Doug, Sarah and Alexa were all in an extraordinary program created by Seth Godin called altMBA. March 2016 had been a month of deep conversation, personal challenge and profound questioning that touched every aspect of our lives. It was exhilarating at times and a lot of hard work. We had to publish 3 significant blogs every week, read and comment on each others’ work and keep digging deeper. On the surface it looked as if we were learning about business. In reality we were learning about ourselves – and therefore how we do business.
Many people were exhausted by the end but deeply touched by the quality of connections we’d all made and the freedom we’d discovered to communicate about topics that are so often kept private. Most of us had a great desire to keep the spirit of the program going and also to have the support that comes from working with other people who are showing up wholeheartedly for themselves and for you.
Douglas, whose passion is education and community, went away with a question about what’s the most important thing to teach in the 21st Century. Sarah left the program with her mission question clearly defined for the first time: How can you and I be fully human in the face of automation, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies?
A few weeks later Doug called Sarah and asked a simple question: Is it possible to teach wisdom? He’d figured out that it’s the most important subject. Her immediate response was yes, and that was the moment when our program was conceived. Like all babies, it had no name until a lot later – although if there was a business baby name book we probably tried out a lot of possibilities along the way.
We decided to use a similar structure to the altMBA program, because it’s the only online education any of us had ever experienced that brought the absolute best out of people. It had created an environment where everyone could participate fully, level up over and over again, give as much as they were capable of and more, and determine just how much they wanted to get out of it.
It wasn’t controlled by a teacher. It was never limited by any of the participants. We all had our strengths and our weaknesses and they became part of the experience. But above all there was tremendous personal commitment from all of us and that made it quite different from the vast majority of educational experiences.
As we’ve developed the concept several themes have begun to emerge. First and foremost is the emphasis on wisdom, purpose and integrity. These are the foundation of happiness, success and fulfilment. Second is a commitment to a long-term community. We knew from the outset that the connections you can make through this program could become truly influential in your life if well nurtured over the long term. And third is the challenge to share our best selves. We want to create an environment where you feel safe to share your inner wisdom and your deeper sense of purpose, as we believe that it’s essential to open ourselves more fully if we want to create a meaningful difference to our wider community.
The name only emerged after a few months discussion. The word “gamechangers” captures the essence of the program. It’s about more than “making a difference”. We recognised the inner need many people are feeling to change the game and the sense that they’re not doing enough yet are not quite sure how to go about it. It was summed up when Sarah’s cousin, who’s a successful BBC comedy producer, said “I’d love to be a game changer” and his face lit up at the thought.
We aim to create a team of game changers, who are all linked, some tightly, some more loosely, supporting and challenging each other for many years or even decades to come. Gamechangers make wise choices consistently over a long period. They’re aware of and aligned with their inner purpose. And they act with integrity, not only within themselves, but always aiming for solutions that benefit the whole.