35 - Growing 1

Marks of Metanoia 5: Joined to a New Tribe and Deeper Connection to Others — Part I

In this series of posts, I’m exploring the 7 marks of this essential experience of metanoia that I laid out earlier. The fifth mark of metanoia is that it grows connections to others.

When I first set out on this writing project back in 2012, I thought that my perspective was entirely unique—a belief that seems somewhat foolish today, given the widespread patterns and movements that I was observing at the time, and which have only strengthened in depth and representation since. At the time I began, my wise father, then heading into his nineties, cautioned, “Don’t imagine, son, that you have had an original idea. If you’ve thought of it, chances are someone else has, for we are all swimming in the same soup!”

As I believe they were intended, his words provoked more thought and urgency than discouragement. For by then, we were both well aware that this writing project had already seemed to have gotten hold of me more than I could control it. These past few years have proved him right, as usual, evidenced by the regular arrival of examples, articles and papers from friends and readers with encouraging notes like, “thought you might like this one,” or, “a relevant point of view for your writing,” attached.

The good news, of course, is that the attempts I have made to describe this sea change in business each have numerous cousins written by the growing numbers who populate this space, because we are all simply boats on the rising tide of a social movement.

A few years ago, a TED talk given by Derek Sivers tantalized the audience with the title “How to Start a Movement”. The talk features a home video taken at a music festival in which the camera is focused on an open hillside. With the concert in full swing and the hillside filled with people sitting on blankets enjoying the show, in the center of the frame appears a shirtless young man dancing gleefully. The people around him, at first disinterested, eventually join his off-beat dance as, one-by-one, each chooses to embrace the growing wisdom of participation over isolation, and soon most of the hillside is filled with jubilant dancers.

There is something remarkably simple about this image of engagement; how non-conformist action by one person becomes, in the end, a prototype for action by the enlightened many who each find themselves drawn out of previous patterns and into what has become a new imperative. Consider the millions, literally, that joined the marches in Paris and in other major cities a while back to express solidarity with the principle of free speech, many carrying banners and buttons that proclaimed, “I am Charlie”.

Such is the nature of metanoia—a change of heart and mind links us to a new tribe of people who share that mindset, and we can’t help but connect.

Deeper relationships result. Yet we are paradoxical creatures, we crave both the distinction of uniqueness, while at the same time seeking to be part of movements and groups larger than just ourselves.

Something metanoia always causes is connection to a much larger movement and a community of others. In my case, as a result of the change of heart and mind I experienced that led to this writing project, not only have I found myself part of a growing throng of people describing what might be called, “the new economy,” I have experienced deeper friendship and personal relationship with many people.

Here are but a few:

  • My dad, as we have discussed and traded ideas about what we are seeing and worked together on some of the deeper social and cultural underpinnings of what we are seeing.
  • My colleague Jordan, as we have learned to write and think together and to understand one another and the abilities we each contribute to this work.
  • Katie, a client from years ago who became a friend, and who has been a loyal thought partner, supporter and critic from day one.
  • Jeremy, my friend and editor who has stuck with us for years now in pursuit of this vision, given helpful nudges at the right times, and provided much of the opportunity and encouragement that has gotten us this far

To read Part II, click here.

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