Emerging sages’ peak experiences mostly had to do with personal challenges, but in several instances the experience involved coming together with other people to tackle a difficult and complex problem. From this they learned it is often critical to find other people who can help (the balancing of challenge with support) and to share the burden through cooperation with them. This enabled them to learn about both personal empowerment and collective empowerment.
A Taste of the Real World
Two emerging sage leaders talk about working in a nonprofit women’s crisis center early in their adult lives; they say it was this early taste of the “real world” that pointed them toward their current social service work in Nevada County. Other emerging sages identify international travel as being influential in shaping their worldly perspective; by leaving their home town, they went beyond their “comfort zone” (challenge, the anxiety side of flow) and saw the world as a bigger place than just a few square miles of Nevada County. Then they returned to apply what they had learned. Ironically, these emerging sages might not have come back to Nevada County if they hadn’t experienced the world outside. But they did and their motivation was to share what they had learned in order to make Grass Valley and Nevada City stronger communities.
1. Nevitt Sanford, Learning After College, 1980.
2. Mihalyi Csikszentmihali, Beyond Boredom and Anxiety, 1973.