Peace builders often spend a lot of time trying to shift the worldviews, shape the mindsets, and break the frames of clients, systems, and processes in the world. This is reflected in much of their marketing materials, business development practices, and their overall approaches to sharing information in the world about making peace.
Peace builders often spend an inordinate amount of time trying to shift their own worldviews, shape their own mindsets, and break their own frames around the esoteric differences between transformation, evaluation, and facilitation. This is reflected in the majority of trainings that are offered, conferences that are attended, and speakers that are lauded in all the fields for peace making, from litigation to mediation to negotiation.
But this is where peace builders are comfortable.
Mediators will work on Bob. If Bob feels as though he got screwed in his last mediation session out of assets like a boat or a pile of money, his world view of the mediation process is different than that of his ex-wife.
Conflict coaches and consultants will work with Ann. If Ann sees her job I’m human resources as determining policy and keeping people in line, she’s going to take a different view of conflict management training than Jill who sees her job as being an agent of change in the organization.
Church litigators will work with Dave and Melinda. If Dave sees his role at church as being a person who keeps the boat from tipping over rather than as a person who is there to lead a flock to Christ, his approach to internal church conflict is going to be different than Melinda, who sees her role as a Deacon as one who is there to lead people to a relationship rather than through religion.
Peace builders inherently know that the worldviews of their clients around conflict matter. This is where they are most comfortable, feeling as though they are doing work at the edges. When in reality, this work, while unpleasant for some, is not the core hard work.
Peace builders inherently know that their own worldviews matter. This is where peace builders are less comfortable, but still not as uncomfortable as they need to be to truly be doing work at the edges. This work, while easy for many, is not the most unpleasant thing.
The hard, unpleasant, and edgy work lies at the edges of worldviews: The work involves going into places where the peace builders’ knowledge level and expertise may not be appreciated and doing the courageous work of digging in with people who have only even known conflict. The work involves designing products and services that are truly cutting edge—in technology, in mindset, in worldview—that match what clients, consumers, and the market is demanding, in the language that it’s demanding it. The work involves creating relationships at a global level with professionals in other fields and publicizing that interdisciplinary work in a cutting edge way, not for the field, but for a conflict comfortable public.
To go all the way to the edges, to be a champion of work that matters, and to design a life and career of meaning, peace builders must challenge inherent, field based assumptions loudly, rather than quietly, and have the courage to go to the furthest end of where those challenges lead.
Otherwise, the growth mindset necessary for peace builders to grow and make a revolutionary impact will remain far away from many peace building professionals. At the outer edges, of a field that will become more embedded in a fixed mindset at the chunky center, deep in the very conflicted world it seeks to impact.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org