learnings and stories: share your story


We are eager to learn of your conversations and the stories that emerge out of them. We have big plans in the works for this section of the web site. Please check back soon for new developments.

In the meantime, let us share with you a few stories.

These stories come from those hosting From the Four Directions Leadership Circles (an initiative of The Berkana Institute). We ask people to host a series of conversations with local leaders. (We define a leader as anyone who wants to help at this time.) The general topic is "Life-Affirming Leadership." We hope that these conversations support people to be more courageous and clear about their leadership. But as you'll learn from these stories, peoples' conversations vary widely.

From The Netherlands

"We have a circle here in Holland, it started as a place to rest, to encourage each other to vent, to be challenged and discuss. It is now also a place where new actions are being born. We are hosting conversation cafes on the events since September 11th, our first one will be on November 11th. We all felt that the most important action we could take was to get people to slow down and reflect through conversation. What better to do than what we do?"

From Sweden

"My own circle has sometimes been great, sometimes a little lost in a lack of common purpose. My conclusion is that diversity is great but the members have to have a good motivation and an inner drive towards a common interest in visions about the future. I was a little too eager to recruit members that don't give this priority and have learned something from that.

The agenda is more and more obvious in this time in the world and we will find how to develop our coming together out from that. From my personal point of view I get very inspired by all that I have got from this circle and the people I meet there. I can also notice that From the Four Directions influences my daily work with people and organizations."

From South Africa

"Thank you also for the invitation to let you know how our Circle is going. We have met in circle once a month since before the Circle Practicum. The level of discussion has been superb. The last two circle meetings have concentrated on working through what the events of 11th September mean for the world and South Africa. It became very clear that with the world being so different after the terrorist attack there is a real opportunity for Life Affirming Leadership to offer alternative ways of leading when it is clear the old ways are failing.

In South Africa we are so aware of the escalating nature of violence. The violence abates only when adversaries are able to talk together. In 1986 the idea of the Nationalist Government talking to the ANC was even more of an outlandish idea than the American Government talking to the Taliban but by 1990 the impossible had happened.

The circle process and Life Affirming Leadership offer so much hope at a time like this. If there is any hesitancy on our circle's part it is finding a way to translate the talk into action. There is no doubt that everyone in the group has a much clearer and visionary idea of how life affirming leadership is possible. But so far our circles have been more about sharing thoughts and growth areas rather than any practical implementation of the ideas where we work and live.

Circle members have applied the principles and practices in some NGO settings but we have not effectively crossed the divide to apply the principles in the business sphere. Some members are getting a little frustrated that our circles may just be gab fests (Very rich gab fests I must add!) rather than something that can be applied where we work.

God bless you in your continuing work in an area we still regard as the most hopeful leadership initiative we know of."