Transformative evidence: how Theory U brought me back to the essential(s)

Transformative evidence: how Theory U brought me back to the essential(s)

It was all there, just around me, just inside me, and yet, it took me another 20-ish people to find it: the conviction that everyone has the power to change things if he/she listens – and then act!

It all started by accident…Of course, I had and have always been caring about the environment: nature lover, volunteer in NGO’s, jobs that include “EHS” in some form or another. But with time passing, and actually time lacking when one’s family is growing, it is easy to lose intensity if not in your convictions, at least in your actions. Theory and practice get away from each other and coherence in your behaviors is getting slowly but surely lost. But still, when I got an e-mail from one of my colleagues asking me whether I was interested in an EPFL-supported workshop on Circular Economy, I accepted without much hesitation. After all, I am an engineer and I want to bring ideas and projects to my company to reduce its environmental footprint. The set-up looked good, so without even reading the small prints, full of my “engineer-formatted” mind, I went to look for solutions.

But then, on the first workshop days, instead of starting with the classical “We have a problem, let’s get a solution”, I am asked to practice meditation, share emotions & feelings as they come, co-create a manifesto, practice deep-listening, presencing theater…. My first thoughts were: “Where are the solutions in all that?”, “That’s not an engineer approach to solving solutions…”, “When are we starting the real work”? But although I was perplexed, and needless to say way out of my zone of comfort, I decided to stay on board….

And that was only to get even further away from my usual way of functioning: putting an engineer in a center for mindfulness for two days was in my head like throwing a cat in cold water. But the group was so open, the intentions so genuinely positive and the overall goal (make Circular Economy progress) so appealing that it I felt I should be part of this adventure. And as interactions continued, the answers to my initial questions started to appear: the “real work” started as soon as we met and got to know each other, to build a real circle of trust such I had never thought you could do with “strangers” in such a short time. It all went by small steps, exercises, exchanges, discussions, writings, listenings…But through all that and thanks again to the openness of each and every participants, things aligned more and more clearly in my head and in my heart. A reconnection to Self, to Others and to Nature: the essentials that I had lost without even noticing it and that I hold and value now more than ever before are the true engine for any significant and sustainable action. Some people need a journey around the world to get a fresh start, a journey down Theory U did the trick for me. And I feel now truly ready to change: are you?

Jérôme S.



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