Integrating sustainability into an organization is challenging. They tell you that in your studies. Sustainability professionals tell you that too and yet one underestimates just how hard it is. If you personally have seen the light, then it can be difficult to understand why others have not seen the importance of it. I have been an observer of this phenomenon at work as well in my private life for many, may years.
Motivation is a big part of this big and complex picture. What motivates me might – and quite obviously also does – not motivate others. During a workshop at Cambridge I heard the fascinating talk of a professional, who talked about the human sides, which influence motivation and engagement. Personal interest was one of them, but was not the whole truth. Motivation also comes from societal gains and the genuine will to help people. He reminded me of a professor at a previous university who said, that for the area of human resource management, the only thing you need is love. Very much connecting it to feelings, which have been largely excluded from our professional environments, but something we clearly need to go back to. While this should not divert us from looking at facts, empathy, gut feeling as well as all the other feelings make us human.Neglecting this side of us, or downplaying it, puts emphasis on one part of us, that has rarely made people happy. We need a much larger share of these important aspects of being human in our professional lives/ organizations as it has been up until now.
The challenge of motivating others needs to be guided through what is dear to their heart – and this might be financial gains, recognition etc. or it might be just getting the sense of contributing to something that feels right.
With the vast array of issues we are facing in the world, the problem side can be increasingly overwhelming. While highly important to create a general understanding of the world we live in with focus on the challenges we have, it is important to look at the optimistic side.Focusing only on the hardships is making your life very heavy.
I have learned this the hard way.
About one year ago, I did a lot of reading about scenarios of where climate change will bring us – us as a society, the human species as a whole and the natural environment. I came across “optimistic” forecasts, which were still disheartening, but also “the end of humans as a species” through habitat loss. Heavy, my mind was exhausted and despair was just around the corner. It took several months to lift this heavy curtain again.
Mostly I achieved this by reconnecting even more with the human side in me, which loves to enjoy time with the most important people in my life, helping others, supporting a change movement in my country of choice as well as working more and more with Permaculture (PERMAnent agriCULTURE). The connection to the principles of Permaculture as well as the understanding that a different way was possible, pushed me into the solution direction and challenged me to engage even more pro-actively in advocating for the solution focus.
For me permaculture is one of the best ways to :
- get inspired for changing towards a sustainable life style all-encompassing (food, housing, human as well as environmental health, increasing biodiversity, healthy community living and much, much more)
- connect with a lot of people sharing the same passion for change and for a change in how we look at our world
- reconnect with things that deeply matter to you.
The following shows what permaculture can be used for in various fantastic ways (Click and a new window will open which contains the trailer to a beautiful movie):
Focusing on the positive things in life is crucial unless you want to end in despair. For some this might be easy, but for me it is an act of training myself to look at the good sides. Permaculture motivated and inspired me to look that way.
It moved me from only looking at the desert to imagining the paradise, rolling my sleeves up and creating this paradise myself – it feels a little bit like the transformation of the Loss plateau in China, where permaculturists converted a piece of abused land into a permaculture paradise, flourishing within 10 years (1998-2008).