rn: Creating Sustainability…& Depression-Proofing!


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

One of the things I try to do in co-moderating this list is to help people
make connections that may be helpful to them.

If my memory serves me correctly, Bruce Elkin contacted me in the fall about
the white poppy campaign (to move Remembrance Day towards enhancing a
culture of peace and away from glorifying violence). Then, since I was
curious about his work, but unable to get to his web site, he generously
sent me some documentation by mail. I'm afraid I only got around to reading
it recently and was impressed, so wanted to share it with you. I asked Bruce
to send me something in the body of an e-mail message, so here you are.

I think it is exciting that Bruce is a subscriber to our list and has worked
designing change processes for a wide variety of groups, including big
corporations. A partial list of previous clients includes: ALCAN,
Ciba-Geigy, Open Learning Agency, BC, Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada.
It seems to me the potential for strategic bridge-building in this effort is
clear. Read on... and let's keep building useful connections!

all the best, Jan
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002 14:31:29 -0800
Subject: Re: great info you sent me!
From: Bruce Elkin <•••@••.•••>

Thanks for your encouraging note.  I appreciate your support.  I've enclosed
a brief reveiw of the Creating Sustainability booklet and an e-mail
announcement for the Depression Proofing workshops I'm just launching.  I'm
very busy trying to do just that and to get a new website up at
www.BruceElkin.com.  Hopefully that'll be up this week and I can back off a
Thanks again.  Cheers!
Bruce Elkin: * Speaker  * Writer  * Coach  * Consultant

"Inscribe this single word on your heart:  Compassion.
Whenever you are confused, keep heading in the direction that leads toward
deepening your love and care for all living beings, including yourself, and
you will never stray far from the path to fulfillment."
                                                         --Sam Keen

SUMMIT STRATEGES: Strategic Design and Planning
141 Seaview Road, Saltspring Island BC  V8K 2V8
250 537-1177  www.summitstrategies.net
Review of Creating Sustainability by Caspar Davis, NS2 List owner

Bruce Elkin, consultant and long-time NS2er, has just published
Creating Sustainability- Designing Corporations to Do Well by Doing

This handsome 28 page booklet is actually the introduction and first
chapter of a work in progress by Bruce. It starts with a discussion
of sustainability from a business perspective, highlighting the
Natural Step and Paul Hawkens' call to design "a system of commerce
and production where each and every act is inherently sustainable and
restorative... where doing good is like falling off a log."

Bruce acknowledges that this is a tall order for most businesses, and
the rest of the booklet (and the book) is about how organizations can
actually create deep and lasting change.

Chapter 1 is called The Limits of Conventional Planning. In it, Bruce
contrasts the conventional "fit," or problem-solving based approach
to planning with the "stretch," or creative tension based approach.
"Fit" he says, poses three questions:
Where are we?
Where do we want to go?
How can we best move from here to there?

"Stretch" simply turns the first two questions around:
Where do we want to go?
Where are we?
How can we best move from here to there?

That simple inversion awakens a world of opportunity because it
completely shifts the focus from limitations to vision.

I find this sort of material very difficult to understand, even in
the hands of such a clear and compelling writer as Bruce. I didn't
really get it until I arrived at an example which I could apply to my
life rather than to the (to me) remote and abstract sphere of
corporate management:

"Dieters, for example, who shift their focus from "solving the fat
problem" to *creating* what truly matters to them (like a lean
healthy body, a successful marathon, or the capacity to hike mountain
trails with skill and grace) will not only find that they are able to
produce what they want, they can also eat well and enjoy it."

That example made me realize how, with such a starting point, I would
think about everything I ate from the viewpoint of whether and how it
could help me attain my goal, rather than focussing on calories or
how much I wished I were eating more, or different, food.

Bruce says a great deal more than this brief review can convey,
including brief outlines of the 5 chapters to come. I think that
application of the information in the booklet could be as helpful in
turning various areas of ones life around as it would undoubtedly be
to a creative corporate leader. I think the information would be
especially useful for non-profit organizations which, in my
experience, often waste a lot of energy contemplating their
inadequate resources rather than in pursuing their vision.

