Margaret Wheatley on leadership and Warriors for the Human Spirit

Ep. 33


Margaret Wheatley is an author known for bringing lenses like anthropology and quantum science to the fields of leadership and organisational design. In this thoughtful conversation, she challenges the idea of large-scale change in favour of creating “islands of sanity” and doing meaningful work in a local context. She talks about restoring leadership as a noble profession, her take on the growing number of self-managing organisations today, and how we can train as “Warriors for the Human Spirit.”



Lisa Gill: Okay, so, Margaret, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Maybe if we could start by talking about your current work and where you've got to, because I know a few years ago, you published your latest book, 'Who Do We Choose To Be?' which was on the 25th anniversary of your book 'Leadership and the New Science' So where are you currently in your thinking and the work that you're doing?

Margaret Wheatley: Well, one of my delights has been to be very open and attentive to what's going on in the world. Now, when I first wrote 'Leadership and the New Science', and it was published in 1992, I was as optimistic as anyone could be that all you have to do to create positive change in the world, especially around self management was to present a solid theory backed up by lots and lots of evidence, organisational evidence.

And my belief, which is quite naive, was that, people will just greet it with open arms and be very thankful for it. Because the paradigm of the new science of self-organising systems, which is another way of understanding self-managing systems - you can organise and get order without control - that was the fundamental 'aha' moment for me when I was studying the new science. I mean, I still remember it vividly when it was like, Oh, my God, you don't need to control everything to get a successful outcome, to get order, to get people really engaged. And the evidence was overwhelming. I mean, Marvin Weisbord had a statistic that I've used for many years, I'm sure it's still very valid - if not, if it's not increased - which was that in a self managed organisation, you will get a minimal productivity gain of 35%. And he said this in the late 80s, to which he then put the question - and if this is true, that you'll get 35, minimum 35% increased productivity through self management, then the question he asked was, why isn't every organisation working on a self managed basis? Because everyone says, well, we want productivity, we want increased efficiency. I mean, they're still on that raft, you know, how do we get more with less workers? How do we get, how do we drive workers for higher productivity - I still get asked to speak on that, and I refuse to. There are more important things to talk about. And I'll get to that in a moment.

But my belief was, all you had to do was present the evidence and this exciting new paradigm which promised increased levels of creativity, increased levels of wonder, which is a very important component as we do our work as we live our lives we could be in a state of wonder right now we're in a state of fear and anxiety for good reason. But what I learned from publishing that book, which was very well received, I was very well received that it's still now a classic - it's still used in many college classes on leadership. Many University programmes use it. But it didn't change the world. And from that, I realise what it takes to change people, especially those in leadership, which is my interest, what it takes to change them is not good ideas. There's much more going on - many more dynamics at play, most of them are called power and greed and lust and grasping after things. But just having a great idea, unfortunately, it's the saddest thing I can say, does not affect change.

So I then wrote eight other books, each of them was quite different. And the last ones were about perseverance, about developing a state of wonder for this beautiful, beautiful planet and cosmos we live in, and the most recent one, 'Who do we Choose to Be?' asks the question of leaders, not whether you're going to adopt a new theory, but whether you're going to wake up to the reality of what's going on, to the complete dismissal or attack, I would say now on life, including people. So we're dealing with organisation, so people is the focus. My own work now is to train leaders to be Warriors for the Human Spirit. And I'll go into on that detail later - but the trajectory, the arc of my work has been initially to wake people up. And to realise we had choice in how we could organise. And self organisation was an alternative - and I found many people were so excited to have choice.

