Home All Big Vision Drives Big Action

Big Vision Drives Big Action

written by Elaine O'Brien 5 June 2016

Elaine O'Brien, PhD, MAPP '08, is a positive psychology, fitness leadership, positive health promotion, movement science, aging, and well-being speaker, author, trainer, thought leader, people/project manager, educator, and consultant. Elaine creates programs promoting proactive positive health/fitness, and optimal performance. Elaine presents internationally and online. She advances health, fitness, and flourishing by inspiring people to move more and to find both enjoyment and meaning in motion via PEP: Positive Exercise Practices. Elaine's website.  Full bio. Elaine's articles are here.

“A person’s image of the future is what guides his current actions and behavior.” (p. 74).
“There is a strong connection between positive image and positive action,” (p. 130).
~ Appreciative Coaching

Kunal Sood sees himself as a curator of the future. Getting to know Kunal has expanded my own sense of what’s possible for humans to achieve.

Kunal’s goal is to transform the lives of a billion people in the world leveraging technological innovation and entrepreneurship. He has worked with under-served populations in the slums of Mumbai, and collaborated with the United Nations and Rotary International’s End Polio Campaign. Kunal is the founder of the X Fellows Initiative, a highly curated group of deeply committed global citizens that focus on solving the world’s most urgent problems. Their tagline is “unlocking exponential potential.”

Kunal Sood Graduation

Kunal Sood MAPP Graduation; shown with Martin Seligman and James Pawelski

Last year Kunal also co-founded NOVUS, which he describes as “a media platform for the future of humanity; (it’s about) bridging all the generations to unite in action and focus on inner transformation and positive impact bringing voices, music, and wisdom into one space.” NOVUS is coming to the UN in the summer and fall of 2016.

“Novus started out with reimagining the American Dream for a better world, a way to create a new breed of citizenry where we are focused on giving and serving, and is fully aligned with the United Nations 17 Global Goals. My dream is to use all of my gifts to live a life of service that is filled with abundance and gratitude in order to help both people and organizations unlock their exponential potential. In order for us to really achieve our full potential and realize these 17 global goals we must develop the moral courage and compassion to do the right thing when the time is at hand.” ~ Kunal Sood

His journey has taken him to the United Nations where he served as the executive producer of TEDxUNPlaza at the United Nations. He was a Center for Compassion and Altruism Research (CCARE) Fellow at Stanford University working directly under Dr. James Doty curating events hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and many other compassionate luminaries.

Kunal believes that exponential technologies hold the key towards helping humanity flourish. He puts these beliefs to work as EXO consultant at ExO Works and as a Strategic Alliance Director at HaloDrop. Kunal is also a champion of women’s empowerment and gender equality. He is the Chairman of the WED Fellows Accelerator at Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. This global program promotes women entrepreneurs and innovators who are pioneers in their fields of excellence.

One of Kunal Sood’s hopes is in making NOVUS a portal for positive storytelling focused on the 17 United Nations Sustainable Goals. He lives his life by the following motto:

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgment that something else, like love and compassion is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all” ~ Meg Cabot

How Will We Leave the World?

The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals aim to eliminate a multitude of social ills by 2030. They remind us to consider our legacy by investing now, today, in the future we want. These goals are one answer to the question, “How will we leave the world?”

These goals are drawn along social, economic, and environmental dimensions that contribute to peace, justice, and effective institutions in both developed and developing countries. For each of the 17 specific goals listed below, one or more words serve as a link to the UN discussion of the goal, including progress that has already been made and priorities for future action.

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
  2. Improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture; alleviate hunger and food security concerns.
  3. Promote health, ensuring healthy lives and the promotion of well-being for all at all ages.
  4. Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.
  5. Achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. Provide equal opportunities and access for girls.
  6. Ensure access of water and sanitation for all.
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
  8. Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.
  9. Build a resilient, sustainable infrastructure, industrialization and foster innovation.
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries.
  11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine life.
  15. Biodiversity, forests, and desertification – halt biodiversity loss, manage forests, and combat desertification.
  16. Promote peace and justice, as well as inclusive societies.
  17. Revitalize global partnerships for sustainable development.

Responses to the 17 UN Goals

“We won the struggle against slavery and then against apartheid, both of which seemed insurmountable at the time. The next big war is the one against poverty and we have to win this for the sake of humanity and our collective future.” ~ Nelson Mandela

David Cooperrider believes that the 2030 Sustainable Goals may well be one of the defining issues of the 21st century. He advocates finding converging energy in direct proportion to the turbulence, crises, and the issues of our times.

