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Find A Way… Letting Life Experience Call You in

Find A Way… Letting Life Experience Call You in

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This season we've been taking on HOW to learn through experience which fundamentally challenges the brain-bound assumption that learning starts and stays in the brain. We aren't so great at honoring the wisdom, expertise, and leadership that emerges from lived experience, but our own life may guide us – especially if we tap into learning practices, like reflection and challenging our perspective.

My guest on this episode is a shining example of widely acknowledged wisdom and leadership gained primarily through powerful life experience. You will hear how he came to take risks without the fear of failing, and a good dose of learning through reflection in the company of others.

Erik Clemons is co-founder of the Connecticut Community Outreach and Revitalization Program (ConnCORP) designed to explore and implement opportunities for economic development and investment in New Haven. 

In all his work creating systems and community change, he has found that before any transformation of others takes place, you need to be personally transformed.  Erik Clemons is a natural storyteller- and his story of transforming himself and creating transformation for and with others is a joy to experience.

Key Topics:

03:49 Becoming through experience: Learning the world and teaching yourself – Erik’s story of learning and becoming through experience;

10:56 From mail handler to executive director: Knowing who you are and understanding who you want to be;

15:33 The Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology: How Erik’s lived experience equipped him to understand and serve his community;

18:47 Failure as part of learning: To be truly innovative and able to create change, you need to be willing to take risks;

20:22 Transforming a major artery in New Haven: Listening to community members to create service, beauty, and dignity in a community that deserved it;

27:02 Unconscious competence: Believing in your own capacity and using all of your lived experience to find a way;

29:10 Changing systems and supporting communities: We can’t transform community unless we are willing to be transformed by community;

36:04 The power of hope: Hope is what allows striving to happen.

Additional Resources from Erik

Podcast episode: Building Community Wealth and Power