I have been feeling lately that we social changemakers are on the cusp of something really big and new. It is an opportunity — an opportunity we have likely been training for our entire lives — to remake the world in ways we could formerly only imagine.
Social change leaders, who have for so long envisioned a better, healthier, more equitable world, are increasingly feeling that the moment for leading profound social change is beginning to draw near. A woman I’m connected with on LinkedIn, Rebecca Magee, wrote something recently that echoes this sentiment. As she put it:
I’ve been struck by a feeling that all of us who work in #socialimpact, #sustainability, #socialjustice and all of their many counterparts are preparing for the moment we’ve been training our whole careers for. There is a new world that is emerging, and so it’s no surprise that we haven’t found the perfect next opportunity or felt like it’s the moment to jump. We can’t fathom what’s unfolding right now, and the opportunities that will exist may never have existed before.”
Rebecca’s words remind me of something author Martha Beck wrote a few years ago:
All around you on this delicate sphere of a planet, the Team is waking up, shaking stiff cold limbs, smiling into one another’s eyes. On the horizon the gray light grows, brightening to a symphony of reds and purples and golds. In the brush the hornbill calls, the lion roars, the leopard breathes. The day for you to mend your life, to find your true nature’s way through the wildest world human history has ever seen, has begun. And oh, oh, oh my Teammate, what a glorious morning it is.”
I believe we are witnessing social change warriors preparing to lead in big, previously unfathomable ways. These social changemakers — whether from the nonprofit, philanthropic, government, for-profit, or social enterprise sectors — are beginning to wake up to a new kind of energy, a bigger calling, an unprecedented opportunity to create a better world.
And in fact, it is the current chaos and destruction — that we all feel so acutely — that provides the opportunity to create something so much better, as Robin Katcher writing in The Nonprofit Quarterly describes:
These pandemics [of the murder of Black people by the police and COVID 19] so starkly expose the costs of believing in illusions, that it can open us up to new possible futures for our nation, our work, and our leadership. It is time to actively make use of the disruptions and breakdowns as portals to a reimagined future.
I believe that all across our bruised and battered world, social changemakers are beginning to embrace these “portals to a reimagined future.” We are realizing that a new day is dawning, and we must step up as new, emboldened leaders. Whether our calling is to heal the environment, create fair political structures, develop equitable financial systems, connect disparate and divided groups, reinvent public education — the time is coming. We are about to step into something we have been training for our whole careers, our whole lives. A great reset — a great reset that we will lead — is dawning.
So, if you are feeling worn down by the chaos that swirls around us, take heart. A new day is dawning. Your vision, your energy, your ideas for a stronger, healthier, more equitable and fairer world is about to be called into service. Before you know it, you will be put to great use.
As poet Celia Thaxter wrote so many years ago:
The blush of dawn may yet restore
Our light and hope and joy once more.
Sad soul, take comfort, nor forget
That sunrise never failed us yet!”
Hang in there social changemakers. Your moment is dawning, I promise you.
Photo Credit: Federico Respini