Photo credit: Courtesy of Gustavus Divest

Photo credit: Courtesy of Gustavus Divest

Calling & purpose

“Who am I, and why am I here? What should I do with my life — and what is my life wanting to do with me? How can I make a difference, and and what do I want my life to stand for?” Our fast-paced and noisy world often leaves little room for discernment about one’s direction and purpose in life. Studies show what the world’s wisdom and spiritual traditions have known all along: that having a sense of purpose is crucial to a meaningful, happy life. Victor Frankl wrote in his classic Man’s Search for Meaning, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” The Milkweed Group helps you to “let your life speak,” to claim your distinctive gifts and passions, and to clarify your sense of calling to be who you truly are in and for the world.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Gustavus Divest

Photo credit: Courtesy of Gustavus Divest

Meaningful work

The writer Ellen Goodman observes that “normal life” in our society is “getting dressed in clothes you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car you’re still paying for, in order to get to the job you need so you can pay for the clothes, the car, and the house you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.” For too many, far too often, life is about the daily grind, going through motions, staying on the hamster wheel, moving continually faster. But for the sake of what, and at what cost? In so many ways,”normal life” — especially at work — is deeply unhealthy, resulting in burnout or breakdown of self, relationships, communities, and the planet. Our work relieves burnout through prevention and self-care. This in turn lowers the turnover rate of workers, increases productivity, and saves future costs. When people can understand how their job contributes to a wider purpose, they are happier, more engaged, and more creative. Read More (“Zenger-Folk” (docx))

Photo credit: Courtesy of Gustavus Divest

Photo credit: Kelli Remboldt

Effective & authentic leadership

The Milkweed Group cultivates skills and practices that make for effective, resilient, and courageous leaders. We help people to be who they are and to lead from wherever they are. Everyone, regardless of role, title or position, can learn to create an environment that is safe, open, and empowering, where people show up as their best selves, fueled by a sense of voice, agency, and purpose. We’re about building capacity for listening, visioning, collaboration, expansive imagination, addressing adaptive challenges, and empowering others to do the work the world needs them to do.

While our world shrinks and the pace of daily life quickens, many people feel increasingly powerless. As a result, they refrain from taking action or voicing ideas that could benefit their communities and foster the common good. Old models — top-down, “yell-louder” approaches that try to manage technical problems with existing tools — just don’t work any more. To face the pressing needs our time, people who provide acts of leadership must live and act firmly in the hope that beckons from beyond the conventional. In these fractured, tumultuous, yet tremendously energized times, The Milkweed Group embraces an approach to leader development that calls people to live, work, and lead “from within” for the common good, with courage, vision, compassion, and integrity.

Photo credit: Kelli Remboldt

Photo credit: Emily Albrecht

Connection & community

“We are because we belong,” says South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Each of us is part of something greater than ourselves: community, for example, or a “cause” that evokes care and action, key relationships, a healthful environment, God/Spirit/Mystery, or a hopeful future. The Milkweed Group honors our deep inner instinct that none of us is ever truly alone or irreparably broken but rather are fundamentally relational, interdependent, and interconnected with one another, the Earth, and all there is. We’re all in this together, helping each other to create a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world where all can thrive.

Photo Credit: Tristan Richards

Photo Credit: Tristan Richards

Renewal & restoration

We live in a culture of fear and fragmentation, 24/7 hyperconnectivity and distraction, fueled by the relentless demands and pressures of daily life. Burnout and breakdown are rampant among people in all walks of life, and across the lifespan. What’s more, our deep yearning and seemingly endless work for a better world often leaves us stretched too thin, running on fumes, wondering how to keep going… and whether it’s even worth trying.

But just as our bodies can be trained to be resilient, flexible, and stronger, so too can our minds and hearts. The Milkweed Group helps to cultivate the capacity to be authentic, mindful, and present to the world around us. It’s about rediscovering the power of pause and paying attention, of being more fully in the moment, of turning down the volume on the “monkey-mind” chatter in our heads, of taking the deep breaths that can calm the soul and reawaken gratitude for the here-and-now. This work is about fresh perspectives, new energy, and restored inspiration to face the day. We equip the whole person — mind, body, and spirit — to be more centered and grounded, reuniting “soul and role” to embrace a more flourishing and contributing life.