So my most recent book, 'Who do we Choose to Be?', is all about choice. It's about consciously using our leadership, not to create change at the level we all aspire to, and that we all want it so desperately, but to choose how we are going to stand up for people, how we're going to stand up against this highly destructive tide of events and policies, and so life destroying, and how we're going to protect people, and try and lead as best we can in an environment in which you have to be revolutionary, you have to be counter the culture of greed and efficiency and numbers, and artificial intelligence and standardised processes - you have to take a stand. So it's a different level - it was much more fun to present the choice as choosing a new paradigm of leadership which would give great results and engage people to now, the choices, how are we going to stand up against these times? So I just want to give the subtitles of the book and then we can talk more, but the subtitles are the path, which is first we have to the first subtitle is 'facing reality', we do have to face reality. The second is 'claiming leadership'. So it's a conscious decision. I'm going to be a leader for this time. And then the third is 'restoring sanity' because truly, this is a devastatingly crazy, insane time.

Lisa Gill: Yeah, I really like in one of your books, you talk about paradigm blindness. And I think that's so powerful. So I guess a follow up question is how then do you wake people up to, you know, that we're in this paradigm and to the possibility of choice?

Margaret Wheatley: Yeah, I think I changed my focus from paradigm blindness to understanding - and this is a fun, I'm glad you asked this question early on - this is a fundamental shift. I used to think you could wake people up by introducing a new paradigm. I now know that is not true. There are many other influences and forces and dynamics at play. So even though people may be intrigued by a new paradigm - a new way of being, a new way of thinking - they might be intrigued by order without control as a basic opportunity, but they're in these organisations and leaders positions where they're being driven to increased efficiencies, shortened time spans incredible levels of distraction, and work becoming more and more meaningless. They are not in a position to - even if they recognise this is devastating - it's life destroying in most organisations these days, even if they recognise the possibility that a new paradigm presents, they most often cannot change, except by leaving. And of course, that is a trend that has been a trend for decades in this country, where women are leaving corporate positions. But it's, the devastation is not just corporate organisations, it's among teachers, it's among doctors. In this country, in the US, 65% of doctors don't want to be doctors any longer. So we've crushed these professions by this economic greed-infused paradigm. And it is really destroying leaders as well as all possibilities.

So I'm not interested in - I no longer hold the possibility that we can create change at that level of organisations or systems. I know, we can wake people up at the individual level. And that's where all evolution occurs. And that requires dedication. It requires commitment, it requires community. And that's why I created Warriors for the Human Spirit as a training programme which requires real dedication and diligence and a strong community, because being a leader these days is quite terrible. Even if, I mean, what I've keep saying is, the leaders who knew what to do and had great results with high participation, community engagement, self organised organisation, they knew what works - even they can no longer do this within the current mainstream of organisational life. So I feel very strongly we need all of us to shift our gaze to what is possible to change. And, of course, many people are saying this. I think I mean it a little bit differently. We have to change ourselves. But we have to change ourselves in order to serve more effectively as leaders. And a lot of people are just focused on, 'well, I'm just going to change myself'. My whole purpose of being right now is to create leaders who can stay, leaders who can stay present, leaders who are not overwhelmed by anger and aggression and frustration, leaders who won't get ill and just withdraw, leaders who will not become cynical and, and just disappear on us. So I'm really working with leaders and the whole concept of leadership is, are you willing to commit to staying - not necessarily in the same job, but staying available for what's coming, what's needed already, the large numbers of people who are beside themselves with anxiety and fear, who are suffering terribly. Those are the leaders that I'm working with. And that's the level of change that's possible.

Lisa Gill: It strikes me that it's, it's almost about at an individual level, choosing activism almost rather than victimhood or just survival.