Bruce is offering the booklet, which really is beautifully produced,
for $5.00 (either US or Canadian), which includes postage and
handling. If you are interested in a fresh approach to improving your
life or your organization, it's a great deal.

Available from Bruce Elkin at:
Summit Strategies
141 Seaview Road
Saltspring Island,
B.C. V8K 2V8

(250) 537-1177
"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that
can be counted counts."
      - sign over Albert Einstein's desk at Princeton

Depression Proof e-mail announcement.
Please forward to friends, colleagues, and contacts. Thanks so much!


Depression Proof Yourself‹and Your Kids!
Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Creating What Matters.

Saltspring Island, Mar 2 and 3, Bainbridge Is, WA, Mar 23/24

Recent studies indicate that the number of adults and children suffering
depression is rising sharply.  If that concerns you, you¹ll be pleased to
learn that Prevention Education expert, Bruce Elkin, will host workshops on
Depression Proofing Yourself and Your Kids, Mar 2/3 on Saltspring Island and
March 23 and 24 at Seabold Community Club Hall, 14451 Komedal Road,
Bainbridge Island.

According to polls, 71% of Americans are depressed, 49% can¹t focus on work
or other daily activities, a third aren¹t sleeping well, and 57% are worried
about the future.  However, Elkin points out that, even before the events of
September 11th, experts reported dramatic increases in depression.
"We are in the middle of an epidemic of depression," states Dr. Martin
Seligman, past-President of the American Psychological Society, "and one
with consequences that, through suicide, takes as many lives as the AIDS
epidemic and is more widespread."  Moreover, Seligman describes the ten-fold
rise of depression among children since the 1950¹s as "nation-threatening."
"The good news," says Elkin, "is that mastering simple yet powerful skills
of optimism and creativity can "immunize" us and our children against
depression.  Children take their lead from parents and teachers, so changing
the ways we deal with difficult circumstances and events can help our kids
change theirs."

Elkin stresses that the Depression Proofing workshop is not about treating
depression.  "It¹s about prevention and wellness promotion.  It¹s designed
to help anyone assess how they respond to adversity, and to change
pessimistic, responses into creative, realistically optimistic ones.  It
will help them organize their lives and work around what matters, a prime
depression-proofing strategy."

Participants will assess their own "AQ" (Adversity Quotient).  Developed by
Paul Stoltz and based largely on Seligman¹s research, "AQ," says Elkin,
"gives you a snapshot of your habitual response to adversity.  It measures
four core skills that are critical for feeling good, doing well, and
becoming successful."

"Unlike IQ, AQ can be changed.  Pessimists can become more optimistic.
"Realistic optimists," says Elkin, "rarely suffer from depression."
Elkin, President of Summit Strategies on Saltspring Island, BC, has degrees
in sociology/psychology, and education. Since 1973, he has facilitated
primary prevention programs that help people increase personal control and
creativity.  Past clients include Calgary Board of Education, Alberta
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, John Howard Society, Outward Bound, and
Health Canada.  

He studied and worked for nine years with Robert Fritz, author of The Path
of Least Resistance and founder of the field of Structural Consulting.  He
was the first Canadian certified by Stoltz to administer the Adversity
Response Profile). 
Workshop will run from 9:30 to 5 daily.  Registration deadline for
Saltspring is Feb. 24, for Bainbridge it is March 19.  For Bainbridge
registration details, or an information package, please call Nicole Langley,
EarthNest, 360-341-2102 or •••@••.•••

For Saltspring please contact Bruce Elkin at the number/address below.

For a free copy of Elkin¹s 28-page booklet, Depression Proof Yourself and
Your Kids: A guide to overcoming adversity and creating what matters,
contact him at 250-537-1177 or e-mail •••@••.•••

Please forward this announcement to friends, colleagues, and contacts.
Thank you!