As I sit down to write this post, it’s mid-January 2020.
If I were an internet marketer worth my salt, I would have been in people’s inboxes multiple times already this year – talking about resolutions and new beginnings in the hope of making a few extra sales at a time of year when most people are ready to spend a little money.
Instead I spent the beginning of the decade locked in my house feeling scared, angry and desperately sad.
See, I live in Australia. And right now my country is on fire.
We’re a nation familiar with fire and extreme weather. But the length and magnitude of this crisis is testing us to our limits.
As our weary firefighters spend yet another month doing their best to fight the seemingly unbeatable flames, the rest of us fight about whether ‘climate change or the greenies‘ put us in this position. The only thing we seem able to agree on, is that this is unprecedented.
I’m one of the lucky ones, watching it all unfold from the comfort of my couch, rather than fleeing for safety as fire destroys my home and community.
But being forced to camp in the most airtight room of my house on 40+℃ degree days, while fires rage on three sides of my city and dense smoke closes down all but our most essential services, has certainly given this crisis a personal tinge.
As one of those people who believe that climate change has played a critical role in amplifying the scale and intensity of these fires, the situation has at times felt downright apocalyptic. And even as a glass-half-full, we-can-do-this-together kind of gal – the frustration of being locked inside unable to make a direct or useful contribution, left me feeling anxious, hopeless and frustrated.
It’s an unbearable weight to believe that we’ve left it too late to solve the climate crisis.
To look at your loved ones – and particularly the children you love – and grieve their future. To feel desperate to do something – anything! – and not know what direct action to take.
It’s certainly made me think a lot about what we need to do (and particularly what I need to do) in order to ensure that this current crisis is a turning point rather than a death knell.
The obvious things came up pretty quickly – I donated money, signed up for climate change marches, and tried to thoughtfully (and unsuccessfully) guide the conversations I encountered from blame to action.
I threw myself into work, where at least I felt a little more ‘useful’. But despite the welcome distraction, when I logged off every evening I struggled to recognise myself in the depressed and defeated person I had become.
Of course, frustration is always a precursor to breakthrough. And for me the breakthrough realisation was this…
I can’t be powerful, if I believe I am powerless.
If I want to contribute to creating a better future, I need to believe it’s possible first.
If I want my actions to make a difference, I need to be clear on the outcome I’m trying to create.
If I want to inspire others to take action too, I need to inspire them with a vision of what’s possible.
Because if there is anything I’ve learnt these past few months, it is that fear keeps us stuck.
If you’re one of our clients, you probably recognise the irony in me taking so long to recognise these things, when they are the very things I go on about all the time – only in the context of communicating and selling your services, rather than trying to save the world from climate change.
And I guess that makes sense, because…
The biggest challenge lying ahead of us is not climate change, it’s communication
Yeah, climate change is going to be a tough nut to crack. But there are so many amazing scientists, engineers and businesses already applying themselves to this challenge.
Our big challenge is going to be changing minds, in this post-truth, polarised world.
And I’m not just talking about changing other people’s minds.
I think we need to accept that no matter how well informed we are, none of us have the full story. And that the certainty that we are right, only contributes to the polarisation – and paralysis – we see in our society.
I’m definitely talking to myself here, when I say that far too often we either argue – certain in our belief that the other person needs convincing they are wrong. Or we avoid the conversation – silently unfollowing people who share articles or ideas from sources we believe are unethical and manipulative.
How is that helping anything?
If there is one thing we can be certain about, trapped on this piece of rock, hurtling through the universe…
We are all in this together.
So like it or not, we are ALL going to have to work together if we are to create a future that works for all of us.
I do believe that our climate is changing. And more specifically, that we have reached a level of crisis, which needs to be addressed if we have any compassion or care for our children’s future.
But I can’t expect other people to be curious about my ideas, if I am not curious about theirs. So for starters, I think my conversations need to change from…
“Do you realise what will happen if we don’t change?!”
“What would an amazing future for all of us look like?”
It’s worth saying again….
If we truly desire change, we need hope, not fear.
So what next?
I don’t have all the answers. These are imperfect thoughts, shaped by an imperfect mind. And as much as I wish I could give you a step-by-step checklist to solving climate change, the way I would if I were helping you build a website, I can’t.
What I can share is an article that helped me find my own inspiring vision of the future.
You may not live in Australia, but maybe you can imagine what this might look like in your own country or community.
Because a clear and inspiring vision is crucial if we want to enable sincere and creative conversations that lead to meaningful change and results. And maybe more importantly, to help us sustain our energy and sanity through those conversations and the long journey ahead of us.
Phew. That was a long one!
If you read all of that, please know I appreciate it.
And perhaps we can continue the conversation in our Facebook Community.
If you didn’t read it, no sweat. We are all on our own journeys, and I hope you’ll appreciate why I needed to share at this point in my journey.
Either way, we’ll be back to our usual programming soon.
Because an inspiring future is one where inspiring entrepreneurs like you thrive.
And we’re committed to helping you do that.
FOUNDER OF THE GOOD ALLIANCE
After more than a decade spent helping big brands sell more stuff, to people that didn’t need it; Cat set a simple intention: To do more work that made a positive difference in the world. And so The Good Alliance was born…