New Year, New Vision
The start of a new year offers the opportunity to review, reflect and reset. For our last Leap of Leadership meetup of 2023, we wanted to think about the next year a bit differently. We offered a visioning session to support participants with gaining greater clarity around what they want to create and how to make it happen in 2024. Human beings are very powerful creators and the more we can think about and imagine what we want, the more likely we are to find ourselves doing the things or being the people that we envisioned.
Start exercising your imaginative muscle by reading through the below tool and listening to the recording where Graciela Selaimen, Spring Associate and coach, guides us through a couple of exercises that can support us to bring our vision to life.
Takeaway: Open space for your imagination to create different possibilities
When it comes to narrative change work, we often focus on shifting narratives to support social and climate justice. But what about the stories that we tell ourselves on a daily basis? When’s the last time you intentionally brought imagination into your life?
Many of us have grown up in a society that doesn’t value and nurture imagination; it’s absent from our education systems, from our workplaces and from public life. Instead we’re taught to produce concrete outcomes and follow the rules — which in themselves were a human invention created in someone’s mind. As feminist writer Lola Olufemi said, “I want you to remember that most things are an invention.”
Author Ursula Le Guin said that, “The exercise of imagination is dangerous to those who profit from the way things are because it has the power to show that the way things are is not permanent, not universal, not necessary.” If we want to create different possibilities for ourselves in the next year, we need to intentionally open space for imagination as a way of creating more of what we want.
Putting it into practice: Exercise your imaginative muscle
Since our work and public spaces are often not environments where we’re invited to imagine things differently, we invite you to start doing it at home. To release your imaginative power and exercise that muscle, try out the following:
- Dedicate time and space to unblock your imagination. On your next coffee or tea break, instead of automatically unlocking your phone, use that time to look out the window and start imagining other possibilities. You can start by listening to Graci’s visualization exercise at timecode 24:55 in the above audio and filling out the Seed Planting Scrapbook.
- Give yourself permission to imagine and see yourself as the expert of your imagination. Our dominant culture has ways of limiting and denying us the permission to imagine, telling us it’s a waste of time as there’s no concrete outcome. Get rid of the internal expectation that we need to deliver results through everything we do.
- Make it a regular practice to unlock not just the mind but also the body. When we imagine, we think it’s a practice of the mind but it's actually a practice of the whole self. Our bodies respond to what we imagine. Take anxiety as an example; when we imagine something that hasn’t happened yet, it can lead us to breathe faster, raise our heartbeat, and make our body contract. You can prepare for an imagination practice by engaging the body through breathing and movement.
- Create: Seed Planting Scrapbook by the Collective Imagination Practice Community
- Practice: Imagination Activism and the Symbiosis Meditation by Inner Development Goals
- Read: Experiments in Imagining Otherwise by Lola Olufemi
- Read: Becoming Imaginal by Alixa Garcia
- Explore: Imagination Infrastructure Initiatives
- Play: Building Just Futures: A World Making Game by JASS and SOAS University of London
Leap of Leadership is Spring’s monthly online meetup for social justice changemakers around the world. Each month, we tackle cutting-edge topics through new tools, concrete practices and exchanges with peers. Learn more or sign up to join our monthly drop-in sessions and receive our monthly emails.