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My VUCA World


Perhaps you’ve heard VUCA as a way of describing today’s world—Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. The idea originates from the US Army but has spread in usage because it captures the state of the world today that so many of us perceive. Facing the reality of a VUCA world, we may feel lost in a way we have never felt before about how to move forward in our lives and how to lead others.


I’ve been offering classes at Stanford University for many years now preparing students to be future leaders. Many already are leading in diverse and amazing ways and faltering as they struggle with harsh realities, institutional barriers, and psychological burnout. Together, we create a beloved community where we come together in vulnerability, humility, and authenticity to renew our humanity.


The focus is apparent in the course titles. Heartfulness: mindfulness, compassion and responsibility is based in the belief that learning how to live well is heart-centered, based in mindful awareness and attention. This beginner’s mind awakens compassion for our fellow creatures and our earth, enabling us to engage in responsible action.


Another course is Transforming Self and Systems: Crossing Borders of Race, Nation, and Gender. Self transformation is seen as the foundation of social transformation. The transformation of self must be renewed daily to enable our attempts at creating a sustainable kinder and gentler society. We balance contemplation and action in spiritual activism that expresses love publicly through a way of being and doing that is for social justice and the dignity and well being of all sentient beings.


I’m speaking today about my VUCA model of living—Vulnerability, Understanding, Compassion, and Assertiveness. This VUCA is a way living and leadership based in the belief that in transforming ourselves we transform society. We are all leaders and have responsibility to ourselves and to others to live as well as we can, doing our best with what we have while we are here.


The summit's theme is bringing happiness to people, organizations, and society. Registration is closed but there may be a recording and I will write about it soon here.

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