Margaret Wheatley: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I mean, that's the choice point - who do I choose to be? Am I just going to get along? Am I going to keep my wage? Am I going to try and just cocoon myself and, and get absorbed in personal interests or Netflix or other entertainment? Am I going to just focus on my family, but basically withdraw - which, I would say the majority of people are making that choice. But you know, when times get hard, and devastatingly hard as we're now encountering and will continue to encounter, there are always a few people who stand up and are incredibly brave, focused, disciplined, self-sacrificing - knowing that they, whatever the hardships of the times, they want to serve. So that's the quality of shifting one's leadership opportunities, from self-interest to service is just that clear to me. And most people won't do it. So I'm not interested in masses, I haven't been interested in masses in a long time. Because that's not how things change, except through violent revolution, and I don't want any part of that. But it's always a few dedicated people. It's always a minority that stands up takes action, releases themselves from expectations, and just does what needs to be done. And those are the people that I'm supporting now. And they're growing in numbers, I must say, I speak to many people, about restoring leadership as a noble profession. And I'm finding great resonance with people who think - oh, I could use my position, my influence my power, to do meaningful work again, it's just different work. It's not about changing our systems. It's about being present for what needs to be done having higher levels of consciousness, higher levels of awareness, and not doing it for self-aggrandisement not doing it for applause. Not doing it even for positive results - just doing it because this is the work that needs doing. And I'm really heartened by the numbers of people who respond to this, this call now - a summons to 'how are you going to use your leadership?' The old ways, the old aspirations are no longer valid. We cannot change these large systems, even though we know how to do it. What the methods and tools are, we have all of those. But it's not happening because of the other dynamics here - of self interest, greed, fear, wealth going to the very few. And this turn that it is always present in any civilization at the end of its lifecycle. So that's where we are.

Lisa Gill: Could you say something, for the benefit of the listeners about Warriors for the Human Spirit. What does that mean? And what does that look like?

Margaret Wheatley: Yes. Well, it's the people that I just described, the people who are willing to - who have a great desire to stay, who've already been activists. These are not people who are suddenly getting religious about, oh, I should do something. These are experienced leaders of all ages, but with a predominance, so far, of older people and older women who want to continue to make a contribution. It's now - we're attracting more people in their 30s and 40s. But I actually love the fact that we have a majority of older women who want to bring their presence and their wisdom of all these years of experience in service to this time. So to be a warrior for the human spirit means that you're willing to train, you're willing to train in a serious way, just as you would if you were training on a musical instrument, if you were training at the gym - but you're training your mind, and your heart, your heart-mind. So, you know, in, in Sanskrit, in so in Hinduism, and Buddhism, the word for mind is the same word as heart. So I'll just call it heart-mind from hearing, but we're training our heart-minds, to be aware of how we act in the world, to be aware that we personally create all of our emotional states - they're not flying out there and then landing on us, you know, that if we get angry, it's because something in us in us, me personally, was triggered. It's not that anger exists in the situation. So we do a lot of work on meditation, and learning to know our triggers, so that we can go into these places of conflict and heartbreak and, and not be undone by them, not fall apart. This was my initial path - that I wanted to be able to stay and I knew, I was so easily angered, outraged, frustrated, grief stricken. And I needed to learn how to get away from those emotional responses, but not act from them.

And I think this is increasingly true in the warrior community. It's true for all of us. How do we deal with these levels of grief, rage, now, frustration. Like why don't people, why don't our leaders do what needs to be done? Well, they're not going to - and so, why are so many people suffering at the hands of the greedy? And why is the planet pushing back and nobody, no politicians, are really willing to understand the enormity of the changes required. So that creates an environment for us - if we're paying any attention - we're not in our cocoons, it creates an environment where we have to know how to deal with these very deep, complex emotions. So that's part of the training - not to ignore them or disallow them but to act from them.

And another component of the training is we want to be able to see more - we want direct perception, we want to go into a situation, into an organisation, into a room full of people, and pick up more information of what's going on, that's not filtered, as much as we do filter it through our own biases or 'Oh, I don't like that person over there. Oh, I know, I have to watch out for him. Or I don't want to be here'. But you know, we have all of these, these filters. And so we work to really just take in more of the world, all the information that's out there, that we just exclude, or we don't even know we're filtering. And then we work with mind-body awareness through Qigong, in other settings we'll do yoga, but we've done Qigong in the long trainings - very gentle practice, for really feeling that energy between mind, body and earth and sky.

