As I am reflecting on EIRO’s Pop-up Lab last weekend I am reminded of an old saying, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” All of the people who attended our Pop-up Lab are people who want to make a difference in their community. We began our time together by having a conversation about the way we wished the world looked. We imagined a place of healthy relationships, a place where people are treated equally and with respect. We hoped for a life filled with less anxiety and busyness. And yet… this is not the world we live in.
The gap between the world we want and the world live in sometimes seems insurmountable. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the distance between our hopes and our reality.
While nothing EIRO could say or do can magically make that gap smaller, we wanted to offer a different way of looking at that gap. Rather than looking at the distance between our ideals and our reality as a journey of a thousand miles, we wanted to explore what it would look like as a journey of individual steps.
The major theme of this Pop-up Lab was partnerships and this focus is vital for reframing the long journey between where we are and where we would like to go. We will not arrive at our desired future unless we arrive together. In the words of Dr. King, “I cannot be who I ought to be until you are who you ought to be.” Partnership allows us to share our resources, dream bigger than we could on our own, and allows us to strengthen each other in ways we could not have imagined.
The folks at our lab got to take some beginning steps in the journey of partnership. Our attenders mapped out their relationships in different institutions to help figure out the allies for a better world they already have in their corner. We shared some techniques in how to fill in areas of their relational map that were emptier than they would like. We encouraged them to ask, “What is my superpower?” to help them focus on their own strengths and equip them to connect their strengths with others.
We were so grateful for our thoughtful participants and we are excited to see the difference they will make as they explore their own strengths and build partnerships for a better future.