Consider The Next 7 Generations

“Before you take any decision, consider its effect on the next seven generations.”
- Native American Hopi proverb

I came across this meaningful and thought-provoking proverb about a year ago, and it arrested me.  That Native American tribes have espoused this—keeping 150-years-ahead impact forefront in decision-making—matches beautifully with our call to Third Turn leaders to lead and plan with our grandchildren’s grandchildren in mind.  (And though the math differs, we would absolutely concur with their even longer-term view.)

All this was lovely yet rather conceptual until my trip home to visit my Iowa family and farm last May.  We were there to help prepare the farm for my nephew’s high school graduation party, which would be held in the machine shed.  That was all meaningful enough, until I took a break to drive my 85-year-old mother and 90-year-old aunt to the township cemetery (it was Memorial Day weekend) to place flowers on family graves.  Right then and there, I time-traveled through 4 generations in but a few minutes—my great-great grandparents who founded the farm, my great-grandparents who then passed it into the hands of my grandparents, and uncles and aunts who represented the 4th generation, as do my mom and dad, who in their tenure alone have stewarded that land for 60+ years.  I’m the 5th generation, my graduating nephew the 6th, and it’s not hard to imagine generation 7 springing to life within the next ten years or so.  From that cemetery, I have a 180-year sight line (1843 - 2023) of what it means to persevere and stay true to deeply-held values and challenging decisions through pain and untimely death--the loss of 6 children in 10-days time to diphtheria and the loss of an uncle to a terrible farm accident; through threats like the Great Depression and the 1980s farm crisis; and through too many droughts and crop drown-outs to begin to count.

Although I chose life in the city, that farmland is a cherished legacy and touchpoint for me.  It’s served as a grounding reference point in my business “what should we do?” decision-making.  And when I’ve needed to take risks that scared me, I could look back to this lineage and take courage that ancestors had done far more courageous things before me.  

I feel humbled and blessed to stand in this 7-generation line and legacy.  And I find myself wondering: What decisions that I make in my lifetime might serve as a reference point and potential blessing for those that follow me seven generations and 150+ years from now?

Kristin Evenson
Kristin - Signature Final


- Kristin Evenson


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About The Third Turn Podcast & Maestro-level leaders:

With each episode of the Third Turn Podcast, we host a conversation among leaders who want the world to flourish for generations beyond their lifetimes.

Listening with others in some way and enjoying in-depth conversations of your own as you reflect and choose what you would do the same or differently is a plus!

We always welcome you sharing these podcasts with others as well as sending along any suggestions for making these podcasts better.

The Third Turn Podcast is part of the Maestro-level leaders initiative, a production of Design Group International. Strategically Connected's Jennifer Miller is the producer.

Kristin Evenson
Post by Kristin Evenson
May 2, 2023
Kristin serves as a Consultant and Coach to leaders, teams, and boards by helping them leverage their unique brand of significance in context of: - Strategic junctures--Helping leaders and teams identify what can’t change and what must; - Leadership & life challenges—Helping leaders support, sustain and strengthen their soul in leadership; - Career change & transition—Helping them think creatively and courageously about what’s next. Kristin spent 20 years with Fallon Worldwide, leading brand and communications strategy development for clients across a variety of industries—including Nordstrom, Holiday Inn Express, and Children’s Defense Fund. Her career journey since has included stints as marketing/strategy director and consultant to companies, nonprofits and ministries in the areas of strategy, culture, communications and board governance. Her teams’ work won multiple national effectiveness awards, and her consulting work resulted in a “Best Practice in People/Workplace” by Upsize Magazine. Having completed NeuroLeadership Institute’s Brain-Based Coaching Program, Kristin incorporates brain-based principles into change initiatives for organizations, teams, and individuals. She and her husband Jeff Rosell have four awesome adult sons and host an international daughter, originally from South Sudan.