What is Wisdom Strategy?

When people ask me what I believe wisdom is, I say that in my experience it is an 'embodied knowing'. Wisdom is when facts and information - in all its different forms - through reflection has become insight, that over time, when integrated and applied in many varied real-life situations, leads to a knowing that permeates the whole body. Wisdom. So what happens when we combine it with strategy?


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Emily Johnsson
Nurturing changemakers for a whole world.

Having worked with hundreds of heart-led, creative leaders and entrepreneurs over the years, the term ‘strategy’ sometimes got people squirming.

“Wasn’t this just another example of controlling, patriarchal expression?” they used to protest.

The truth is of course that it can be- if we allow it to be.

But ‘strategy’ is in essence a form of plan: clear stepping stones to help us move forward to complete something we care about.

Now what I believe matters is the energy behind our strategy.

Is it pushy, calculating or controlling? Is it extractive in nature?

Or is it based on a clear higher purpose, diverse information from those whose lives will be affected, as well as logic and intuition? Does it ensure that everyone involved will benefit? Will any harm, even unintentional, be caused and if so, how can the strategy be rearranged?

The latter questions are examples of what I believe a wisdom strategy is based on, and is something I introduce to participants in ROOTS 4 CHANGE – a beautiful and powerful journey to embrace your self-leadership in a deeper way so that you can live, lead, love, create, parent with even greater positive impact, intentionality and integrity in these times of change and challenge.

Our future depends on combining head and heart.

Yin with yang. Left brain, right brain. Logic with intuition. Who we are (Nature), with what we create (art, technology). What is needed in the moment with an overarching, long-term vision for thriving.

Wisdom strategy combines the intelligence of how life operates, with diverse, contextual information about what could enable a place/project/organisation to thrive in balance with interconnected systems.

Wisdom strategy combines the principle of operating in ‘right relation’ with everything, with tangible steps to move forward with, that can release the potential of a project. These steps both make sense (logic) and feel right (intuition) to those involved.

A wisdom strategy honours the seasons. It makes space for ideas generation, innovation, creativity, sharing and relationship building.

It also honours rest, reflection, introspection and silence. Integration.

It honours wholeness.

Reflect on your own or with your team:

  • How do you normally create a strategy for your projects/ organisation/business?
  • What seems to be the most important when creating a strategy?
  • What comes up for you around the concept of ‘wisdom strategy’?

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About Emily & White Supremacy

Emily is a space holder and self-leadership coach to changemakers. She has over 20 years experience in the field of human development, learning and growth, and leads the coaching and consultancy company Wish Tree since 2011. Her work centres around wholeness – whole humans, whole communities, whole organisations, whole ecosystems. A whole world. Her changemakership is therefore dedicated to clearing distortions and fragmentations that relate to our perceptions of separation.

Emily has been exposed to and ‘sat with’ systemic issues around race, racism, privilege and injustice her whole life. She was born in Camden, London, in the late 1970s to a Swedish immigrant single mum and spent her first formative years in a highly culturally and ethnically diverse setting. As a baby, Emily and her mum lived in a bedsit in a shared house with a Black British family. Her first memory of Father Christmas was of him as a Bangladeshi man. Emily’s mum worked with refugee families and in Children’s Homes in inner city London, and since she had no access to child care opportunities, Emily joined her at work. For a while, Emily had an older Black British foster sister called Debbie. She was very often the only white child in the community of children of which she was a part.

Emily moved to Sweden with her mum as a child and as a teenager became involved with, and led, antiracism youth work in her local town through her school and council-initiated networks in the 1990s.

Her mum, who was active in the peace-and- environmental movement and who had been involved as an ally in the civil rights movement in the US on her travels there, introduced her to Black feminist and activist writers such as Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Audre Lord, and actively taught her about white privilege, white supremacy and the truth of colonialism. She was also taught about the importance of learning from Indigenous wisdom keepers in order to heal and evolve as humanity, and to (in those days) stop climate change.

In contrast, on her father’s side, Emily is of British Colonial descent. Emily’s grandmother was born in Zimbabwe to Scottish sheep-farmers. Her grandfather came from a poor English background but won a scholarship to Cambridge University to study law. As many young British men of his time who sought “adventure, a good job and travel”, Emily’s grandfather joined the colonial service in the final days of the British Empire, and served in several African countries as a high-ranking colonial officer. He spoke Zulu and Emily’s father spoke Swazi and Swahili before being sent to Britain as a child to attend boarding school, thousands of miles away from his parents.

Although Emily did not grow up with her father or his family, she eventually came to know them and have a relationship with them, which involved taking responsibility for understanding and healing her own familial and ancestral relationship to colonialism and white supremacy.

In this process, she came to see, feel and understand first hand and close up, the deeper psychological workings of the system of white supremacy, the colonial mind and its intimate links with narcissism, perfectionism, patriarchy and extractive economies and behaviours.

Between 2003-2015, Emily worked as a learning researcher and Access, Diversity and Inclusion enabler in the Arts & Cultural Sector, deeply rooted in the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Human Rights Convention. She worked across the U.K and Scandinavia contributing to a number of large scale change projects, self-evaluation initiatives, conferences and trainings such as “Access for All”, “Inspiring Learning for All”, “Belonging – the Voices of London’s Refugees”, “The West Indian Front Room”, “Kultur och Fritid för Alla”, “Vidgat Deltagande”, “In this curriculum I don’t exist”, “In between two worlds – London teenagers’ ideas about Black History, Belonging and being British” to name a few. She worked with a wide range of marginalised communities as well as with leaders and directors holding white privilege, facilitating necessary and brave conversations challenging the status quo.

Emily has worked across many cultures and languages around the world from Sri Lanka to South Africa, Costa Rica and India to Romania and Denmark, continuously reflecting on and challenging white saviour tendencies. In this process has come to observe how white supremacy and racism works differently in different countries depending on context and history.

In 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Emily became a loud voice in the Wellness industry by calling in leaders bypassing white supremacy through ‘love and light’ rhetoric, exceptionalism, colourblindness and virtue signalling. She closed down several online coaching circles because white participants were unwilling to dive deeper into their own internalised white supremacy, and rendered the spaces not only additionally unsafe, but traumatising for BIPOC clients. Her platform and large facebook community for coaches and wellbeing facilitators centred BIWOC-led anti-racism conversations as a response.

Emily is a skilled and fiercely loving coach and space-holder with many years experience of creating safe spaces for accountability, healing, integration and growth to take place.

She is dedicated to her own ongoing learning, healing and unlearning of covert white supremacy. Examples of this are continuous learning from a wide range of anti-racism educators, authors and activists from around the world.

This bio has not been written with the intention of centring Emily in the context of Me & White Supremacy, but to transparently share about her background, values, skills and experience in order for you to make a conscious decision to choose her as a space-holder, or not.

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