Words create our world. Our conversations create the context of how the world occurs to us. Relationships are born and built of conversations. So what are the words and conversations we hear in the press about Mexico? Drugs, drug cartels, violence, revenge, corruption, illegal, immigration, killings, death etc. The conversations are invariably about the problems of all those words. On these conversations we then build the relationship of America to Mexico and Mexico to America. A relationship akin to a two-way mirror so dirty and damaged we have no idea what or who we’re really looking at, so we make up what is by what we hear.Jorge Flores-Kelly for a long time had been disturbed and resigned by this terrible press image of Mexico. When he started the Team, Management and Leadership Program from Landmark Education almost two years ago he resolved to create a project that would change the nature of this conversation of Mexico.
Jorge started a blog in both English and Spanish to discuss the vibrant activity that is happening in this country of over 113 million people. Starting conversations on subjects like technology, education, art, literature, economic growth, health care , and Mexico’s international relations. The blog is called elcatalista.org in the Spanish version and thecatalist.org in English. The blog’s subtitle sets the contexts for the site: “Empowering the Mexican – American Relationship”. Here’s the genesis of his idea explained on his site thecatlist.org:
The Catalist is not a spelling mistake.
Our name is the result of the combination of two other words that define the essence of this blog:
catalyst and optimist.
catalyst n. someone or something that helps bring about a change
Since starting the blog in his participation on Team Mexico, things have really taken off for Jorge. He’s produced and presented two videos and written a book that talks about creating a powerful context to relate to Mexico. He talks about what is going right in the country, what is working and working well. The intention is that by developing a positive context for people’s conversations about the country, the general decision-making will no longer be biased by negative sensationalism.
The book, Mexico Piensa + , released in Spanish, but translated as Mexico Thinks Positively, was published in November 2011. As of this March it was sold out and the publisher was printing a second edition. One reviewer on Amazon.com had this to say about Jorge’s book:
The book is a call to action for Mexicans and an eye opener for foreigners. It also challenges the way we tend to speak about one’s self and it’s a powerful illustration of the impact words can determine our destiny and shape our view of ourselves and subsequently, others views of us.
In Mexico, Jorge’s book has been featured in more than 15 different magazines. He’s been interviewed about it and his work to shift the context of the conversation of Mexico by more than 20 different TV and radio programs. He’s been invited to speak on creating powerful contexts about Mexico and it’s citizens by Universities, the British Embassy, the Embassy of Finland, and the TEDxCondesaRoma conference.
On Team he’s developed the ability to create powerful contexts that allowed him to fulfill his dream of writing a book that is making a difference for his country. Primary for this was developing the ability to give things up or let them go. Letting go his thoughts of “I’ll write the book when I have something interesting to say”, and just starting to write it. He applies this to the country also, urging people to give up : “I’ll invest, travel, create a company, etc. when conditions are favorable..”, and instead having people understand they can create favorable conditions by informing oneself in a proactive, profound manner.
Jorge looks back over the last two years and sees how being on Team has brought opportunities and experiences to his life that he never even dreamed about. The communication tools he’s acquired and the power of team are reinventing his life. And who knows, apparently a whole country’s image as well.
Jorge’s blog in Spanish: www.elcatalista.org
and in English: www.thecatalist.org
Jorge Flores-Kelly, Team Mexico
Written by: Paola Bortoluz, Mexico, James Marchand, NY