By Matt Trenchard - posted on July 12, 2020

Guest post – The necessity of action

Different perspectives can make us richer and while we try to be as broad as we can here on the North Point Academy blog, it's good to hear from others. This article is from one of our UK Alumni Stephen Cross.

Stephen's company works to help individuals who want to put in more than they take out - pioneers and leaders in the emerging social value sector which includes Social Enterprises, NGO's, charities and more. You can find out more about Stephen by following this link to a list of his social channels.


Matt & the team.    

Saturday, 13th June 2020

Today I noticed that the qualities of the information coming through my normal sources (Twitter and Reddit) are changing. The news is quickly becoming multi-focal again as the prevalence of #BLM protest stories begin to decrease. These have been replaced with more 'middle of the road' opinions, emerging with logical arguments that I see, can follow, and challenge the single-certainty and bright heat of the past few weeks.

In the light of these new, more moderate opinions, the enormity of reform, specifically the uncertainties that surround the destination, becomes overwhelming. What of the new problems it will create? Who will it exclude? How can we trust those who would enact at? What if it fails?

In his essay The Rebel, Albert Camus paints a picture of the conservative. Camus' conservative directly benefits from the status quo and, blind to its flaws, works to maintain it. Now the ghost of Camus' conservative rises up in me and I find myself asking if I have the appetite to be a revolutionary, let alone a rebel (Camus' other two actors). The system was tailor made for me, why not just lapse into its relative comfort? 

But action is necessary, even if we can't be sure of the distal impact, the ripples it will create. Action is how we prove we're alive.

We exist, or at least we should hope to exist, in the dynamic and sometime chaotic dance between our internal world and our external world. 

My internal world has been wonderously challenged by the Black Lives Matter movement (a journey that I can trace back to my teens when I found a dusty old vinyl of Dylan's Hurricane and was transported instantly out of white, rural, South Gloucestershire, into a world where justice is a game). But that challenge is valueless if I do not allow the wheel to move into new actions, the next expression of my external world. If I truly believe that this injustice is important, then my actions must reflect this.

So what's holding me back? Uncertainty about the future? (Certainly) The opinion of others? The knowledge that I will have to give back some of my priviledge, and be accountable to a wider community? The desire to stay in the relative comfort of rearranging the furniture in my internal world? Or perhaps the paralysis of not knowing what the best course of action should be?

If I give attention to listing the things that are holding me back I am then enabled to consider them more carefully. I can lay them out in order of my ability to directly influence their outcome using a tool such as Circles of Influence. Doing this shows me that the opinion of others is something of which I have only indirect control, whereas identifying my next step is directly and immediately within my control. 

With this in mind I can begin to take positive steps to action, out of the paralysis of the challenge.

Once I have acted I must then allow myself to reflect on the impact I see as a result, allowing the cycle continue. But that is tomorrow's challenge.

This is only a brief summary of some of my inner workings as I wrestle with a current, important issue - it's actually an expanded reflection from my diary. But my hope is that it, in some small way, shows how the coaching model, and the NPM specifically, can connect us viscerally to our existence, generate new futures and ultimately contribute to transformed communities.