Social Innovation

In the box

While we are on the topic of change, let’s unpack that a bit.

Change is uncomfortable for many because of the fear of the unknown. If things work, why change? And if things are working well enough, can’t we just patch the holes and make it work perfectly again?

In the box is a comfortable place to be. It’s our realm of known. While life, and work, in the box may not be just right, may be leaving some of our significant goals by the waste side, it feels better, safer than engaging with all the possibilities, including failure, that live outside the box.

Many people come to me looking to use innovative techniques and creative methodologies to verify that their in the box work is the best place to be. The problem is, with that mindset, out of the box is out of mind, is besides the goal. Out of the box is ignored, or worse, actively rejected in favor of trying to cram all new innovation into the box.

I can’t stand for that. If you want to grow, if you want to make change, if you want to leave a mark on the world, you can’t be seeking the validation that the old, the small, the typical is right.

How do you crawl out of the box when it feels comfortable and the big bad world outside of the box seems too much to consider?

Standard
General troublemaking

Don’t like it? Change it.

The troublemakers mantra: if you don’t like or agree with the way something is done, don’t do it that way. Find a new way. What’s stopping you?

This seems unbearably simple. Unnecessary to post about. So why is it so often ignored? What fear is holding you back?

My dad reminds me regularly: it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Standard
General troublemaking, Professional Growth

The temptation of mediocrity

Mediocrity is pretty tempting. It doesn’t require much effort, much stress, or lack of sleep. Just show up, and do what you are told. Why push to change things? Why make things hard than they have to be?

If you want to be a troublemaker, mediocrity is not an option. Being average is not what makes change. It’s when you stand up for what you believe in, when you take the uncomfortable steps towards the unknown, when you power through the setbacks and strive towards something better, something stronger, something more powerful, that’s when you reap the benefits of being above average.

If you want to change the world, you have to be the changemaker. It’s not easy, and not always glamorous, but it has to be done. Why not be the one to do it?

Standard
Healthy Living, My favorite things

Why I love selling tahini

Something you may not know about me: at night I moonlight as a tahini saleswoman.

Okay, that’s a gross exaggeration. But I have now helped out the fabulous women at Soom Foods sell their products on two occasions, and both times I have had a blast. I like to help them for a few reasons:

  1. Soom Foods was founded by three sisters, one of whom is my former boss, mentor, and dear friend, and consequently have grown to love the other Soom sisters.
  2. I truly believe it’s the best tahini you can buy in the USA.
  3. It aligns with my values of healthy, clean eating (if you don’t know, tahini is made from sesame seeds, a super food with wonderful health properties such as lots of protein, calcium, iron, and omega 3-fatty acids).

And their product sells itself, because it’s that good. It’s healthy, delicious, and inarguably something you need to have in your pantry if you are dedicated to that lifestyle.

Today it became obvious to me the reason why I love helping them selling their products:

You stop “selling,” and start inspiring, when you are selling something you believe in.

This sentiment extends well beyond the sale of tahini. It extends into the work we do and the things we love. Work no longer acts as “work” when it’s something you love, something you believe in. When you are working for a product, service, organization, or otherwise that you must share it with other people, that it beings you joy or excitement to spread the gospel, and that you genuinely believe in, things are different.

Let’s work towards finding that thing. Because time is precious, and your talents are not worth spending on anything that is otherwise.

 

Standard
Entrepreneurship, General troublemaking, Troublemakers

Ruckusmaking, Troublemaking; Let’s just make something

Hello, dear friends. It’s been a while. I have been lost in the chaos of my own personal and professional troublemaking and have neglected to catch you up on my learnings. We have so much to get done. Here we go.

Last weekend I attended a workshop called Ruckusmakers with the one and only Seth Godin. Having been a big fan of Seth’s work for a while, I was delighted, nay, thrilled to attend this workshop when my colleague Todd invited me to do so (thank you again, Todd!!).

Seth’s work focuses on the importance of making change. Change is at the nexus of improving society, being happier, being productive, and making a difference. Change is what allows us to grow in ways we never thought possible, to push the boundaries of our personal and professional lives, and to advance our agenda. If you aren’t changing, well, you’re moving backwards.

