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The Big Picture, Civic Engagement and Generativity Four

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Sage leaders find it is not just a matter of being successful that is important; working with others to bring about the success is the heart of the matter. Sages report great, generative heart-felt joy and gratification in working toward a shared goal with the men and women who bring differing perspectives and talents to a common cause. Furthermore, when the shared goal is achieved, it is witnessed in very tangible ways—in the accumulation of many small successes.

The Motivations of Generativity Four

Throughout this series of essays, we have identified various sources of motivation that lead individuals to become generative and engage in deep caring activities. There are five motivations that seem to be particularly salient with regard to Generativity Four. They include altruism, the desire to give back to society and serve the greater public good; self-interest, doing what we want for our own benefit; achievement, being successful in situations that require excellent or improved performance; affiliation, wanting to be with people who are enjoyed; and power, the desire to have influence on situations or on others. All of these motivations have a place in the civic engagement world of Sage leaders and in the agenda of a professional coach working with clients in mid-life..

Emerging Sage Leaders

Each of the five Generativity Four motivations is embraced by Emerging Sages, and achievement heads the list. As a motivator for civic engagement, organizational achievement is expressed in two principal ways. One is a desire to improve the community:

“I am inspired by knowing that I am part of something larger than myself. One of my core values is community. Being able to be involved and help my community become a better place for my family, friends, and the next generation inspires me. I feel I am making a difference by taking steps toward my ultimate goal of working myself out of a job. In twenty years, I will be able to look back and see I was part of building something tangibly good in our community. I am doing what I said I would do. I will leave our community a better place.”

The other important achievement motivator is to care for the natural environment:

“I’m very excited and interested in creating sustainable communities. Western Nevada County is a wonderful Petri dish. We’ve done work trying to create a sustainable economy and creating sustainable agriculture. What about sustainable social systems? There’s lots of possibility here.”

The second greatest Generativity Four motivator for Emerging Sage leaders is altruism. This is expressed in three principal ways: seeking to help others, wanting to “give back,” and pursuing social justice:

“I have dedicated most of my professional life to serving the poor… Much of this comes from my spiritual and philosophical beliefs. I believe in the power and importance of civic engagement, which is absolutely essential for the creation and maintenance of a healthy community.”

A third generative motivator for Emerging Sage leaders is affiliation:

“It’s not ‘civic life’ that motivates me. Rather, it’s when people get engaged to do something positive that I’m inspired to participate. I want a seat at the table because I like to see something positive resulting from people coming together in common cause.

It really is about personal satisfaction and relationships. Outside of myself, this would especially include my kids. There is so much satisfaction in living in a community like this that values wellness, relationships, and quality of life. And we have great things being accomplished by extraordinary people, for example our two dynamic young women mayors.”

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