HEADING_PERSONAL-TRANSPersonal Transformation-1

The Art of Hosting “worldview” requires that personal transformation precede authentic action as a change agent. Many esteemed intellectuals, including Robert Quinn, Parker Palmer, and Margaret Wheatley, argue that any change agent must first walk naked into the unknown, facing vulnerability and fear, before they can participate with others in any significant change process. In Art of Hosting personal transformation and taking risks is expected, but we do not ask people to walk alone. Rather, we learn that personal transformation occurs as a private response to group learning.

Personal reflection is required before personal transformation occurs, but individual reflection alone is rarely sufficient. Art of Hosting asks us to participate fully, at a deep level, in a collective learning process. This process is built on deep listening to the stories and experiences of others. When those stories are offered in a group setting, they inspire us to learn both from our small failures and our successes. We are encouraged to enter a collective space that demands that we “groan” and struggle with ideas that are foreign, unexpected, and emerging. As we do so, we are stimulated to withdraw and reflect upon how the collective experience has changed us. The chapters in this section address the consequences of that process.

  • Englemann’s story explains that Art of Hosting is not only a method, but also a “way of being and acting.” For Englemann, Art of Hosting provides coherence and terminology to better express the theories of both personal and institutional change that she had come to know as true through a lifetime of working at the University.
  • Zentner Bacig’s story illustrates that the real journey begins when we’re not sure what to do or which way to go. A new direction in her career and her approach to working with others led Zentner Bacig to rethink what it means to take responsibility, and to appreciate more deeply the capacities of individuals, groups, and organizations.
  • Mein and Bentrim, two information technology professionals, recount how they were able to find their leadership voices and feel more equipped to step into new roles through Art of Hosting. From new positions of leadership and in collaboration with others, they influenced a reorganization and culture shift across the entire IT community at the University.
  • Dorman shares the deeply personal story of facing the death of his lifetime partner. The Art of Hosting worldview led him to consider how an individual attends to her or his personal needs while realizing the importance of the broader relational ecosystem.

The courage in these accounts is an inspiration to all of us for how to incorporate significant changes into our sense of our work and worth.