What is the future you’re trying to create and what will it take to create that?
Are you frustrated by your willingness and enthusiasm to make change happen in your life, in your organisation or in the society but seems to go nowhere?
If so, you are not alone! There is a great explanation why you are not seeing the change you want to make. My guest in today’s episode, Hildy Gotlieb, a social scientist and asker of powerful questions had an aha moment when she realised that to see the world change, we need to change the questions we ask.
About Hildy Gotlieb
Hildy Gotlieb is the co-founder at Creating the Future, a living laboratory for bringing out the best in people through the questions we ask in our day-to-day lives. She is also an author, TEDx speaker, and serial social entrepreneur. She is also a contributor to Stanford Social Innovation Review, and the host of the Making Change podcast series, where she interviews change leaders from around the globe.
We discussed how to create social change and powerful movements. Hildy believes that successful people and successful change happen when we build on who we are together.
After a career in government, in the corporate world and in real estate, Hildy wanted to get back to the roots of making change in the world. She started a consulting with her partner to work with organizations that are doing something to change the world.
Her aha moment came after studying three big movements, as she realised that to see the world change, we need to change the questions we ask. The Catalytic Thinking was born.
“Individuals and movements that are really succeeding, aim at what’s possible,” Hildy says. “They reach for what they want, they have a clear vision of what that looks like, and they aim high.”
Why Most Change Fail and What Can We Do?
Martin Luther King said: ‘I have a dream’, not we have a problem.
Hildy decoded why most social change organizations are not achieving the change they seek to make because they look for what is wrong, they look at the problem. Instead, we need to look instead at the future we are trying to create and what it will take to create that.
“Successful social movements and successful people build on what we have together, what we are together, who we can be together, the strengths that we have together.”
And yet, we are forced to compete in organizations and in businesses to some extent and not trust each other.
Catalytic Thinking is a series of questions built on what we have together. There are three set of questions that bring out the best in people:
- What do we really want (not what do we not want)?
- What can we accomplish together?
- What do we have together?
A journey of discovery
Hildy went on a discovery journey, filling holes before finding her path in life. She shares an empowering outlook on how to can look back at our childhood or painful situations.
“We’ve all got our stuff in our childhood, that’s not always fun. It’s sometimes painful but it teaches us what are the strengths, we must build on,” she says. “The mere fact that we’ve survived to this moment means that we are powerful.”
When you’ve been deprived of love your whole life, you’re not going to choose well.
She reveals how she used the ‘belief re-patterning’ technique to shift her thinking and forgive herself for believing that she was less than she truly is; She also understood that what she learned coping with a narcissistic mom served her for a moment but was no longer serving her and she had to let go of it.
Hildy encourages us to look back at those difficult moments through the lens of compassion and love.
“Your strengths are never going to be found in a book. Your strengths are in your heart, in your head, in your gut, with the gifts you’re born with.”
She is deeply grateful for her past as it helped her to become more compassionate.
“I did not know that being a mom would change me at a cellular level that it would reframe everything,” she says.
How do we get both meaning and money in what we do?
Hildy thinks that the current system within which we operate does not value the work that gives meaning to us. The work that we do to create change in the world is devalued; the only thing that we do care about and look at every single day is the stock market.
Although the system we find ourselves in makes it very difficult to do both, we humans can accomplish anything we set our minds to. We can ask different questions to find some answers.
What does it take to create a different set of values that would pay teachers, humanitarian, aid workers, artists who bring joy, love and health to the planet a lot more than we would pay a stockbroker? What would it take to change those systems? What would it take to look differently?
Hildy explains that it’s time to view the world through the lens of collective enough-ness in our personal lives, understanding that together, we do have everything we need.
Building a Movement
We don’t necessarily have to build a new movement, but we can all be part of one that already exists. And there are a lot of them on this planet tackling all kind of issues. The shift is to stop seeing all these movements as separate and start seeing them as one interconnected whole.
Hildy’s movement is to create a healthier and more humane world: ‘a world that works for all of us.’
“We are way more powerful than we think we are and can do a lot to change the world,” she says. “By changing one question we ask, we can all create change”.
This is the reason that at Creating the Future, they have opened their board meetings to anyone in the public who want to participate and changed their staff meetings to get to know each other as people. Every meeting starts by asking: ‘What’s been exciting and fun in your life since we last saw you’. People get to know each other as person. They also take the last 10 minutes to reflect and ask: ‘What stood out to you from the meeting?’
Meaningful Work, Meaningful Life
Hildy realised that there is no ‘me’, there’s just ‘all of us’.
“My life has best meaning if I can find gratitude. If I can be of service with compassion. and if I can understand that everything, I do is creating the future and I’m responsible for,” she says.
Her parting piece of guidance to live a meaningful life is to be grateful, to be compassionate, and deeply acknowledge the responsibility that we all have. We do that through how we feel, how we think and the questions that we’re asking.
What is your key takeaway from this episode? What are you committed to do today to find more meaning in your work and live a more meaningful life? Comment below.
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