organization, early in the process I seek to inspire every individual to see themselves in a new dream.
Ability to Dream
Accepting we have the ability to dream big and bold, how to act on your dream is what comes next. Appreciative Inquiry, the transformation change method I teach and practice provides a beautiful framework to bring dreams to life – not only individual dreams, but also collective dreams.
Some of my most personally rewarding, professional experiences are in designing and facilitating teams or community groups to dream their future. They may not be aware that's what they are doing at the start of an project, but as they follow the process, that's what they discover – they all have dreams of how they want their work to be, their communities to be, their worlds to be. From a place of deep listening to one another, people discover a sense of union with each other and that there is also something larger.
David Cooperrider is creator of the transformational change methodology, Appreciative Inquiry. Professor Cooperrider has worked with the Dalai Lama, Heads of States from all over the world and with top business leaders. He explains:
Appreciative Inquiry is a way of designing questions that allows us to dream and devise big ideas together, instead of focusing on problems. It can quickly bring out the best in people and has been adopted by businesses worldwide.
Dream is in fact the 3rd step in the Appreciative Inquiry methodology.
As an example, in a community or business planning session, here are some of the questions, I might invite participants to engage in:
- What is important to you about being here today?
- What does this project mean to you and the community?
- How might you bring your strengths and talents to this project?
- What opportunities exist and who will benefit?
- What most excites you about this project?
- What three wishes do you have for this project?
Inner Work happens before the Outer Work
These questions tap into peoples' values, their gifts and talents, their aspirations, their emotions, and their dreams (wishes). In these conversations, people listen and learn. As they find interdependencies, they tap into their creativity. The possibilities of being able to share a dream is more likely than they may have at first considered. In fact, they are doing inner work while they are also committing to outer work.
If you are interested to learn more about how I do this work, please take a look at my Services Page.