Connective Thinking

I spent this past weekend with my tribe, as one of 90+ members of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild who gathered at Pilgrim Firs Retreat Center in Port Orchard, WA. This annual event is our venue to share stories, ideas, and camaraderie – and I’m still buzzing with the higher vibration created by our time together.

Made up mostly of very small business owners in the sustainable design and construction industry, this group’s kinship is rare and necessary. In clear contrast with the typical gathering of industry professionals, where competition and veiling of secret formulas for success is the norm, we seem to thrive on collaboration and inspiration. Numerous new alliances and several viable business ideas were cultivated over the weekend, and I’m excited to see how they blossom and grow over the next year.

The shared passion of this group is to advance a 200 year perspective for the residential built environment. Each of us is in some way pushing the envelope toward a vision of sustainability, yet much of our time is spent in isolation at our work. Because our means and methods are often not main stream, support from each other is essential for survival. And by collaborating with each other this vision can become reality much faster.

This is an excellent lesson in the power of numbers. A group of focused individuals can make exponential change in a short time where separately they might toil for years. We may crave seclusion from noise and activity, yet our lives are much richer when shared with others – balance is the key. Humans are tribal creatures, and in the tribe your unique knowledge can be woven into the collective fabric to create a whole that resonates out into the world.

Whatever work you do, consider how you might accomplish more through collaborating with others. It will be good practice – leaning on people in our own communities for food, services, and security may soon be just as important to us as it was for our ancestors. Together we’ll not only stand, but may just move forward making positive change that is tangible during our own lifetimes.