Elsbeth Dixon joined Common Purpose South Africa in 2006. The organization is focused on leadership development. They work globally to develop nimble leaders without borders that can implement problem-solving to make their cities a better place. As an applied mathematician, she’s used her natural precision and decisiveness skills to make an impact – by vision and actualizing. Dixon mentions that she is conscientious of where she pours her energy; she wants all of her efforts to bear fruit. She views the path to making a difference as sequential and logical, which landed her in leadership development.
My Key Takeaways
“The world is our classroom.” These are the words that Elsbeth used. Of course when we hear them, they sound obvious but before we hear them, we may not consciously realise the power of that statement. Take this time to think about how big that classroom really is and the potential it holds, if we’re prepared to be the most observant student, taking advantage of this hugely valuable education at our fingertips.
Elsbeth also talked about collaboration being an absolute must. The attitude of the world being our classroom lends itself so well to this. It’s through collaboration, connection and conversation with others that we so often find the how for our cause and gain the much needed support and knowledge for the success of the impact we want to create.
We consciously go to such lengths to create the right meetings, with the right people and this is of course extremely valuable. Elsbeth mentions some of her most salient moments have come at the most unexpected times – a less professional time, in the middle of the night, in her pyjamas. We need to have more trust in what we don’t yet know and what I mean by that, is by opening ourselves up to the less obvious, this is where we so often become much more open to a diversity in our thinking and our light bulb moments are created.
This openness allows us to hear in such a powerful way and that hearing will only broaden our minds and horizons. The level of self reflection this has the potential to lead to, is the potential of the impact we’re setting out to create. One great mind is all that is needed to start a hugely impactful machine.
This interview took me to so many places, through the powerful words that mean so much to Elsbeth; conviction, collaboration, contradiction, transparency, courage and trust. Valuable food for thought!
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