Welcome to Week 2 of Element 4’s Agents of Change programme. Following your work in Week 1, we hope you have a good understanding of your motivation and unique reasons for initiating change. This week we will focus on finding a supportive community of like-minded people who can help you along on your sustainability journey.
Being an Agent of Change can be challenging – questioning the status quo, standing up and making your voice heard, can make you feel vulnerable. Finding your tribe is an essential way to nourish, protect and support yourself, helping you to find perspective, get inspired and talk through challenging situations with others who have experienced similar circumstances.
FIND YOUR TRIBE, BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY
There is nothing wrong with stepping out alone, but we have found from our personal experiences that when we come together, our strength is always greater than the sum of our parts. There are many places that you can find support. You may be lucky enough to have friends and family who are on a similar journey, but if you don’t, you’re not alone. There are many sources of support and camaraderie in the sustainability world – from online chat forums to activist groups, Meetups to mentors, there’s something for everyone. For starters, come and join our set up LinkedIn group. We’d love to be part of your tribe!
Remember that, although you may be passionate and want to share your vision, others may have very have different perspectives. Not everyone you meet is a good fit for your tribe. It is very important at the start of your journey to focus your time and energy on those people who can build you up and provide ideas and inspiration.
It is tempting when we first discover our passion and purpose to engage in discussion with people who have very different ideas in an attempt to win them over and change their minds. We caution you to be mindful and take your time. Engaging in heated debates with climate deniers, for example, is likely to be a significant drain on your energy, could damage your confidence or leave you feeling angry or hopeless. These are the sort of exchanges you might consciously decide to leave until you have a stronger foundation of support and knowledge later on your journey. You will quickly come to see that some people are worth engaging in debate, while others will never question their beliefs and take pleasure in baiting or ridiculing you. Your energy is precious – spend it wisely.
Below we have provided some resources to help you explore the topic of community. We recommend that you print out and complete the worksheet with your personal thoughts.
We’d love to hear about how you get on – tell us your experiences in the Agents of Change LinkedIn group or send us a message using the link below. Share your thoughts and inspiration that may help others on the same path.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”Mother Teresa
Please try to answer the following questions of the week or download the self-reflection worksheet.
- Who do you feel comfortable and safe to share your ideas with and who is it unsafe to discuss my ideas with?
- Who I should consciously avoid discussing these topics with because they are not receptive, will damage my confidence or block my progress?
- Who can you encourage to become an agent of change through your positive words and actions? e.g. those within your business, people in your network, those in your local community, your friends and your family.
- What gaps do I have in my social circle that need to be filled with people who can support me on my journey?
These are the obstacles you may come across when finding your tribe, but don’t let these stop you from beginning your sustainability journey.
Initiating conversations: You do not know how to start dialogue with the people around you.
Fear of rejections: You worry that the people whom you talk to are not interested in environmental issues and may dismiss your reasoning for its importance.
Finding the wrong audience: “Climate change deniers” are people you must avoid. Do not fall into the trap of trying to convince people who will not change their mind, but instead identify people who want to learn more from you and are open-minded.