Mind the Gap - our mantra
Inspired by the automated British voice that repeatedly urges train passengers in London to “mind the gap” between the platform and the train, we note that every moment of life is a function of relationships.
Relationship with what?
We are in relationship with people, things, communities and environments. We are in relationship with ideas, beliefs, traditions, histories, futures, cultures and habitual ways of being and doing. Most importantly, perhaps, we are in relationship with our self; our thoughts, our body, our perceptions and our sense of identity. In all of these relationships there is give and take, interaction and participation.
The notion of relationship implies two or more “things”, which in turn implies that they are separate, with a gap or gaps in between. We believe that paying attention, or “minding” these gaps, is of great value and that when we ignore or are oblivious to important gaps, significant breakdowns or missed opportunities can occur.
Benefits of Minding the Gap
The gap between can also often be a space of misunderstanding and assumption. By minding this gap we push beyond perceived limitations and tap into creative ways of thinking which often lie dormant in the gap. By minding the gap we free ourselves from being a prisoner of reaction.
It could be that when we Mind the Gap in a way that works, we are our most responsive, participatory and thought-filled selves. By Minding the Gap between what we know and what we don’t know we are able to cultivate a vast landscape of possible interaction, cooperation and collaboration.
Read, Watch and Consider More About Our Principles Below
A short trailer for the One Step Beyond Documentary that describes much of the work of our Principles. The film, directed and produced by Awen Productions, can be accessed by request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How We Mind the Gap – Our Guiding Principles
We pay attention to the following five Guiding Principles throughout the development and implementation of our work. They are how we Mind the Gap!
Use Mindful Language
Language can reflect our internal state as well as impact our internal and external environment. Mindful Language can be said to be “bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience with language”. Being aware and paying attention to the use of language as a means to establish a tone as well as the meaning behind your message.
Life for human beings arises in language, allowing for a past, a present and a future. Language is both a boon and a bane to our efforts. It limits us, yet can expand our landscapes. We are interested in common language that upgrades as well as determines paths for our results. Language that helps invent the next reference points and vocabulary for how people coordinate together with strength while remaining individually unique, with strength. A way to label our experiences, with power. As Bold Leaders, we strive to replace the inherited, automatic language that cultivates fragmentation with mindful, careful language that promotes coordination, collaboration and integration between people and within communities.
A demonstration of the use of Mindful Language and Participation by Natalie Walters, BoldLeader participant.
Collaboration is a compound basic human resource and is an intentional process between people that involves working together. Our mission is to Cause Bold Leaders and we look for ways to cooperate and partner throughout all our work. BoldLeaders participants involve themselves with others from the beginning through dialogue, collective efforts and the deliberate give and take of perspectives. They discover, often for the first time, that their answers may not be the only answers. As a first step, we ask groups to consider that the source of lack of collaboration in a group may be conflicting objectives rather than individuals who are in conflict with one another. We explore how to make choices and decisions in groups, as we become both students and teachers of this enigmatic skill.
Participation is an elemental basic human resource. We participate in our world from the very beginning. Over time, participation subsides until we stop. Our work is participatory. A fundamental request and point of coaching is to simply take part in. Play. While we recognize the value of finite play – a game with boundaries, distance, time and form – we are most interested in how to keep the game in play, infinitely. With Participation as a core principle, our goal is to then expand the number of players and do everything possible to continue to play the game.
Sive, a participant in South Africa, describes his experience of Participating and Going One Step Beyond as he share about becoming more familiar with a basic human resource.
Go One Step Beyond
We ask our participants to come play and reach the place they always stop, whether in human interaction, physical activity, or in their own thoughts and their work. We ask them to pause and consider and then take one step beyond that usual stopping place. We ask our participants to say “I am worth it” as they consider that they are, indeed, worth a step beyond the usual. This stretch – this decisive act of risking – allows movement beyond the normal into new realms of possibility.
A compilation of BoldLeader moments and participants during the American Youth Leadership Program with South Africa in 2013.
Tenacity is trainable. It is a notion of persistence, determination and willingness. Bold Leaders are not easily pulled apart, they stick. We ask participants to practice and do their best to give 100%, while also understanding not all is as it seems. Cohesive in their efforts while being a player, Bold Leaders demonstrate a real persistence in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired. Bold Leaders will hang in! Bold Leaders will practice. Bold Leaders are willing and able. Bold Leaders are interested in increasing their capacities and widening their scope. Bold Leaders realize that they will not get what they hoped for, yet may get what they are willing to take. Erin Johnson – a recent participant – describes tenacity as “a way to get from difficulty to joy” in this article for a magazine.