And then we have a very strong community, which is sustaining itself through self organised efforts - small groups of people, cohorts, occasionally, interacting in some way. And so that's the components. Developing a stable mind, creating direct perception, learning how to perceive more fully, mind body awareness, and learning to work with these very strong emotions - so that we can be in these places that provoke and trigger us and be of service. So the whole meaning of being a warrior, which is historically, in every culture, there are warriors, a few people who train who are incredibly disciplined, and who are there to protect. Now, in some cases, they're protecting the king or protecting the church, they're protecting the people. In our case, we are protecting people, and with, as nonviolent warriors who have a deep commitment to not add to the fear and aggression of this time - that requires training. How is it possible, not to feel afraid? How is it possible not to get reactive when somebody attacks you, you know, in a meeting or in a public space, or whatever - I'm talking about verbal attacks, not physical. But with so much aggression out there and so much fear, we take a vow that we will not add to that as much as possible. But that's why we require training. So it's wonderful work. I am deeply, deeply grateful that at the end of my very long career to have this, and find the people who really want to serve this time, not some illusory time when we thought we could change everything. But this time, which requires enormous perseverance. That's the title of one of my books. And it requires enormous capabilities that we didn't know we needed in the past.

Lisa Gill: Margaret, I'm wondering what you make of, because I mean, you mentioned at the start of our conversation, this quote about self organising teams and the productivity benefits of that, and that was in the 80s. And yet here we are in 2019. And self organising teams or self organising organisations are nothing new, but it seems like there's, they're sort of trendy at the moment. And there are books like reinventing organisations, and then there are sort of systems like holocracy out there. But I speak to lots of people who feel like there's something missing - the kind of human part and the mindset - I guess, the heart-mind part that you're talking about, that not many people are talking about that or how we can train that. So what are your thoughts about what's happening right now?

Margaret Wheatley: Well, thank you. I don't see it as a trend at all. I see these as little blips in a increasingly avaricious, over-bearing over-powering machinery of organisation. If you look at everything that's being done under AI, artificial intelligence, that is a dehumanisation a profound dehumanisation of work. And we are in the grips of a period of time, which historically always happens at the end of a civilization. When the elites take power to themselves, they destroy the common people. These large bureaucracies - it was really interesting for me in studying anthropology and history - wherever humans have been, we first start as self organised communities where power is distributed, women are, you know, in power, but there's no sense that it's a matriarchy, because power is so distributed. And the moment - well, after some time, when we shift into a, when there's more of us, we're more static. So we're not nomadic, any longer - hierarchy develops, and the hierarchy always takes the same form. So one of the things I quoted in my book from a wonderful Canadian writer, is that every civilization takes the same forms. This is for me mind blowing, truly. So he gave the incident of when the Spanish conquistadores first landed in the new world, in Mexico, with the Aztecs, it was the only time in history when two advanced civilizations met. And they saw the same things - different expressions, but they saw roads, infrastructure, irrigation, courts, universities, cultural institutions, and temples, you know, religious organisations. And they saw kings or, yeah, kings.

So I have been really fascinated by how, when we talk about whatever is in our DNA, hierarchy is in our DNA. Not necessarily the people's DNA, but the the progress of a civilization always leads to increased hierarchy, increased bureaucracy, and then power going more and more into fewer and fewer hands. And then periods of destruction follow that. And fundamentalists arise. And fundamentalism is part of that also. So all power is given to the gods, whoever, whatever they are. And then they're petitioned to save us with enormous levels of sacrifice of people, usually. So I think this all works to describe Western civilization, we are sacrificed in egregious, terrible levels, right?

