It is easier, safer and more comfortable to keep things “at arm’s length”. Whether these ‘things’ are relationships, ideas, stories, communities, etc. – it takes effort, time and some measure of thought to engage, involve yourself and participate. What’s more is that participation is not static – it exists on a continuum: on one end I can exhibit mild interest and be considered participatory, while on the other end there is and can be such a high level of engagement that I am actually co-creating something with others. What has people participate and invest at such a level? What would be the impetus that overcomes the desire for ease and safety?
At BoldLeaders we have explored this question for the last 15 years: What has people participate at high levels for sustained, long-term time periods? It caused us to examine the notion of Participation, to the point where it has become one of our Guiding Principles. It caused us to create a unique Design Platform that we termed Availability – our programs always include this element. Most importantly perhaps, it caused us to look at the SOURCE of high-level participation and to see what was missing in the cases of keeping things “at arm’s length”. What we uncovered is unique, simple and profound and we have been incorporating it into our work with schools, educators and organizations with great success now. The images and stories about Bold Leaders around the world is just scratching the surface: participants in our programs keep going, they engage, they take part in – they are fundamentally different than when they began working with us. They do not keep things at arm’s length – instead they jump in and generate.