The Wellbeing Project is a co-creation between 6 institutions: Ashoka, Esalen, Impact Hub, Fetzer, Skoll and Synergos (part of the work & finances for the project pass through these organisations). TWP is focused on bringing together inner wellbeing and social change through a limited life initiative (initially three years, now extended to five) undertaking 4 key pillars of activity, identified as key leverage points to fundamentally shift the culture within the field of social change.
What’s the Challenge/Opportunity?
A profound need for support exists within the social change community: a great majority (over 95%) of the population of social change leaders have deep personal struggles – and this has far-reaching implications for the work that social change leaders do, and the tens of millions of people whose lives they touch. A small research pilot was conducted, which identified that a very small minority (under 5%) of social change leaders have previously done meaningful inner work, and the results upon the first sessions were beautiful: healthier lives, more sustainable and inspiring organisations, and much deeper work with the people they were engaging. Critically it was also clear that this was true much more generally for the majority of the community of changemakers that work in social change. A key to the success of the many movements that we care about globally is to support more deeply the individuals behind their organisations, and by connecting inner work with social change. This was the basis for the Wellbeing Project.
The basic paradigm of TWP is that inner transformation and its connection to social change leads to:
- opportunity to heal/develop/transform,
- shifts / changes in ‘traits’
- more deep manifestations of our own intrinsic qualities as human beings
- alignment between inner values and outer work
- seeing of connections not seen before
which in turn leads to changes in the network:
- better quality / deepening of relationships with people (family and friends, people in internal organization & people external to organization)
- specifically – shifts from transactional relations to transformational relationships (“Partnership moves at the speed of trust”)
- increased diversity of relationships (because you are seeing connections across issue areas)
- changes in personal and organisational narratives or conceptual models
- changes in the role that the organisation plays in the field
which leads to increased social impact:
- better personal relationships and recognition of roles in building healthy change making as part of the work
- changes in leadership/changemaking skills within organisation
- strengthening and building the eco-system around the issue area leading to more people and more money focused on key social change – collective impact
- increase in scale of impact (more people, more income and other outcome indicators)
- increase in innovative approaches (resulting from the eco-system diversity/also in terms of changes in their ways of seeing things)
The Guerrilla Grant
A key part of this work is having the research and learnings disseminated, so that the content can engage with the world, be useful, be challenged, be evolved. TWP is mostly doing that through co-created content where members of the coalition write articles, books, do small videos based on their audiences, lenses, and issues. At the same time they wanted to create a reference point that everyone in the network and beyond can all refer to – and people working in social change have said they need powerful examples of social change leaders speaking openly and vulnerably about other ways of working. And this is the storytelling component that we decided to support, and since a picture is worth a thousand words, and thus videos, worth millions more, here goes:
Michael Sani, CEO of Bite The Ballot tells us about his experience with The Wellbeing Project. He describes his journey from a space of repressed emotion to one of vulnerability and fulfilment.
Caroline Casey shares her inner journey as an Inner Development Program Participant and founder of the Ability Awards, Binc and #valuable.
Andrea Coleman, Inner Development Program Participant, founder of Riders for Health International shares her inner-journey with The Wellbeing Project
Kabir Vajpeyi, Inner Development Participant and founder of Vinyas, an India-based architectural organisation focusing on education and child development speaks about the profound impact and ripple effect that his own journey into his inner self and wellbeing had on his life, work and family.