So these little blips of holacracy. I mean, that's all they are. They're little moments, which, for some people now we think, Oh, that's a sign of hope. You know, we're going to convert all corporations to self management, because this works. So well. Yes, it works. So well. We've been doing that since the 70s. And I don't want to sound like an old person, but I am, and I've had a lot of experiences. And so I can see where things that seemed so promising and so hopeful, and then what happened to them, because we are in the grips of this overbearing 1984 kind of machine of Big Brother. So we all got excited when some corporations, some corporate leaders started learning to meditate. One of them was the CEO of Monsanto. And at the time, my colleague was in a meditation group in which he was part of this - this is just when they are coming up with Roundup, which then destroyed ecosystems, people butterflies, etc - enormously destructive and they know it is they know it is. So I, the where I take the principle of self organisation - very fundamentally important to me, is when I'm working with leaders, in the midst of all this destruction, you can create an island of sanity, maybe. At least you have to try. And what I mean by being an island is it is different, set apart from an intentionality period, so that these overwhelming forces of darkness of greed and lust and aggression are kept at bay as much as possible. I've seen this happen. It requires enormous strength, courage and commitment on the part of leaders. But within that island of sanity than everything I've ever believed or written about self organisation how to motivate people, how to use participation, high engagement strategies, yes, that's where you do it. And it is increasingly hard work because these other forces are so, so strong. I mean, they're exponentially strong now. So it could be a holacracy. It could be bringing up any of the old words we used to use for self organised systems. It's our work, and that requires training. And it requires courage because no one's gonna sit up and say, 'oh, you're the hope of the future?' No, they're gonna say, 'What are you doing? You're, you're revolting against the powers that be', and they'll try and destroy you. And I'm just speaking organizationally even. And yet, we have the same wonderful effects on people's motivation, engagement, creativity, if we can create these islands of sanity.

I am finding, and let me just say one thing about sanity, I define sane leadership, as the unshakable confidence that people can be creative, generous, and kind. And the operative phrase there is can be, that's the work of leadership. So we're reintroducing, we're recreating conditions for organisation through everything the new sciences taught us. But we're recreating the conditions for people to re-discover, and exercise their creativity. And it is an island because it's so different than what's going on now in this greater tumultuous sea, that we're all engulfed in.

Lisa Gill: I suppose it's probably why I, so many of the inspiring examples that that I hear of where it seems like people are creating islands of sanity, and they're relating to each other in a totally different way, in a much more human way, tend to be small organisations or small teams. And it's much harder to find large examples, or large organisations.

Margaret Wheatley: Yeah, that's a very important point. Yes, it doesn't happen in large organisations. It can happen within a team within a large organisation. But you know, years ago with my co- author, Deborah Freese, we wrote a wrote a book called 'Walk Out, Walk On', in which we looked at seven communities daring to live the future now. But they're islands of sanity, and they're connected to one another. And the only part of that - we had a well developed, it's well used as well known model of - called the double loops are the two loops of how the new is born in the midst of the destruction of the old, and one of the important components is connecting to other, now I would say other islands. At the time, we thought, if we connected well enough, we could create the emergence of a new culture, a new society, at another level, I no longer believe that's possible - we have to get through this period of destruction. And then perhaps, but who knows. I was talking to Peter Sange, just two years ago, and his timeline as well. Maybe it's three or 400 years from now - this is shocking to us, right? We think, well, we'll just wait this out. And then we'll be able to, the golden age will arise and we'll have all these beautiful ways of organising, and valuing people and higher levels of consciousness. Well, that will happen as part of a cycle. But when a number of my colleagues were with the Dalai Lama, many years ago, now, they were talking about their levels of despair for their work. And he just said don't worry, your work will bear fruit - in about 700 years.

