Chapter 4

The Argonauts’ Proposal: Trust Circles Leading to a New Destination

  • Foreword: Curing the Great Disease of Modernity

    Akinyi Ochieng introduces Stefan Beiten's mission amid a global pandemic. The outsized role of institutions has exposed growing deficiencies in even the most hallowed political institutions. Indeed, the leadership crisis that Beiten speaks of seems very much upon us.
  • Foreword: Welcome Home

    There are many types of Moments of Truth that Curt Cronin describes to introduce The Missing Conversation. Because in today’s world it doesn’t take one of us, it takes all of us to share these moments.
  • Missing Conversations: Why Trust Erodes and Meaning Disappears

    In part one, Stefan Beiten relates his personal struggle for creative and professional meaning within societies dominated by a ruling ideology which ranks material and quantitative accomplishments of the individual and the corporation as the standards for evaluating and rewarding success.
  • The Cycle of Disorder and Discontent: Disrupting the Status Quo for a New Mindset

    In part two, Stefan reveals how my creative and business activities became overshadowed and undermined by a personal and financial crisis which triggered a profound disruption in his life and re-evaluation of its meaning.
  • The Argoverse: The Foundation for a New Conversation Among Leaders

    In part three, the reconstruction of the broken fragments of one life becomes a hopeful accomplishment of many, of friends and of a Trust Circle of conversation which opened a new perspective on sharing secrets and discussing deep feelings from a place of openness and trust.
  • The Argonauts’ Proposal: Trust Circles Leading to a New Destination

    In part four, Stefan goes full circle to detail the significance of The Argonauts as a leader-driven force for transformation in the world, starting with changing oneself.

In Part Four, I come full circle to detail the significance of The Argonauts as a leader-driven force for transformation in the world, starting with changing oneself. I describe the conversation-driven method of the organization and the tools it brings to strengthen its members and build lasting bonds among them. I discuss this leadership network as the realization of a transformation mindset that many great thinkers have described as essential to bringing humanity to a higher level of consciousness, just in time. I ask:

  • Can egocentric, transactional values be integrated by ecocentric, holistic ones?
  • How does the methodology of Trust Circles help accomplish the Argonauts mission?
  • What are impact investments in the current context and how can they be realized?
  • Has the current crisis, and the pause it engendered, brought us to a new renaissance?

 

“Only an I that intends a Thou can integrate an It.”

—Viktor Frankl

 

The Argonauts community has developed an ecosystem, tools, and processes to cultivate the transformational power of conscious leadership in a sustainable and scalable way. Committed and diverse peers—from around the globe and across all fields of endeavor—find a safe place of trust and respect, common values, and principles. At its core, members are nurtured by authentic, non-judgmental, human conversations in their Trust Circles, online and offline, united and guided by the common affirmation of a transformational mindset based on an unconditional YES to life. Virtual encounters are complemented by physical meetings in places of beauty and wonder around the world. Additionally, the community provides members with a robust toolset of assessments and exercises, thought-provoking content, and hands-on practices for disruptive yet constructive change in their lives, businesses and communities.

These efforts are new experiences and relationships that transcend the learning limits of leadership training models. Trust Circle dialogues are professionally facilitated with curated content by The Argonauts community’s experts and coaches. They go beyond the social scripts of transactional exchanges to foster the development of conscious thinking and build muscles to help members uncover authentic versions of themselves. In an age where reflection is rare and information overload is the norm, Trust Circle conversations cut through the noise and reach harmonies of who we are at our human core. Leaders achieve “lucidity,” as German-Swiss psychologist and Argonauts thought leader Dirk de Sousa calls this state of consciousness, one which every human can learn and attain.

Harvard Graduate School of Education psychologists Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey explain, in How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, that most individuals and organizations are immune to deep and lasting change. The only way to overcome an organization’s immunity to change, they argue, begins within leaders.

The journey requires leaders to be open to vulnerability and adapting to a language of change, which first transforms the leader before spreading outward—not downward—across the organization. In this new value-based, human-centric era, it is not the organization that transforms, it is people, first. As Kegan and Laskow conclude, “When we experience the world as too complex, we can either try to reduce its complexity or expand our consciousness.”

To transform the transactional leadership mindset, we must strive to reach a new level of consciousness. In the community of Argonauts, we nurture global leaders in their courage to develop the ability to adeptly adjust to the complexity of the escalating changes of the environment. “An organization cannot perform at a higher level of performance than the collective consciousness of its leadership” concluded R.J. Anderson and W.A. Adam and thereby took Einstein’s paradigm of problem-solving requiring higher consciousness to the organizational level.

Self-awareness is at the core of all the individual journeys that members navigate toward within their Circles. Argonauts simultaneously expand their leadership capability and evolve their mental capacity to tackle the thorniest questions encountered in business and life, in a trusted environment conversation by conversation. They harmonize the emotional with the rational, the problem-solving consciousness with the creative unconscious state of mind. In the process, leaders move from a competition paradigm as the main driving factor for their life’s work to a paradigm based on trust-based cooperation and leading from within.

The Argonauts community helps us rediscover and retrieve the “missing conversations” within ourselves, sharing those discoveries and experiences with trusted others. Our members’ guided journeys with their trusted peers, from one Trust Circle session to the next, prepare them to share their deepest concerns and challenges, form long-lasting relationships and understand the power that comes from communicating with vulnerability and listening with the heart.

