How can we help people to easily surface stories that will improve sustainability? I’m experimenting with some questions. Applying them to myself in the first instance and seeing how this fits as others tell their stories.  I think there could be three questions everyone could ask to help us expand our consciousness:

1. Last week, who did you meet and what did you experience and what could be done to improve those experiences for you and others when viewed through a people and planet wellbeing lens?

2. Which of these things align with your core motivations?

3. What actions will you take as a result? 

How did this work for me?

Last week, we initiated a campaign at The Commons Fund to recruit more volunteers (100 applications already!) and realised how traditional recruitment processes still dominate, even when no remuneration is involved! Asymmetry even when no money changes hands!  Typically, ‘hiring managers’ hold all the power—from setting job specifications to selecting candidates. Shouldn’t we, especially in volunteer settings, start by asking, “What do you want?” At, we embrace a “Value Exchange” approach, actively working with volunteers to better align our mutual expectations.

We were inspired by a conversation with a new project we are onboarding (Project DEEP): an Indian non-profit that has transformed rural lives by granting villagers a one-time financial aid of 65,000 rupees (approximately £650). This support has freed them from debt and opened new agricultural and vocational opportunities—a truly incredible impact.

In contrast, we’ve seen the challenges faced by an individual grappling with severe mental health issues and internal conflicts within their project. This situation has unfortunately become detrimental, prompting them to seek a way out of an increasingly toxic environment.

After encouraging self-leadership among the 20 projects we support globally, they wanted to launch on a different tech platform that we had chosen. This community aims to refine projects collaboratively, focusing initially on enhancing their collective appeal and impact. This felt like a remarkably easy recommendation to endorse at this point.

Over the weekend, we learned a valuable lesson about capacity through a friend’s ambitious project to empower community members via educational initiatives. It highlighted the fine line between commitment and overextension.

Our exploration into the German Steward Ownership model revealed how it successfully delineates financial from organisational power in mission-driven organisations —a promising approach for sustainable governance.

Lastly, discussions with significant wealth holders shed light on the profound, diverse stories they encounter within their trust-based networks. These narratives, though varied, share a common theme—they all underscore the importance of people, the planet, and the transformative potential of technology in shaping the future. They also were uniquely tailored to the individual experiences of each wealth holder – a sheep dip would not work – only a respect for listening and drawing out command themes.

In looking back at my core motivations (my “mission” I think I called it) I believe a better world will only come from better stories and as diverse as these stories are, they all seem to have common. Hence these questions really and why I am writing this. When asking people “why?” 100 times – motivation always comes back to people and planet it seems.

These stories map well to The Commons Fund and help us understand better how providing financial and other support to individuals as they cultivate greater awareness and capabilities needed to pursue sustainability not just for themselves but for their communities and the planet.