The True Currencies of Our Time
We forget that the true currencies of our time are not financial; they are human. One way of framing conscious leadership is that we are not really leading in the traditional sense—we are listening.
By listening to ourselves and each other, we’re inviting in opportunities, and opening to the subtle intelligences in and around us. Listening facilitates our becoming more attuned to what is really needed and sets the foundation for action.
We don’t need more meetings, we need forums to talk openly in every aspect of our lives; knowing that we are being heard even when we’re not polished, presenting or performing. More and more people want organic conversations that let us explore the edges.
Now is the time to bring people together in profoundly different (and healthier) ways to explore what is possible through open dialogue. To do so we need trust, which is the first of the three most important currencies of our time.
Our Currencies: Trust
With trust, we cut through the pretense and noise and can talk freely about anything. We practice radical honesty because we trust ourselves and the people we work, live and play with to show up with integrity and love. We can simply be ourselves; no need to mask anything.
With trust, we don’t blame, judge or shame. This currency allows us to step into creation by focusing on what’s important. We focus on the present and don’t get derailed in dramas, divisions or conflicts, which all originate from a lack of trust.
Without trust, we will find people correcting each other and responding in negative ways. When we don’t trust people, it is much more challenging to form relationships, which is the second most important currency of our time.
To build solid and trusted relationships with anyone—especially ourselves—takes time. No amount of rushing or pushing will build them quicker. As with the apples, racing to pick them sooner will not bring a better harvest. A relationship founded on trust and respect will yield to more effortless and meaningful collaboration, bringing the most valuable assets together so everyone benefits.
We create this currency of relationships through participation that allows people to bring in their voice and ideas in different ways and to access collective wisdom. When we are encountering the unknown, participation is a way of building trust and connection, working with what we know and discovering in our conversations what we couldn’t have known on our own.
Building trusted relationships is not business as usual. It is really deep soul work and it changes us from the inside out.
Listening to what we don’t yet know or see is an act of faith and also a skill, and this quality of listening is the most important skill to cultivate in oneself individually and collectively. Witnessing each other in the honesty of our expression—whatever that expression may be—can be profoundly healing. And navigating chaos together by doing these simple yet very difficult things is itself the work.
Currencies: Trusted Communities
Our third currency is community where we become participants around a shared passion, purpose or intention. And it’s about being open to the new forms of organizing that we discover when we actually participate.
We need to think about community and the ways people learn and help each other within a community. When a woman was pregnant with her first child a thousand years ago, she would spend a lot of time with women in her community who had already had babies and who helped deliver them.
Later, she would teach and support others so that they could continue in the work. In the last few hundred years, we have learned to defer to and depend on experts at the expense of our own experience, which can lead to us ignoring our own vital wisdom. community means shared learning, experience, and a sense of belonging.
The magic and opportunity we have happen in community when we convene and allow many voices to come in to shape the future. There is a willingness to bring in fresh ideas and build architectures that allow us just enough structure to participate in a meaningful way.
We need people to come together around meaningful questions to discover the healthy trusted relationships needed to navigate this wild world.
What if trust, relationships, and community are the most important currencies of our times?