Home Concepts Adult Development The Big Picture, Civic Engagement and Generativity Four

The Big Picture, Civic Engagement and Generativity Four

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Improvements: Many Senior Sages derive their most meaning and satisfaction from brick-and-mortar improvements in the community:

“The most satisfying was in being successful in finding land and a building and purchasing it without having the community being totally up at arms about the location. Also, obtaining grants and working with homeless families and seeing life changes in them have been very meaningful. Some of these families were totally out on the street, and the impacts on their children were horrible. So much of homelessness is caused by drugs. It has been a total education for me.”

Collaboration: Whether working in partnership with their favored organization’s executive director or collaboratively with others, many Senior Sages derive great satisfaction from teamwork:

“What is most satisfying for me is when something gets accomplished and people start becoming engaged, see the potential, and get excited. That’s fun.”

Appreciation: And some Senior Sage leaders get personal satisfaction from the deserved recognition that others receive (a lovely blend of Generativity Three and Four):

“One of the most satisfying results is to bring recognition to the many law-enforcement and fire-services people who don’t get acknowledged for what they do to keep us safe. We serve an important role in letting the public know how fortunate we are to have such dedicated people protecting us.”

It is often the blending of generativity and appreciation that yields success. A professional coach can often assist with this blending.

Success Often Comes in Small Packages

The 50 Emerging and 50 Senior Sage leaders find gratification at many different levels when speaking about the satisfaction and meaning they derive from their work. It could be a small or big success. Most importantly, they experience their work as “making a difference.” This seems to be critical and at the core of the Sage leader generative experience in civic engagement. It is an important role that can be played by a Discernment Coach who helps their client sort out what is a “difference that makes a difference” from a “difference” that yields temporary results. The small differences and small successes often are lasting and set the stage (enablement) for even bigger successes.

Sage leaders often say they gain most satisfaction from seeing changes in the people with whom they work: a mother and father being re-united, helping someone who is homeless getting food and shelter. This sense of success is particularly poignant in the case of Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers see a single parent work hard for 600 hours in helping to build and move into her new home. The new homeowner is not just handed a gift; she works alongside volunteers in constructing it. There is a profound sense of accomplishment for both the new homeowner and the volunteer homebuilders. It is these small successes that bring great satisfaction. Moreover, such successes helped to build a strong foundation for Habitat as an organization.

Small things amount to big results when it comes to the well-being of the community. Repeatedly, Sages note the benefit they receive from contributing in important ways to the quality of community life. In some instances, these community-wide contributions are acknowledged, but recognition and appreciation are not critical to Sage leaders – just nice, a sign that a vital link has been made between their organization and the community.

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