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?

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General troublemaking, Healthy Living, Social Innovation

Sorry I’m Not Sorry

Lately I feel that I’m often on the defensive about my lifestyle choices. I am seen as extreme for making a conscious choice to eat real, clean foods that have no preservatives/additives, choosing to consume socially responsible goods, and being conscious about how I treat myself and the world.

My friends, family, colleagues think I am judging them for eating oreos (yum) and shopping at Forever 21. Well, friends, I am not judging you. I am not a judge-y person. Rather, I am judging the world we live in. I don’t blame people for eating foods packed with chemicals or buying clothes that are in no way a benefit to the world because that’s the norm, the status quo. It is really, really hard to avoid those things (and I spend a lot of time figuring out how to do that– more coming soon!). But it shouldn’t be that way. I will not accept that the world and the country I live in is flawed and nearly forcing us to consume products that aren’t acceptable, I will make trouble until I feel I am living in a world that I want to leave for my kids and grandkids and grand-grand-grand(x10) kids.

So I wanted to say:

Sorry I’m not sorry.

I am not going to apologize for being my “extreme” self. I’m not apologizing for thinking that consuming junk and things that are bad for my body and bad for the world is ridiculous or extreme. And I’m not sorry for pointing it out to you so you can make conscious decisions; not to make you feel bad, but to point out that we DON’T have to stand for the crap that is in the supermarket or the department store. And we won’t make change until enough people aren’t sorry either.

Even writing this, I sound extreme. I see it, I am reading it. But I don’t understand why it has to be that way. Why are we considered extreme if we just want basic, normal, sustainable things that won’t destroy our bodies or the planet? What a radical idea!

I keep thinking about this quote from Steve Jobs that we use in our visioning seminar at PresenTense. He says:

When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

This quote has, in fact, changed my viewpoint on the world. It’s so true. The things that frustrate me are completely man-made, and not any more real than anything else, than my opinions or the things I want to make or consume. Right? So if man had the right to add chemicals to my food, to employ kids in sweatshops to make my clothes, to damage the environment by the amount of pollution and waste we produce, and more, I have the right to disagree with that. So I am. Sue me.

Sorry I am not sorry for caring. And I am not sorry for causing trouble on issues I care about. And you shouldn’t be either.

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PresenTense NYC Kickoff Yesterday!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of kicking off the fellowship I run, PresenTense NYC, with a new cohort of 12 passionate social entrepreneurs. I am one lucky gal– who else gets excited to check work email? Can’t wait to see where this journey takes them.

Social Innovation

PresenTense NYC Kickoff On Sunday!

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General troublemaking

Let’s Cause Necessary Trouble

When my younger sister graduated from Union College in June, I had the privilege of hearing civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis convey his message to the graduating class about taking action, just as he so bravely did 50 years prior.

He urged them:

“You must leave here and get in trouble. You must get in good trouble, necessary trouble. You must help change America, you must help change the world. With your degree, you are prepared to go out there and speak up and speak out.”

Sitting in the rain, I promptly pulled out my iPhone and registered the domain necessarytrouble.com. What better way to describe the work I was interested in?

I loved Rep. Lewis’ message to the students, and it’s a mantra I try to live by. I try to inspire good, necessary trouble to help people understand their obligations to themselves, their communities, and the planet.

The truth is, I have always been a troublemaker. Constantly reminded by my wonderful parents (hi mom & dad!) that I didn’t outgrow the terrible twos until middle school, I have always seen the world out through a “heck no to the status quo” type of way. I think life is worth living in a way that makes sense to you and not the way that is predefined by anyone else. If you are unhappy with something, change it. If something isn’t working for you, come up with a solution. Be a troublemaker. It pays off.

So I am starting a blog about it. This may be a “typical” blog about a “typical” 20-something living in New York City, trying to build a career, find the love of her life, living out of a shoebox apartment, eat healthy, travel the world, take photographs, and find awesome people in a city full of so many it’s hard to know where to start. But it’s my story, and when I tell it, I hope it won’t be so typical. It’s just me, who I am, and what I believe.

I may write about my work with people who are starting businesses to change their communities and the world, I may write about healthy eating and living. I may write about social media, photography, or my love of Borat. I may write about the fabulous book club I am a part of, or the struggles of finding love in an overworked, overcommitted, and over saturated city. I may rant about consumerism and our role in creating a more sustainable planet. Or how diet soda is bad, and soy is worse, and how you should always make sure your instagram and twitter handles match for easy cross posting. I love chatting about entrepreneurship and the startup scene, the best apps that belong on your iPhone, and the best brunches you can find.  And I may feature friends and colleagues who you shouldn’t miss out on.

Only time will tell where this goes.

So these are my words for what they’re worth. Let’s make some trouble– necessary trouble.

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