Right off the bat, I know Ruckusmakers was my jam. Ruckusmaking sounds pretty darn close to troublemaking, and to be in a room full of people who love to cause a scene is the place I always want to be. It’s easy in our daily lives to fall back into complacency, to accept the way the world is because it’s easy and comfortable and what we are taught in school. We are taught to study to pass a test, to know the right answers, to only speak when we are called on. Nowadays that just doesn’t fly. The way of the future is to make ruckus, to make necessary trouble, to make something you believe in. There simply isn’t time for otherwise. If we aren’t creating, we aren’t contributing. And the world really, really needs us to step up.

At Ruckusmakers learned a LOT, both hard skills and soft. I met some pretty inspiring people. And while I am still digesting it all, I hope to frame it back to you so that we, together, can continue on our journey towards challenging the status quo, not giving in when others laugh or roll their eyes, and trek forward on a path we believe in. There just ain’t no other way.

I will leave you with one nugget from Seth that I have been thinking about constantly. He shared with us:

Failure is just learning one way not to do something.

Let’s succeed, let’s fail, let’s just do. We will figure it out eventually.

Onwards.

Standard
General troublemaking

The trouble with troublemaking

Trouble making is hard. Really hard. You can care– care deeply– about a fundamentally important issue and life still manages to peek its head in and get in the way of you taking action.

I am a passionate person about many topics, if you couldn’t tell already. Some of these topics include conscientious consumerism, refugee issues, and homelessness. I try to bring these issues to the forefront of my life, to make them a central piece of who I am and what I practice and how I live and breathe.

But then there’s work.

And there are bills.

And there are really, truly, only 24 hours in a day.

And all the sudden the things you care about, the issues that keep you up at night start to keep you up for an additional reason– because you feel you aren’t doing enough. Because you feel that you should have an answer to homelessness, or you shouldn’t have bought a couch that wasn’t ethically made.

I am telling you this, my dear troublemakers, because as someone who works with hundreds of troublemakers every day, as someone who knows many of the “answers” on how to take sustainable action, I struggle, constantly, as most troublemakers I know do. We never feel like we are doing enough. We often, if not always, feel like there’s something grander, something more impactful, we could be doing. It’s important we all know that so we can support each other in those times of “what the heck should I do now?”

It’s during these times I remind that my thoughts, my intentions, are important and world-changing. While I strongly believe that ideas don’t change the world, and action does, I also believe action stems from an intention, from caring about something. That intention will ultimately drive me to my goal.

I also turn to my community, which is what I aim to build here. Surrounding myself with other troublemakers (which I am fortunate to do in my day job as well as my side job!) propels me forward. It inspires me to action. And it teaches me how to pursue the things I care about the most.

How do you live and breathe your passions? And if you don’t, how do you balance your desire to change the world with your day-to-day?  Let me know in the comments.

Standard
General troublemaking, Tech

Are we living life, or watching it?

Lately I have become more acutely aware of how much time I, and others around me, spend experiencing the world around them through the lens of a phone camera, live tweets and Facebook statuses. Which has led me to wonder how much of the experiences we partake in are for ourselves, and how much is for the display to the world of how great our life is. I found myself thinking:

Are memories as enjoyable if they aren’t shared– physically or digitally– with others?

In an age of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and more (all platforms I use regularly!), I find myself and my peers seeking the perfect shot, the most beautiful representation of any moment. But are these moments really beautiful, or are we portraying them in a way that makes others seem that way? Are we partaking in activities just to put on display that we have done so? And when we find ourselves in a  truly memorable experience, are we really enjoying that sunrise, delicious meal, inspiring speaker, or adorable puppy or are we spending so much time trying to capture their beauty that we miss out on it altogether?

It’s a true concern of mine. Am I living my life, or watching it go by? Am I seeking to impress others to see what I see, or living my life so it’s something I am proud to display? And are those special moments becoming increasingly less special unless we can share them with others? While photography is a love and passion of mine, that doesn’t mean it has to be for all to see.

I have been toying with the idea going on an Instagram vacation. It’s laughable that that’s a challenging decision, to stop my publicly visible life for a month or two in order to really live it. Yet it’s hard in the digital age to not fall into the pit of social media, of displaying your every action– correction, every enjoyable, beautiful, impressive action– to all your closest friends and frienemies that can see your accounts.

As I type this, I decide I will partake in this experiment. Sorry folks, my Instagram is now on hiatus. See ya in 2015– who is with me?

Standard