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SEEDS is an open economic and governance system for all of us to build upon and use to empower the variety of movements, communities, and initiatives we’re all a part of and deeply passionate about.
In SEEDS there are many next steps for us to take together, and we can have just as many leaders as we have opportunities.
Those who’ve taken the lead to set up community initiatives, such as the SEEDS Commons - along with the Renaissance Explorers, Star DHO, Samara Trust, Hypha, and MoM DHO are all leaders in SEEDS. Those of us on the ground serving this movement in all the different ways (planting trees and community gardens, helping onboard regenerative businesses into SEEDS, etc) are all leaders in SEEDS.
Anyone who takes initiative to lead, in our decentralised economy, becomes a leader. Leaders gain more influence the more impactful their actions are, and the more others are inspired by their initiative and guidance.
When you take ownership and responsibility, whether it's a gap, a problem, an opportunity, or something that excites you - and take action yourself or, connect with others to share in the joy of making it happen!
In decentralised movements, leaders are many. This is how they are more resilient than the centralised movements, with strong charismatic leaders, of history. For when those centralised leaders inevitably fall, those movements fall with them.
Amongst our leaders we have facilitators who are taking leadership to assist others in stepping into their own positions of leadership and responsibility (the ability to respond) to give rise to more leaders.
Our community is blessed with many incredible facilitators and leaders and this is why we’ll succeed-- because we don’t have just one leader!
During my journey with you all I’ve enjoyed some of my time leading various initiatives, some of my time following others lead, and some of my time facilitating - and I believe now that when I’ve swapped between those roles I’ve created some confusion, tension, and concern. Sometimes when I step into leading an initiative myself - I think it comes off as if I’m trying to be “The Leader”.
I wanted to write this to share a bit more of my perspective and some paradigm shifts I’ve experienced during my attempt to pass the initial SEEDS 2.0 governance proposal (which failed).
I noticed that the economics of SEEDS may not have been serving our movement, or providing the potential support and momentum it otherwise could.
Because of my deep connection, awareness, and passion with the economic story (which is only one story in our movement); I took the lead to craft a proposal, build a plan, bring in some key wisdom from other members and bring the idea and plan to the community. I aimed to model a pathway and process (for how to take lead in SEEDS) that I hope many others emulate (to bring more proposals for evolving SEEDS) to bring the wholeness of our diversity here.
“Why is ‘The Leader’ of SEEDS focusing so much on economics, when they forgot X, Y and Z? We’re so much more important than an economy, how do they not see this?”
“This proposal is lacking because it’s only focusing on 1 part. I’m losing faith in SEEDS because ‘The Leader’ seems more focused on sound economics than the community”.
I think part of these critiques stem from my delivery of the project. I didn’t spend enough time elaborating that this project is only addressing 1 perspective (and not the many perspectives that we need to address). I didn’t spend enough time sharing that I’m just leading 1 area of our evolution and that we’d need more leaders to lead the other parts that are clearly missing. I took this awareness for granted and because of my naivety I was completely surprised by the response to my project.
I think that (for some) I was being seen as “THE Leader” and exerting my will over others opposed to being seen as “just another leader” taking charge of executing on a problem and opportunity.
I believe my delivery only supported this false narrative, and it was a misguided attempt at trying to inspire. For this, I deeply apologise. I realise that my role as “map maker” over the years, all the videos and articles I’ve written and the role I’ve taken in crafting the economics and guide start to paint a picture as if I was “The Leader”. Yet, that’s not how SEEDS is designed and it’s not how it actually is.
I’m not “The Leader”. I don’t have the authority to change SEEDS without the permission of the Citizens (and getting buy-in from other influential leaders). Since SEEDS launched I’ve voted down almost as many proposals as I’ve voted up, and most of the ones I’ve voted down have passed; while simultaneously at least the last 4/6 proposals I’ve proposed to SEEDS have failed.
I say this, because I want you all to know that SEEDS HAS NO LEADER. And if it did, it’s clearly not me! Or, at least I don't have the authority to make changes that a leader might have. This is exactly as it needs to be. SEEDS has many leaders (and we see them everywhere, many are just getting into their groove and stepping into their power and this is really exciting)!
SEEDS needs more leadership (it always will), it needs more of us willing to take action and responsibility for what we see to guide the growth of this movement. This is by design as SEEDS is a deliberately developmental economy, where it helps us all mature, develop, and evolve and for some of us, that means stepping into leadership roles.
When we see an opportunity, that is an invitation to take lead on seeing that opportunity through. SEEDS is designed so that you don’t need to ask permission to act (unless you want community resources, in which case you need to make a proposal and then it’s up to the Citizens or relevant members to fund that proposal or not).
