“If your vision is for a year, plant wheat. If your vision is for ten years, plant trees. If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people.” Chinese Proverb

Change. Change is the goal of the work Transformative Leadership for Change (TLC), as evidenced by the name; change at the individual, community, institutional, societal levels; lasting change that fundamentally alters our environment, our conditions. This kind of change therefore fosters continued transformation and change (aka self-actualization) thus becoming a self-perpetuating cycle for the benefit of all life.  This is a lofty goal – worthy, exiting, and while long-term in nature, is happening daily in smaller yet big steps.

One of the things about change is that it is scary, stressful, at times even painful, even when one knows it is beneficial and chooses it, on purpose. Knowing that to achieve the happiness or benefit related to it the change one seeks the change should be lasting and enduring. For change to take root it takes time and needs reinforcement, repetition, needs to take up residence in the body, the brain, the spirit and be lived through the heart. There exists a path that leads us to change -transition, and there is a process that creates this kind of change – transformation. A person can have an intellectual understanding and acceptance of a revelation only to see it dissipate in subsequent days. One needs a post-it note on a mirror to remember to take a new medication, or a mantra written on a phone screen, until either it becomes second nature or we risk it fading away. A person can deeply desire a positive change and still have base survival fears in the unconscious and shadow self will sabotage one’s success.

But that, exactly that, is why this particular path and process inherent in TLC is critical. This circle of leaders at different points of personal and professional development is a garden of magic, cross-pollinating, healing, reclaiming, celebrating and elevating each star on the constellation of Colorado leaders, each shining our own North Star to illuminate our own offerings, but also to light the way for others. The leaders of the TLC have developed a process and a path to work through the barriers to change. They step by step lead us into, around, over, under, through the parts of ourselves, in community, that would sabotage change. They make it easier for us to find common ground and a shared language as a group and guide the process of defining for ourselves the vision of a shared future.

I personally have found ways to embody my own power that feel good to me. I have brought in more money (a lot) to my organization. I have created alliances that could be game changers for my field. I can see internally where I get scared of my own authentic brilliance, where I have played small, and I can see how I cannot continue to serve my communities in the way that they deserve if I continue to move in that way. I know for myself, I can never be the person or the way I was before the TLC, and I am only half way through the year. Seeing myself reflected in the power, the humanity, the sheer caliber of leadership in my peers in the circle has shifted everything for me. I know that indeed I am the seed transformed, and that the garden in which I find myself blossoming is sure to perpetuate bigger, more beautiful, majestic, and nourishing crops that will fundamentally shift the plates of the world as we know it, for the best of all, for the highest good of life.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

-Nelson Henderson