The last of these five is to see success with new eyes and savour it. This is particularly important after the demoralisation that happened say, after the COP15 climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009. If we see success purely in terms of outcome, will we get there or not, some of the outcomes we’re looking for are so huge that they probably won’t happen in our lifetime. Also we’re past the point where some of the outcomes we might hope for are even likely to happen, if at all, in our lifetime.
We need to see success in a different way. I talk about outcome goals and process goals. Outcome goals is what happens in terms of whether we win or lose in terms of our eventual hopes, but process goals is about showing up. It’s about taking the steps that lead to the larger changes. If we want to build a movement, just showing up ourselves, that’s a success. Showing up in a way that other people also find attractive and they show up too, that’s a success.
I’m looking at what are the steps towards where we want to go and seeing each of those as a success. When I say “see success with new eyes,” the question I’d ask is “how often do you experience success?” If it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t happen often, I think you need to recalibrate. If we don’t experience the sense of moving in the way we want to go, we can lose heart. We can lose the sense that what we’re doing is meaningful. And so we need to identify steps along the way that the progress that we are making and can make that are achievable and are attainable, that when we reach those we have that sense of – yes, this is worthwhile, this is making a difference in a way.
John Croft in his ‘Dragon Dreaming’ approach builds in celebration as one of the key stages in activism. He talks about spending at least 25% of your time celebrating the progress you’re making and really paying attention to that. Perhaps even beginning meetings by saying – any good news? Any steps of progress anyone’s taken? Not dismiss them as – oh, that’s not very much, because when you look at something in itself it might not seem very much, but when you say what’s it part of, you see that it is part of a much larger process. We need to celebrate the small steps as a way of cultivating and nourishing our morale so that we can keep going for the long term.