There is an exercise we do in both our Group Coaching Sessions and during our Regional Professional Development Trainings. Participants are asked to individually list the most important things in their lives. Then they have to narrow them to 10, and then 8. In small groups, they share their list with other participants. They explain why these are the most important things at this stage in their lives. After listening to other participant’s lists and individually reflecting on the questions they were asked about their own list, they review their five top priorities. They have now identified the top 5 most important things in their lives. From now on these are the priority for everything they do – whether it is work, family, community or self-care. As they receive coaching from SWAN, fight gender and racial systemic structural barriers, and receive support and guidance to develop their professional plans, the five most important things in their lives are the lenses they will use to prioritize their focus and resources.
On my list of top 5 important things is sustainability. There are two meanings of the word: the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level, and the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. To me, sustainability is much more than these definitions. Sustainability leads to abundance. If the planet and the people on Earth can all achieve sustainability, then abundance results for all of us. If, as women leaders, we practice sustainability every day, we will be able to become catalysts for the Possible Society, the global society that provides for everyone because everyone shares the abundance in their lives. If we think about sustainability before we make too many commitments, we will be able to live an abundant life.
SWAN’s strategy to achieve a diverse and inclusive society is to support women’s leadership styles and women’s impact on society. Our purpose is to connect women of diverse economic and multicultural backgrounds at all levels of government, corporations, academia, civic groups and non-profit organizations so they can achieve more power and increase the influence and impact of women, especially women of color, in our culture and society. Sustainability is a guiding principle of SWAN and is weaved throughout all our programs and networks. We are all connected and there is much work to be done. We need to learn how to keep healthy and energized for the long run. Come join us and experience sustainability at all levels of your life.