But, if we fall into old patterns of expecting others to take lead when we're being called to - then we’re just going to cultivate the conditions of the society we’re trying to leave behind, where a minority are in control and the majority are just being manipulated into following.
I reject that story, and don’t want to duplicate that story here. I believe the majority can be leaders, even if we’re just leading our own actions and responsibilities:
- If you want to post an article to the library that helps grow the SEEDS narrative, you can (and many are!).
- If you want to launch a new org and seek public funds to support that org, you can (and many are doing so with the SEEDS Commons now!).
- If you want to help build with one of the existing organisations you can make a quest or contribution proposal and see if one of those organizations would like to have you.
SEEDS is designed without A Leader - specifically so that we can ALL be leaders (not so that we crumble into the tragedy of the commons with no-one wanting to take responsibility - and the majority expecting a minority to lead us).
A paradigm shift was around my frustration and overwhelm for how the Relaunch/Fork project has been received so far. I got sad, angry and frustrated when I heard criticisms that didn’t offer a solution. When I saw more comments and complaints about how I presented the project - over support and enthusiasm to improve the proposal and help us solve our problems and make this better. I started to get depressed and lose enthusiasm when I noticed there was more energy resisting action then there was energy willing to move us forward.
But, my paradigm shifting realisation was that all the emotions, criticism (of my approach and the proposal itself) and more was all because we have a wonderful community here that actually cares!!!
Apathy, no response, or blind trust in the project would have all been so much worse!!!
When I realised this, my frustration transformed into deep gratitude and joy for what we've all created here and how far we've come these years. I then was able to realise that all that frustration was coming because you all know that SEEDS is decentralised, yet my approach was coming off as if I was trying to be “The Leader '' opposed to being just “A Leader” and this approach was rejected. I deeply appreciate this, and I wanted to write this to clarify that you are all right!
Do we want a movement where more people are taking leadership? Where more of us are encouraged and supported when we pour ourselves into taking leadership and responsibility to craft plans and coordinate evolutions? A community where we encourage those stepping into leadership roles, because we need many leaders, opposed to criticising and discouraging our leaders - because we don’t want to become a centralised movement and we resist those playing that role? This is something I really want to bring awareness to. I’ve noticed an increasing tendency towards criticising those who take action over encouraging and nourishing those brave and generous enough to do so. I've seen this happen with other communities (and it’s literally a CIA infiltration tactic to disrupt movements - for them to fake membership in a movement to just criticise every action someone tries to take, to use grandstanding tactics, and holier-than-thou stances to halt progress) once it becomes easier to criticise those taking action than it is to take action the movement dies as it is unable to move (which is everything a “move-ment” is meant to do) and achieve its purpose (as people taking the lead become hurt, bruised, burnout, and scared to act).
We’ve harmed many of our leaders and some have stepped away (maybe we can reach out and give them love?).
A movement or project only fails when the leaders or core team refuse to carry on, whether through burnout or otherwise. SEEDS will fail if the leaders burn out and no one is left to lead or carry on. An invitation: If you're not leading, then your role could be to care for those who are leading. To support them, care for them, and nourish them. We need to care for our leaders - otherwise we’ll fail.
Another invitation to be extra kind and supportive to those who are brave enough to put themselves out there and take the lead here. It's scary, it's difficult and it's challenging. Our leaders here could use our support. Too many of our incredible leaders here have burnt out from the responses to their efforts here. Again, it's worth stating that these types of responses (criticism without support or offer to help improve) are literally in the CIA playbook for how to disrupt a movement.
Let’s not do that to ourselves. Please be kind, loving and supportive to those who are putting their hearts and hands on the line to show up and help us thrive. If you see something that could be improved, offer to help improve it (and follow through with that offer) opposed to just criticising without support (as this only demoralises our leaders).
A final invitation for an ecosystem pattern. Leading is challenging, fulfilling and growth-inducing work. It's also hard work!
For us to avoid burnout I suggest a pattern of intentionally rotating leadership roles - or better, rotate entire organisations who are leading an effort within SEEDS.
For example, multiple teams/DHOs could be in charge of facilitating movement building (giving support to new alliances, running ambassador academy, etc) but, instead of them all operating at the same time, they could each mirror a pattern of 3 months external and 3 months internal work. E.g. one team could take up the work of movement building for 3 months and at the next Regenerative Roundtable they pass off their duties to the other team/DHO and then go into a 3 month "inner work" phase where they recover, realign, rest and evolve their team processes as they get ready for their next 3 month shift. This way as a whole ecosystem we're "always on" and getting a lot done "out there" without ever burning out - all while giving plenty of time for the vital interpersonal, transformative and Internal work within.