As I am riding the train to meet with my fellow organizers from the Global Conference on Positive Change, I am thinking back to those wonderful two days. The energy, excitement and inspiring stories from the Inspiration Guides of Positive Change are still fueling me. I am reminded of the presentation from Diana Whitney regarding The Heart of Positive Change. The part of her presentation that has resonated with me the most is the power in changing the conversation with ourselves and others. Diana talked about consciously shifting the conversation from deficit based narratives to positive based narratives. This supports experiences from my work with Teams where the power of the Team is unleashed when the conversation is changed to focus on positive possibilities. Changing the conversation with self was a second idea that I found impactful for it leads to “right relationships.”  When I am in right relationship with myself, I am taking care of myself and nurturing my relationships with self, spirit and others. This relationship focus creates a new conversation for myself including using new language.

In the Power of Kindness presentation, John Sweeney talked about the power and need to be kind to self. The language we use with self can make us rich or poor, happy or unhappy, and loved or unloved. John was passionate in his belief that kindness transforms lives and relationships. He emphasized that change happens and becomes visible when we are kind to others. Kindness starts with kindness to self, and with self in the words we use to communicate with ourselves. I remember John encouraging all of the participants to reach out to each other and share a word of kindness. As I watched John talk to a young volunteer at the Positive Change Conference, I watched her face light up with joy, and I was reminded how easy his suggestion was. Since the Positive Change Conference, I have made an effort to speak with more kindness and engage strangers in conversation – it is delightful!

The Inspiration Guides as a whole shared insights and stories from their experiences regarding Positive Change that were filled with energy. They challenged the attendees of the Positive Change Conference to look at situations from a new perspective that builds on individual and collective strengths. The theme of stories from all Inspiration Guides was that Positive Change begins with self and the relationships that we nurture. The presentations led to conversation among the Positive Change participants about “what if” when returning to their home environment. There was energy and excitement to engage in new conversation and explore new ways of addressing topics. As I listened to these conversations and participated in several, I also noticed a burgeoning self-confidence in the participants to do something new – a willingness to be different.

There were many seeds of positive change planted in Amsterdam April 13 & 14. My seeds are beginning to sprout and I am curious to hear from other participants of the Positive Change Conference about their seeds of Positive Change.

Ralph Weickel is President with Corporation for Positive Change, and Principal of European Center for Positive Change  & Performance Management.