Every steward has an area of focus as it relates to improving well-being. Each of us has carved out our role in these respective areas, making up part of an ecosystem. Rippel’s is health. Other stewards focus on democracy, equity, the environment, placemaking, the economy, education, or some combination.
We’ve done a lot of hard work, and we’ve had many breakthroughs. Yet despite our significant investments in time and money, we haven’t made enough progress toward well-being in the United States. A lot of us have been reflecting and many are asking: what can we do differently?
Through our work in the Amplifying Stewardship Together project, we are exploring two big questions that stewards are encountering every day:
- How can we acknowledge our limitations, amplify our strengths, and expand our horizons?
- Could we better achieve our goals if we work more cohesively and with a greater level of accountability to one another?
These are good questions because they challenge us to face our dominant patterns of thinking and acting that weaken our collective ability to succeed. They open us up to other important questions, which we are also working to clarify through the project:
- How can we avoid pursuing narrow solutions when we know that barriers to well-being are complex and often can’t be “solved” by one sector or organization alone?
- How do we resist “quick fix” temptations when we know success depends on taking a long-term approach to problem-solving?
- How do we collaborate in ways that include all the people, organizations, and ideas that would strengthen our practice? In ways that recognize we can humbly learn from some marginalized cultures that have been encouraging us to work more cooperatively all along?
- How do we recognize one another’s strengths and see the potential of what we could do with greater alignment instead of magnifying our differences?
- How do we stop writing off those who might one day be effective stewards by wrongly assuming their intentions?
Amplifying Stewardship Together is about working as a group to openly learn from our independent and collective successes and failures, and seeing our differences as assets, so we can adapt our thinking and practices for a more inclusive, cohesive, and effective future. Because we work in such a complex and massive ecosystem that makes up well-being in the United States, we don’t assume it’s possible, or helpful, to create a giant infrastructure and set of processes to help us all work together. But we can lift up shared principles and practices to use as we each go about our own area of focus.
When we amplify these shared principles and practices in our daily work, we will naturally set the conditions that steward well-being across the country. Through this commitment we will create a shared identity and thus the opportunity to claim broader scope and power as part of a visible movement that is stewarding equitable ecosystems for well-being.