I define “positive change agents” as people who are committed to making the world a better place and themselves better people. In my definition I include people who consider themselves cultural creatives, sustainability activists, evolutionaries, and social entrepreneurs.

Here are the 4 most common mistakes we make:

[1] Just dabbling: When you don’t resolve to develop depth in any skill-set you are diluting your effectiveness. Learn how to facilitate effective group process, how to mediate conflict and reconnect people, how to run an effective social change campaign, how to surface dissenting views constructively in groups — something. Find one thing that interests and excites you, identify your mentors, learn it and practice it. Be willing to take imperfect action and start before you’re ready (Thank you Bill Baren.)

[2] Underconfidence (or listening to the wrong voice): DO NOT let your fear talk you out of what your higher self or your soul yearns for. If you’re afraid, that could be a sign that you’re on the right track. (Thank you Seth Godin.) Courage is NOT lack of fear. Courage is having fear and taking the next step and the next. Learning to listen and act from your highest self takes practice. 1st: learn to identify that voice. 2nd: learn to trust it by acting on it and checking your results; this has never failed me. 3rd: Surrender to it. Honestly, I’m still working on this last one — and how to do it moment-to-moment, day-after-day. The only thing harder than doing it is not doing it.

[3] Overconfidence (or 1st Tier Swagger): This can take many forms.
– Narcissism is one: falling in love with your image of what you do in such an aggrandizing way that you lose perspective.
– Another is thinking that you are beyond continuing to grow and learn: “I am evolved enough, thank you very much. Others should evolve to my level, and if everyone just saw things my way, everything would be better.”
– Another variation is failing to acknowledge the gifts and contributions of other perspectives. If you think: “My way of seeing things is the only correct one”, then you’ll likely be frustrated by all the other people with the same attitude, and unlikely to notice that engaging at that level is like an autoimmune disease of the Earth. We’ve got to evolve way beyond that, and learn how to meaningfully integrate multiple perspectives in ways that are respectful, non-coercive, and actionable. (Thank you Ken Wilber.)

[4] A lack of commitment to excellence & shabby integrity: Do what you say, and say only what you’ll do. If you think keeping appointments or answering people’s phone calls is too “conventional” — then you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

What do you think?

Did I miss any important ones? Am I off the mark? Let me know, will ya?

2 thoughts on “The 4 most common mistakes made by change agents

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