Our fourth Quest2017 prompt is from Dacher Keltner, Ph.D. He is the founding director of the Greater Good Science Center, an author and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He asks:

In your work life, your personal life, and in your community, how will you use power as a force for good, and empower those around you in specific acts that make up your day?

If and when I grow up, I want to write with the power and beauty found in the work of GinnyLee Taylor,  Suzi Banks Baum, Julie Eames, Alicia Anderson, Kate Arms, and Jeffrey Davis. They and other Questers have posted responses to Dacher’s prompt. Since I may never grow up that much, I will count on all of them to continue to show me the way to use power as a force for good as a writer. [Many Questers are still in the midst of responding to this prompt; I’ll be adding more links later on.]

They and their work offer far more than minimum daily doses of courage and inspiration that help me find and claim my own power. This is no small thing in the midst of a year that has lead me through a struggle to understand that power includes recognizing and reconciling both my vulnerability and my strength.

They, and other dear ones, remind me that power has many sources. Power grows through our nurturing connections with others, through connections with our natural surroundings and the beings in it. Power comes from the spirit. Power comes from within. Power comes from accepting the vulnerable self and allowing the strong self to tenderly care for it.

Considering my own power, I am taken back to what I learned from Sally Hogshead’s Fascination Advantage assessment, which I took as part of Jeffrey Davis’ Artmark class. Sally advises :

To be more successful, don’t change who you are. Become more of who you are.

According to her assessment, my primary Fascination Advantage Archetype is Avant-Garde. This is how I engage and influence others. It’s how others see me. It took me a while to accept this. I had to get past my automatic associations with the vocabulary used and into the archetype’s core meaning. As I reflected, I realized how consistent it is with what others see in me, and I began to claim its qualities as mine.

Being an Avant-Garde with the primary and secondary Advantages of Prestige and Innovation means I’m  original, creative,expert, enterprising and forward-thinking. I embrace change and exploration. I’m driven by curiosity, creativity, and a sense of adventure. I’m the one you want around when you need a brainstorming partner, a cutting-edge thinker who brings fresh, nontraditional ideas and new perspectives. I bring a powerful vision and the high standards for myself and others that will get us there. This archetype, and my primary and secondary Advantages, form an essential part of my power, as important as the self who is a healer and bringer of hope.

So, back to Dacher’s prompt, the question is: how do I use my power as an Avant-Garde, as a healer and a bringer of hope, as a force for good, and to empower others? Answer: I become more of what I am, more of an Avant-Garde, more of a healer and bringer of hope. What specific actions does this lead to?  Here are some, a list that could be longer, but captures examples of the daily, weekly and monthly actions I will take:

1.  Commit myself to learning through reading, study and reflection.

  • Read traditional news outlets, fiction and nonfiction books, blog posts and social media, and listen to podcasts, in an effort to deepen my knowledge and understanding on topics of key interest to me.
  • Attend conferences, classes, seminars, gatherings and conversations to listen deeply and learn from and about others.
  • Write regularly, both for myself and for others. It is often through writing that I figure out what I think and feel.

 2.  Help others reflect.

  • Ask powerful questions.
  •  Encourage deep conversation.
  • Guide others in writing to enhance growth, resilience and well-being.

3. Treat myself with compassion and care.

  • Alternate working hard with rest and play.
  •  Ask for help when I need it or want it.
  • Do what feeds my heart and spirit.
  • Laugh every day.

4. Remind myself of what I stand for, and what I stand against, as Jeffrey Davis calls us to do. Align my words and actions with these values.

  • Contact local, state and federal representative to express my views on issues of importance.
  • Join and contribute to groups that unite people across their differences in search of common good.
  • Volunteer for my local cooperative market.
  • Approach others with kindness, respect and compassion.
  • While remaining aware of safety, say something and do something when I see a wrong being done.

5. Find new ways to share my vision, to guide, support and encourage myself and others.

  • Launch the Department of Hope, via writing and online and in-person gatherings.
  • Provide opportunities for myself and others to explore what hopes means for them and to identify realistic, hope-based actions we can take.
  • Share resources to engage others as Messengers of Hope.


How will you use your power as a force for good?

Jeffrey Davis’ Quest2017 brings together an ever-growing pack of business artists – creatives, innovators, and professionals – to embark on a quest, one that results in making real change in the coming year.
Real change, says Jeffrey, comes from
“… a possibility mindset, provocative points of view, deep reflection, and a healthy dose of wonder.”
Here’s some of what the quest provides:

  • Twelve meaningful prompts from 12 inspiring influencers
  • The opportunity for turning inward which guides us in moving ahead
  • Discovery of unanticipated insights along the way
  • Connection with Quest-mates. As Jeffrey writes “DIT beats DIY” (translation: Do It Together beats Do It Yourself)

The Quest continues throughout the month of December. You can join us here.

Interested in more from  Dacher Keltner?  Check out  his latest book, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence. He’s also the author of Born to Be Good, published in 2009, and is a co-editor of The Compassionate Instinct, 2010.

Previous Quest2017 Posts:

As A Human Being

Do You Love Yourself Enough?

Uniquely You


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