Prompt 8: A Community of Practice
This is the last prompt and we return to the idea of community.
We end the course portion of GameChangers GO by studying community for two reasons. First, communities are more effective than individuals in changing the game. We need more tools for changing the game to enlist others. Second, we have an open question about how you want the GameChangers GO community to continue, how it will support you as you live out your Mission Question. We need your input and energy for it to continue to serve your needs.
Part 1: Community, Practice, and Praxis
Read this entire article about communities of practice.
A community of practice is a group who shares a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.
A community of practice is a great framework for thinking about how to continue GameChangers GO. In particular, communities among practitioners create a direct link between idea and action. We return again to the idea of integrity: DOING what you believe in. Read about the concept of praxis cycle of thought, action, and reflection here and here. You learn how to change the game more effectively as you learn from each other (the CoP), act (your game), and reflect (both personal and clearness committees).
Important thing to keep in mind: Everything you have learned in the last 8 weeks are ideas and beliefs. But turning them to PERFORMANCE is the actual living your life with wisdom, purpose, and integrity. Can GCG help you remain accountable to that?
Preparation: In your final group session, you will be discussing and planning how our GCG community of practice needs to be built, how it will support you to do what you believe in. Beforehand, read the guiding questions in the GROUP SESSION section below and have notes ready so we can use the time wisely.
Part 2: Manifesting your Inner Life
GameChangers GO has to be a special community of practice, a Beloved Community based on living with a wholeness that encompasses both your inner and outer life. Our two-fold goal is (1) living with wisdom, purpose and integrity, and (2) manifesting that inner life outward into changing the game.
Manifesting your inner life is ultimately a spiritual exercise. In the last two weeks, we have been talking about the importance of doing, as a matter of integrity. But we end our 8 weeks by circling back to the central importance of doing inner work first. The major social change movements in the 20th century all began with the inner transformation of the heart. Below are inspirational articles about Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela. They all prepared themselves from within first before going out to transforming the world. Their spiritual discipline was loving first, then acting. That is how you change the game.
(N.B. There are many links in the following section, some to longer research studies, others to shorter articles. Pick and choose what you want to read – and come back to them again when you have more time.)
- Gandhi insisted that spiritual and practical training was essential for social action. Trappist monk Thomas Merton explained that “the whole Gandhian concept of non-violent action…is incomprehensible if it is thought to be a means of achieving unity rather than as the fruit of inner unity already achieved.” (at page 6)
- Martin Luther King Jr. reminded his followers at the end of the 1956 bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala. that sitting anywhere on the bus was not the goal. “The end,” he said, “is reconciliation, the end is redemption, the end is the creation of the beloved community.”
- More on the civil rights movement: “Practitioners prepared themselves by jettisoning anger, hostility and fear thus “minimizing the effect of an attack,” valuing love, courage, fearlessness, and forgiveness, and pursuing redemptive suffering which “releases unknown elements for good.” Preparation included meditation and prayer, study of the scriptures, practicing nonviolence by challenging segregation in bus transportation and in other public facilities. The virtues of nonviolence required practitioners to speak softly, to smile, and to focus on spiritual issues. With respect to nonviolent methodology, it should be acknowledged that “means and ends are one and the same.” Since “a transformed community” was the objective, then “the methods must correspondingly reflect love and goodness.” Here is an insider perspective on how spirituality affected the outcome of the movement.
- Nelson Mandela “was a militant black man with a raised fist and that scared many people. But the revolution in his heart freed him from narrow ideology or racial enmity and made him able to seek the national reconciliation that led to a more complete liberty for all the citizens of South Africa, no matter the color of their skin. Yes, he was just a man, but he learned a key lesson that most revolutionaries, politicians and world leaders never learn: before you can change the world, you must change yourself.”
- More on Mandela: “He made a decision to change his fundamental view and therefore himself by choosing to let go of the narrative he told about his past and to forgive. He chose to look at what happened yesterday and tell himself a new story about what was possible tomorrow. He spent 27 years in prison, but while he was there he was freeing himself the whole time — freeing himself from his past resentment, anger, and violence.
Can you look at what happened yesterday and tell yourself a new story of what is possible tomorrow? Can you maintain the spiritual discipline and accountability to do what you say? How will the GameChangers GO community help you do that for the long term? And how will you help others do the same?
- Game changing is about making a long term commitment to something you care about. In the group each person should talk about (1) a time where you set a goal and failed to achieve it and why, and (2) a time where you set a goal and succeeded and why. (60 minutes).
- GameChangers GO was created for you to live into wisdom, purpose, and integrity. You become what you think about. How will you keep thinking about wisdom, purpose, and integrity with the same depth and intention as the last 8 weeks? We need to make GCG a community of practice. What should GameChangers GO be? The Australia session should create a charter document that works through these issues. Make it a Google doc and share it on Slack with the U.S. session before they start 14 hours later. The U.S. session will revise it and post the final version in Slack for general comment.(90 minutes)
- What is the domain, the community, and the practice? Be as concrete as you can.
- Look at the activities that communities of practice engage in. What appeals to you?
- Is GCG a community of practice for inner work or for outer work? How? Be concrete. For example, do we want clearness committees and how often? Writing and commenting? About what?
- “Communities of practice enable practitioners to take collective responsibility for managing the knowledge they need, recognizing that, given the proper structure, they are in the best position to do this.” What is the proper structure GCG needs? How willing are you to share responsibility for managing the knowledge you need?
- Spend time doing appreciations for each other. Set aside five minutes for each person. Start with a moment of silence. Then tell that person what makes them unique, what you’ve noticed about them, what contribution did they make. This is a wonderful way to close out 8 weeks of being together. (30 minutes)
- Go back to the goal that you set in Week 7. Looking back at your previous failed goals and successes, what will it take to commit to this goal:
- What do you need to change?
- What do you need to put in place support you?
- Who do you need to support you?
- What is the inner work to do this?
- What will you do when things get hard?
- How could you self-sabotage yourself?
- What safeguards do you need against that?
- Write a reflection on what you’ve gotten from GameChangers GO. How have you grown in these last 8 weeks? This needs to turn into a story of where you go from here. Write a better story for yourself. Post it publicly somewhere as to commit to the changes you’ve wrought within.
- On your own, do one last round of 1-1 connection to another GameChanger. Whose do you feel you could learn something from and who you could offer something to? Connect with them on Slack and arrange a meeting.