So this leads me to, instead of thinking, which so many people around me are doing, we just have to wait out this period. It's going to be bad, but we're going to wait it out. We have these new models, these new capacities, higher levels of consciousness, and it's all going to work out wonderfully well because this current form of civilization, you can almost not call it civilised, any longer. But this has to go because it's so destructive. And I agree with that - it has to go, it is going. It's imploding under its own weight. However, we have to get through this period of implosion, and collapse and destruction. And so that's why I'm focused not on some halcyon, beautiful future - which will happen, but because it's all cyclical, it always arises. But for us to think it's going to happen within any reasonable time period. And, I think it's just foolish, and it gives us a false sense of hope. I spend a fair amount of my time convinced bringing forward the realism to people that you do your work, you get results, because it's the right work to do. This is what Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic said - that hope is not the certainty that something will turn out well, but the conviction that something is worth doing, no matter how it turns out. That's where we need to be to do our right work. Not because we expect great change, or little change even. Now, of course, we want that. I mean, we never give up wanting change, we never give up wanting things to be better. That's a great aspiration to hold. That's like the motivating energy for conscious human beings - we want things to be better for more people. But as we do our work, we just need to focus on this work feels important right now. And if there's no gain, if there's no benefit to it, personal benefit, if there's no reaping of rewards, it doesn't matter. I'm doing my right work. for the right reasons. I find this to be enormously liberating when we can finally get there. But getting there.

There's several things in my work right now that I feel are asking people for huge leap. So the first is understanding where we are in the cycle of this civilization, and giving up all of our dreams so that we can change the world. And this third one is understanding that we're doing the work for its rightness, not for certain outcomes, certain expectations. When we can get there. giving up hope is also giving up fear. They are two sides of the exact same coin. So when we can get there, there's a kind of liberation, there's a kind of, 'I'm just gonna go for it', you know - 'I'm just gonna do it'. And there's a lot more energy and a lot more creativity, but it's a hard sell. You know, we're so driven by hope. Our whole culture is driven by goals and hopes and expectations. So, I would say those three things are what I find most significantly difficult for people to embrace. And then once they do, the work becomes really wonderful - wonderful in a whole different way.

Lisa Gill: Yeah, I think it's kind of both bleak and inspiring at the same time. What, what, what advice, then would you give to listeners, wherever they are in their journey? Where would you say that they should start? Or what is, how can they tap into what's the most meaningful work for me to do right now, for example.

Margaret Wheatley: Yes. Well, first, I would encourage everyone to go to my website, because there's a host of resources - not just mine, but other people who have inspired me, especially around videos, but it is bleak and dark, and depressing. Until you realise you accept what is. And once you accept what is you find enormous opportunities to serve. And those in and of themselves are motivating, inspiring, heart-opening. So we have to work through the depression. About four times a week I find myself just weeping for what's going on yesterday was one of those days, weeping for the world weeping for all the suffering that is so needless, but so increasingly common. And what I know now is that I will not succumb to that despair. But instead, I will just notice it - there is despair here. There is despair. And I know now, because I've been doing this for years, that this will increase my motivation and dedication to work with leaders in the way I'm doing. But pushing away the world or getting seduced by hope, getting ambushed by hope - so you see something that inspires you and you think, or I often hear people who've just come from a university or a school where they're so inspired by the students, they're the hope of the future, they'll make things right. That is an incredibly naive statement. I was a child of the 60s I served rather than protest, I was in the Peace Corps in Korea. In the 60s - we were committed to changing the system, stopping the wars. We were as energised and hope-inducing as any youth I meet these days. And here we are. We need to get a lot smarter about noticing any of you who are interested in systems perspectives, look at the whole system, look at the dynamics, look at the conditions. And then you ask what's possible. That can be overwhelming, because what's possible, is more immediate, more intimate. But you know, those, that kind of work is the most satisfying, truly.

So we're diminishing our expectations for greatness, for great change. And we're getting much more in touch with being humans, working together on behalf of the human spirit, on behalf of her realisation that everyone possesses talents and creativity. Everyone wants to belong. Everyone wants to learn at some level. But it becomes much smaller, much more immediate and direct. So my website has a lot of things on it, because this is my work now - creating leadership, this spiritual warriorship. So it's suggestive may provide some antidotes to your despair, it may increase your despair. But keep going, keep going. And then you'll find good work.