We are, by definition and design, a community of “courageous leaders.” It takes a strong heart to confront one’s demons and dragons to navigate the journey from an outer to inner-driven life. Once our members accept this challenge and cross the chasm, they become better equipped to lead with authority and authenticity, acting with transparency and integrity. They exert lasting and constructive impact on their organizations and the wider world, leading by example. Taking a perspective of “progress” and “evolution”, they adapt to change faster and with higher resilience levels. These conscious leaders become role models and inspirations to peers and the next generation of leaders, within and beyond their own organizations.

Argonauts come to understand that, as Tony Robbins said, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with.” That resilience and self-esteem is directly correlated with your success in and through conversations with others and life itself. Only by committing to this conversation can you truly engage in personal soul-searching, assimilating your own story, your own meaning, your own ‘WHY:’ It can only develop in mutual exchange with life as your individual manifestation of the universal principle of life-affirmation: “I become through my relation to the Thou,” as Martin Buber put it. “As I become I, I say ‘Thou.’ All real living is meeting.” Committing to the conversation means transcending yourself to truly find yourself—and to finally discover yourself as part of something that is infinitely bigger than you are, allowing for a life experience based on harmonious abundance, collaboration, and co-existence.

Through Trust Circle conversations, living meetings of sharp, clear minds and compassionate hearts, our own mindfulness and individual identity, the quality of our leadership and our lives grow stronger. We practice our conversations. And we practice our life. We transform. The powerful principle becomes clear as it is practiced, as the German philosopher Marius Tölzer proclaims: “Fate is a dialogue that you conduct with your life.”

We Argonauts say, humbly: “It all starts by having a different conversation.” The conversation starts with yourself, with your feelings and thoughts, with your conscious and unconscious life, with your surroundings, with your friends, family and peers, colleagues, with society and its conventions and beliefs, with nature, with life and fate and existence itself.

This new conversation constructively disrupts old ways of thinking by changing attitudes and behaviors to lead to positive outcomes on the ‘WHAT’ level, too, while creating a new paradigm for the ‘WHY.’ The old ways of thinking and doing, based on transactional-only ‘WHAT’ and ‘HOW’ mindsets, don’t work even economically anymore. This is why leading universities such as Stanford and Harvard as well as leading consulting companies such as Mckinsey & Company have started to encourage and recommend conscious leadership models, spearheading a worldwide movement.

We now have a chance to finally evolve, transcending the model of Descartes – “I think, therefore I am” – to a new view of the world, centered on mutual responsibility in human and natural relations: “We think and feel in harmony, therefore we are”. With that disruptive and integrative paradigm in mind, we can bring more harmony to our families, organizations, and societies, inspiring them and ourselves to be, and feel, together, fully alive.

As our modern civilization finds itself humbled, we should take courage and heart. All over a slowed if not stilled world, across diverse cultures and traditions, humanity is awakening to new conversations such as the ones taking place in the Argonauts’ Circles of Trust. Together we explore and discover a new significance of fulfillment, and renewed sources of joy, in our lives.

With an impact investment in ourselves, we transform from a fear- and scarcity-based, egocentric, mechanistic, and transactional thinking to a trust- and abundance-based, ecocentric, and holistic conception of ourselves and our planet. This “investment in human capital” uncovers the ‘WHY’ that lets us live with gratitude in the present, here and now, rather than await something better in a distant future or promised redemption in the afterlife.

As we begin to emerge again from physical and spiritual lockdown—amid threats of restrictions on our liberties of expression, assembly, culture and movement—we realize that this investment and shared experience could form the basis for a disruptive renaissance of ‘WHY’ rooted in a renewed consciousness. This imperative transcends nations, ideologies, and religions. The need is to “Make Meaning Strong Again” and become, individually and collectively, fully alive.

The Argonauts is re-telling a never-ending story, renewing an ancient tradition through conversations in our Circles of Trust. These encounters foster – enhanced by our newfound sense of mutual vulnerability—the potential for mental disruption, spiritual healing, and social reconstruction that integrate our lives and the planet we inhabit.

That is the investment we make, with lasting impact, in ourselves, our societies, and our world. Our commitment seeks to bridge the generations, encountering the missing conversations in our lives, as individuals and as citizens, members of diverse faiths and nations, fellow mortals, all inhabitants of the fragile Planet Earth.

We Argonauts ask, in a spirit of being fully alive, ‘WHO’ are we serving? Do we as leaders have the courage to affirm a life of abundance, harmony, and diversity amid profound uncertainty and disruption? This is an invitation to engage in a long overdue conversation about ‘WHY’ we are on this planet and ‘HOW’ we can cultivate a ‘WHAT’ for a better future, cooperatively and courageously. It all starts with a wake-up call—resounding through the ages, especially in times like these—with another question, awaiting your response:

 

If not now, ‘WHEN’?

About the author

Stefan Beiten

Initiator of The Argonauts, Stefan Beiten, is on a mission of connecting with people for the sake of taking responsibility in the world, today. Alongside his perspective as an entrepreneur, lawyer, film producer, and public speaker, he adds a social mission to his biography as a „from-Idea-to-Vision-to-Strategy-to-Execution Guy“. He had structured and placed over US$1bn investments, founded 20+ companies, raised 3 kids and produced 3 global media classics.

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