The UN Development Goals grew out of the earlier Millenium goals and subsequent discussions such as the 4th Appreciative Inquiry Summit, Imagine Nepal, in 2009. Two of the key appreciative questions at Imagine Nepal were,


  • “Can we find better ways to create the vibrant, peaceful, sustainable, and flourishing communities we all want?”
  • “How can we link the power of Appreciative Inquiry and other strengths-based approaches to the most pressing issues of a global change agenda, from improving health and education to creating sustainable communities and deeper personal development?”

Women’s Leadership

Kunal, Elaine, and Johannes Eichstaedt at the  Power of Collaboration congress at the UN, Spring 2016

Kunal, Elaine, and
Johannes Eichstaedt at UN Summit

Kunal and I participated in the 3rd annual Power of Collaboration Summit at the United Nations in February 2016. The conference goal was, “Turning Conversations into Action.” IMPACT Leadership 21 hosted the event.

Janet Salazar, founder of Impact Leadership 21, said, “In order for economies and global leadership to be sustainable, it is imperative that those who are in top leadership positions in both public and private commit to a political will and a conscious effort to make women’s leadership equality at the top a normal, daily aspect of every institution in our society.” Further, she added, ” We are at a tipping point of global leadership transformation, and women are ready and equipped for the much needed re-balance.”

Climate Action

When my husband and I traveled to Ireland earlier this year, we witnessed firsthand the devastation of record flooding. France is experiencing similar damage to lives and property in floods right now. During the Ireland trip, we watched an amazing rock concert supporting the UN Sustainable Goals with real passion. Part of the concert note, was that the year 2015 was the hottest year on record. During last year’s UN Climate Conference (COP21) in Paris, a decisive step forward marked an international agreement in setting a framework for a transition toward resilient, low-carbon societies and economies.

“Nature should never be abused
And we much use it intelligently and in such a way
That everyone benefits. – From the book, Blue and Beautiful, Planet Earth, Our Home

Visit The lazy person’s guide to saving the planet to find fun, easy, and practical actions you can take in your everyday life to help humanity move toward sustainability and flourishing around climate change. The actions around the 17 goals that I’ve taken personally are to be more mindful in my intentions and actions, to strive to eat low on the food chain, to raise up the education, health, and empowerment of women, and to love people, our environment, and our world.


Works Cited:

Orem, S., Binchert, J. & Clancy, A. (2007). Appreciative Coaching: A Positive Process for Change (Jossey-Bass Business & Management). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Impact Leadership 21: Leadership Solutions that Drive Change

Rocha, R. & Roth, O. (1990). Blue and Beautiful: Planet Earth, Our Home. United Nations Publishers.

WED: Women’s Entrepreneur Day

Halodrop (2016). Nepal: Crises and Incident Response.

United Nations (n. d.). The lazy person’s guide to saving the planet.

Blue and Beautiful

Not seeing the pictures for the book links? Disable Adblocking for this site to view them.

You may also like


Judy Krings 6 June 2016 - 11:58 am

Wow, Elaine! Your article is so terrific I printed it out. I also shared it with my Mentor Coach positive psychology class. This morning’s class was on goal-setting and planning, so how perfect is that? Big thanks and kudos to terrific Kunal Sood and praise for his ongoing positivity-spreading within our grateful world.

Elaine O'Brien 6 June 2016 - 12:27 pm

Dear Judy, thank you for your note. Great hearing from wonderful you, and happy you enjoyed the article. Yes Kunal Sood is a powerful force, kind, and inspiring. Cheers. X e

Judy Krings 6 June 2016 - 12:48 pm

My pleasure, Elaine. Please give my best to Kunal, too. What an inspiration.

Patty Di Pano 7 June 2016 - 5:18 am

Great article, Elaine! Setting goals & creating positive images towards which to strive hold hope for the world’s future. We need people like you & Kunal to light the way. Thank you for continuing to provide daily support & inspiration!

Elaine O'Brien 7 June 2016 - 8:22 am

Dear Patty, thank you for sharing, and for your grace and thoughtfulness. Grateful for you, Elaine

Dorothy Jeremiah 9 June 2016 - 12:12 pm

Fascinating article…very positive words for everyone as well as goals to try and attain.
Subscribed to Positive Psychology. Thanks for living the goals and contributing so much to others, especially women.
All my best to a special person. Love you, Dotty

Kunal Sood 11 June 2016 - 6:04 am

My dear Elaine

I am so touched by your sharing the work I do in collaboration with the UN. The third Global Goal is truly reflected both in your being and the way you give so generously of yourself. Please do save the date as we go into July the 17th for http://www.novussummit.org I would love to support your move 2 love endeavor or anything else where I can be of sevice. Thank you again for your unreserved support. Much love and many blessings. Kunal

Elaine O'Brien 11 June 2016 - 9:45 am

Dear Kunal, thank you for writing and for being such a source of wonderful inspiration in bringing public health, well-being, and social justice to the world through your inspiration. Yes, I will see you July 17. Congratulations! Sending love, Elaine


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com