When my time at UWCAD came to a close 21 years ago, I wondered how I could ever do justice to all that these life-changing years had given to me.
My parents brought me up to understand the meaning of gratitude from the inside.
To our roots, our home communities, our college communities, their wider ecosystems, and causes yet beyond, that carry big and scary names like “global problems” which we are taught not to fear, and on the contrary, to care about. Care deeply about.
For us scholars, who were there on the goodwill raised through the tireless efforts of our movement’s fundraisers – this moral imperative felt even greater. At least, it did to me.
So this is what I have done with that imperative.
I’ve run Living Potential in my spare time, children’s-nap-time, during-schooltime, after-bedtime, in the last 12 years since giving up my burgeoning corporate career in Singapore and moving as a trailing spouse to Switzerland.
Having three children and moving houses and country along the way, in the absence of the regular help of extended family or domestic support, on top of the kind of crazy intense life we have been blessed to lead, has rendered this more challenging than I feel like elaborating upon here.
Suffice to say that I’ve done this for one reason. To give back. When I was crystallising my life’s work all those years ago I knew there were two things I wanted to do. Both are direct plagiarisms of the UWC ethic. That was tongue-in-cheek; “homages” is perhaps a better word.
1. To help young people find their way to living a life as truly big as they have latent potential for.
(This is arguably the raison d’etre of education itself.)
2. To reduce intercultural conflict and forge new ways for diversity to benefit us all.
I am so fortunate. To have through life’s ups and downs and unexpected turns been given the chance along the way, to discover not only skills that I can deliver at world-class level, but also to discover the worthy causes to which I can dedicate this steely, demanding service lifelong.
My calling is to help others find their calling. My meaning is to help others find their meaning. How potent and multiplicitous a joy is that?
It’s 4.40 in the morning and I am determined to give myself the pleasure of sharing this with you before I surrender for the night. It’s funny how what started out as a desire to flesh out this, my personal blog (as the Germans say, “Langsam, aber sicher” – slow, but sure!) so I could finally unleash the pent-upness of multiple years of writerly frustration due to utter lack of bandwidth into increasingly structured content that I am now ready to go properly public with, ended up with a complete albeit simple and definitely waaaaaaaaayyyyy-overdue redesign of my professional coaching, training and facilitating website.
Here it is.
Plain and simple, but fit for purpose for now. I will start crafting more professional content, including articles, interviews, courses for offline and online, so the layout will morph along the way. WordPress has been a bit of a crash course in the last 7 hours. There’s still tons I don’t know, but at least I got the basic hang of it. It’s pretty fun too (ok, not any more at 4.42am).
I am indebted to a very small number of friends whom have in recent days inadvertently kicked my butt in getting going with this. When I told one of them that I had lingering confidence issues with that little voice in my head questioning me putting my content “out there”, she looked at me like I was mad.
“Elaine. I *need* YOUR voice in MY head. I don’t care how you get it there – write a book, through your blog, or leave me voice messages… I need to hear what you have to share!” I started to smile. She wasn’t finished. “You have so much knowledge and wisdom to give. People need to hear these things. It’s a -public service-! I’m telling you. You gotta do it!!”
Bless you, F. You’re not even on Facebook, so I can’t tag you and thank you in person. But as we give what we need to give, so too must we learn the even harder lesson of how to take what we need to take. 💞
Finally – I’m doing it for these three. Because, as Gandhi said, “be the change that you wish to see in the world”. I want to head towards my certain death, whenever that comes, knowing I did my best along the way to deliver to them a truly good world, and to deliver to the world some truly good human beings.
And as coach, mother, woman, friend…I choose to walk the talk, in every way I can.
PS. Now that the kids are well and truly settled, I can finally channel that freed-up time and energy to my work. I’ve waited a pretty long time for this. I am really good at what I do. And I’d love you to get in touch if there are opportunities that you come across where I can be of help. 😊#sharetheword