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SUCCESS-ion Planning

October 23, 2013

When one has been in a leadership role for many years, people wonder, "How did you summon the detachment to let go of your baby?" "How can you do it without leaving claw marks on your desk?" I can only say what it is like for me as the co-founder of The Virtues Project and head mama of Virtues Project International for 25 years. Seven guiding principles come to mind:

  1. Seek trustworthy people.
  2. Due diligence: get engaged before you get married.
  3. Trust: Support new leadership to move forward with freedom.
  4. Be firm in principle but flexible in application.
  5. Humility: Become a guide on the side rather than a sage on centre stage. Don’t control – mentor.
  6. Trust the process of change. Don’t dominate – defer.
  7. Discern your own yeses at this season of your life.

And the real secret? Knowing that what started with your imagination is in good hands -- diverse hands -- crafting the project (the business, the charity, the work) in their own creative ways. Build in protection of the integrity of the work with clear, guiding boundaries – for The Virtues Project, it is in the 5 Strategies and the virtues themselves. Then watch a wide and luminous rainbow of individual creativity appear.

For me and Dan, and John I’m sure, watching from above, the 25th Anniversary Conference of The Virtues Project, "From the Midmost Heart of the Ocean" on Aitutaki was our rainbow. It was magical, marvelous, musical, and magnificent! It began with our opening ceremony, with Auntie Nane’s beautiful ukele and welcome songs, a prayer and welcome by our island King, and a continuum of 10 nations. Dan gave a profound keynote talk, "The Spirit of The Virtues Project", on how our choices to bring virtues to life actually shape reality, and how Grace moves in the world, around us and through us. Each morning, participants shared their innovative virtues ventures, each one deeply moving and showing the power of virtues to change the world. In the afternoons, we had diverse break-out sessions based on what people wanted more of, and had a session on virtues play in art, and even Bollywood dancing!

We learned about award-winning schools, such as Franklin in New Zealand, with a culture of virtues, and a Canadian First Nation drug and alcohol centre that has integrated virtues and the strategies into every aspect of their healing program for over 15 years. There were stories from Korea of the Virtues Taxi Association such as couples being given a Virtues Pick on their way to divorce court asking the driver to turn around and take them home for another try. We heard examples of new hope for youthful offenders in Seattle and prison inmates in Fiji.

I ended my keynote talk "The Transformational Power of The Virtues Project" with a highlight – a recording of my son, Craig, singing "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka. Everyone sighed when it ended.

We basked in the tender loving care of the staff and the chef at Tamanu resort, the beauty of the beach, the sky, the aqua and purple lagoon at its most glorious.

People enthused to me about the richness of the program and the pace of grace. We had long breaks and meal times to allow for networking and breathing space, and the formal program ended each day at 4 PM. Some floated in the lagoon, including me.

Our celebrations included an Island Night with the most beautiful and powerful Polynesian dancing and fire dancing I have ever seen, then a torch passing ceremony and buffet of island foods on the final night, followed by a cruise to the small islands out in the lagoon with snorkeling in crystal clear waters all day Saturday. The incredibly generous service of behind the scenes planning, coordinating and arranging by Jolene Bosanquet of Rarotonga made all this possible.

The conference was videotaped generously by beautiful young Kim Morae from Korea and methods for sharing it are in the works. The conference received excellent coverage by Cook Island News which can be viewed on line by looking for virtues in the index.

The CEO of Virtues Project International Association, Eva Marks MacIsaac did a fabulous job of MCing, even turning into an auctioneer to raise money for the new International Development Fund which will allow virtues resources to be sent to high risk, low income communities around the world.

The last morning, in the sacred time just before my presentation of Graceful Endings, we showed an In Memoriam power point of beloved virtues community members who died in the past year: Hiroshi Ohuchi of Japan, who first learned of the Project from John, High Chief of Fiji, Adi Samanunu, and Pete Sampson of Australia, all of whom were very dear to Dan and me and many others.  Each participant received an angel crocheted by Dan’s mom, and spoke the names of loved ones who have passed on. We played Josh Groban’s "To Where You Are" and "Going Home."

As the new non-profit, Virtues Project International Association, moves forward, I am not grieving but relieved, grateful beyond words for the love, integrity and new promise of the leadership that has appeared through the Grace of God and the willing trust of those taking the helm.

Trust


Author photo
Linda Kavelin-Popov

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