THE BLOG
01/19/2016 02:45 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Makers Movement - What is a Changemaker?

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"I remember walking through the airport on yet another Monday of cross-country commuting in my life as a management consultant, seeing an ad that said something along the lines of 'The most popular or well paid careers of 10 years from now don't even exist yet' and trying to think through what they could be. My mistake was in "thinking".
What I interpret the sign to say now that I am imagining and creating is something along the lines of 'Find what makes you feel the most alive, do more of that and share it, and you will have the future career of your dreams...and it won't exist until you do that."

~ excerpt from 100 Days of Transformative Adventure

I was on a journey of self-discovery and exploration in South America for two years. I had left behind all that I knew and all material things other than what I could carry on my back to explore and discover what it is that lights me up, what I have to contribute to the world.

When I came back to the United States, I noticed many things that were now in my awareness as my heightened senses took in all that used to be normal for me, but now felt different. Of these things, I realized that there is a "makers movement" going on.

People have always been making things, crafting things from raw materials. There has always been art, both functional and aesthetic. So call it a resurrection? a renewed focus? or simply what has always been?

But I came back from my quest and noticed a "makers movement"... not only more people focused (by hobby, passion, profession, vocation) on building things, creating things, pursuing their own artistic endeavors, but also a new audience taking notice. I noticed a surge in maker marketplaces, both in communities and on technology platforms.

I noticed a craving for handmade things, restored vintage, up-cycled materials turned into art, something innovative and useful. I noticed the use of natural ingredients and materials and a polarizing movement that leveraged the digital technology that is skyrocketing forward, to take us back to our roots of more organic methods and creations.

This movement is creative and empowered. That is what I notice. It seems to be coming from a place where people are willing to be vulnerable and use the resources that let us show our work to the entire world. There seems to be an element of wanting to have an impact, of purpose, of sustainability and stewardship for Earth, the arts and community.

And it got me thinking...what sort of maker am I?

I had just been on this quest to discover the point where my unique values, passions and experiences meet a need in the world. What do I have to give? Formerly, I had been a management consultant, specializing in change. I facilitated corporate transformation projects for a living and I had now facilitated a massive life change for myself as well.

In leaving my career, rather than feeling a relief or escape, I realized just how much I love change and transformation (which I would define as intentional, forward change) and that I have a skill set and experiences both professionally and personally with influencing change. I came to realize the type of maker that I am...I am a changemaker. Yes, it is a thing. You are seeing or will see this term used more and more. Changemaker. Change Agent. So what is it?

Just as there are experts in making all sorts of things, there are experts in driving change. Now at first this seems obvious. Everyone goes through change, that is what life is...change. Don't they say the one certainty is change itself? Not everyone is taught or skilled in navigating change though. So who are these changemakers? How do they do what they do?

Changemakers are those who are standing on the metaphorical mountain peak, looking at and understanding the overall landscape...where we are and where we are going.
Changemakers see a problem and are able to shape it into a vision and then create an action-oriented path forward.
Changemakers ask the right questions, connect the dots, form the relationships, understand the impacts of making a change and the consequences of not.
Changemakers have an understanding of what happens in the body and brain as people go through change; what motivates people, the different approaches, processes and personalities to learning, communicating and driving change.
Changemakers study human dynamics and behavior, systems theory, neuroscience, psychology, consciousness, communications and other areas of focus that teach us what we do and why, as individuals and communities.
Changemakers are comfortable out of the comfort zone and understand the value and the need to proactively go to those places.
Changemakers are driven by partnering with others, getting creative and developing solutions.
Changemakers are value driven, mission driven and thrive on meaningful action for purpose, on purpose.

Just as communication, health, creativity, relationships and how to deal with emotions are critical life skills, so too is navigating change. We do not all study these things specifically in school but we do have access to giant industries and experts that help those who seek out how to better themselves in these areas.

Intentional change has always been critical and continues to be now. Not only is there a fear-based urgency surrounding us with climate change, violence and wars and other major social issues, but there is also a hope-based opportunity. We have the opportunity to innovate, to create, to move forward with purpose, to create new socially and environmentally conscious solutions, to thrive...as a global community and also as individuals.

Join the maker movement by creating something yourself, supporting the makers out there in their craft and by working with and learning from the changemakers. Sometimes even the changemakers who are the visionaries, the humanitarians, the innovators need help from the changemakers who are experts in facilitating change.

If you are navigating a change in your life or organization, I am a changemaker and I can help you with that. I have a yearlong program designed to inspire and facilitate positive change, with two tracks available for individuals and for organizations respectively. I am also available as a consultant and coach.

There are infinite possibilities of where we can go when we choose to actively consider and participate in the changes that are happening all around us. Let's make something meaningful.