Lisa Gill: I wonder if you could share something about what you've learned about community and how to foster a sense of community, as you said that that was really important. What have you learned there.

Margaret Wheatley: Critical. Well, you know, all of the dynamics at play right now are destructive of community - fighting over fewer resources, working under such stress and distraction that you don't have time to cultivate relationships. How often do we just pick up a phone and call someone? I don't know I make an appointment. Or do you even use the phone anymore. So technology, which was meant to connect is partly responsible for us feeling more and more overwhelmed, distracted and lonely. And then the groupings we find on technology, lend themselves to increased withdrawal increased aggression, increased conspiracy theories - this has been well documented now, in social media groups - or superficial relationships in which we don't really know what it means to be there for one another.

So community has been at risk for quite a while through social media. And this false sense of connectedness. But the other dynamic here is identity politics. And it's very strong in the States, I really don't see it nearly as destructive in Europe, but it's there and it's coming. Which is the way we think we have to enter a group is being very visible and respected for our identity. Think gender, think race, think ethnicity. What that's doing while it's important, it's essential, but what it's doing, where it's gone here is complete divisiveness, like attack. Somebody says something and it seems to be a slander against a certain group. That person gets attacked. Nothing is taken in the richness of like a full statement, or the context of a statement. It's just people are just at the attack. And social media allows that it facilitates it in ways no one comprehended at the start.

So building community now requires a commitment to individually transcend their identities as the basis for coming into your relationship, and instead realise that we're in a good work together. So it's common cause it's all these things, many people, myself included, used to talk about - just establish common ground, and then people will work together. It still works. It's just getting there, you have to go through this briar patch of identities. But more and more people, I mean, you know, we're committed to environmental movements, food justice, good soils - all of those issues, which would seem to create common ground, need to create common ground, and yet people are still dividing themselves. I mean, the other thing to identity politics is organisational identities, which people still want to hold on to the power and status of their own organisation, rather than just work together. But, that's, those are all the negative dynamics. But the positive dynamics are, that as we see the world more clearly, and we feel more sorrow for all the suffering that's happening, we feel intense loneliness. And we need other people who understand things as we do, who share our worldview about what's going on. Who won't try and cheer us up, or make us feel hopeful with one, one or two examples. We actually need people who are already truly like minded, who share a common worldview. And we, and this I see so powerfully in the warrior community, people just get in touch with one another to console to laugh together, to problem solve together, to cry together. That's real community. But it's based not on who I am, but who we need to be for this time.

Lisa Gill: Yeah, I really like that, I think that community is increasingly important because it's kind of under attack. What sort of final words would you like to share on this podcast? We've covered so many really interesting topics.

Margaret Wheatley: Well, I would ask people to contemplate a few things. First, is to be aware of what, what you've reacted to in these comments. And stay with that - not as your level of certainty but just realising if you reacted strongly to something, that's worth inquiring about, and look at it from multiple perspectives. Because that will show you how your mind works, what you reacted to, or what surprised you. The second thing I would say is you just have to inform yourself, you have to look at the world with, not with fantasies, not with imagination, not with hope. You just take in as much as you can of what's going on in the world. Because that will actually give you the capacity to serve well. And the third thing is when I talk about being a warrior for the human spirit, or a champion for the human spirit, this is not a role I invented. It always is there. And I'm quite sure you have been that already. So I would say when you have stepped forward with courage, with no thought, to help someone to stand up for someone, you were in a situation and there was no thought of yourself, you just acted on behalf of somebody or some thing that needed help in that moment. And just find those experiences in yourself because that's, that's something you can now rely on. You can build you can strengthen. And it's an example. It's a insight into your good spirit and your good heart-mind and, and your courage. So we all have done this before. And now it's just a question of our level of commitment to serve other people in this time of increased suffering.