Opportunities: Create or Wait?

I’ve been travelling around the county meeting many people and discussing possibilities for initiating restorative projects. If even a few of these visits result in actual projects our resources will be fully deployed; in fact, we can become overwhelmed quite quickly.

The strategy I’ve been pursuing through these meetings is all about creating opportunities. Opportunities for our agency to help others learn how to use restorative practices and priniciples in their own settings.

Creating opportunities is a typical marketing strategy. And it’s fine… but. There’s another way to go about it.

An alternative to creating opportunities is to simply be alert for the opportunities that naturally arise. Instead of putting energy into making something happen, wait for it to come to us. And while waiting, prepare, prepare, prepare so that the opportunity can be met with the full complement of resources it requires.

It’s a change of posture…I think of images an image of a hunter riding on an elephants back seeking a tiger to kill; that’s creating opportunties. Contrast to an image I recall of a hunter of the ǃKung people, standing perfectly still for hours waiting the game to appear, knowing that it would, that it’s appearance was in the natural order of things. No need to hustle, but great need to be observant, alert, skillful, and prepared.

One of the downsides of the creating-opportunitites strategy is that it takes time away from preparing. There is so much ground work that, if done well, will provide critical support and help our efforts in schools and communities succeed.

So, while I will continue to actively initiate meetings with people around the county, instead of trying to market our services my aim will be to simple get to know them and what they do. The opportunities that naturally arise will guide our choices for specific projects. I don’t think it’s in me to stand perfectly still for hours at a time, but the notion of the inner posture of the Bushman hunter has strong appeal.


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