Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dare Yourself To Change The World

When I speak in front of groups about finding their passion, customer service, etc., I have a slide at the end that is entitled "additional thoughts" or tips on how to maintain your passion, build it, etc.  In the customer service presentation, I always focus on the last point on the slide...synergy.  I have an example there about the time one of the boards I am on tried to create a needs-based scholarship.

As the story goes, it was more than just a scholarship, this board needed a purpose/goal to unite them; we were without a solid rudder at the time and trying to find our way.  I always give the cliff notes version (shockingly) of the story because the whole story is not important to the point of the presentation...the point is the importance of finding synergy. 


See, it is critical...especially when you are passionate about something... to find "like minds" and build a type of coalition, a band of brothers, a sisterhood, that will push each other as they seek to find a way to accomplish a common goal.  Without this, you too often run the risk of falling in the trap (imaged below) of questioning whether you are out of your mind.  Been there.  Done that.

 Image: braintenance.blogspot.com

All of this is fresh on my mind because yesterday at our regular board meeting, this board accomplished what just three years ago was deemed (by the naysayers) undoable.  We raised not just the original two year/$25,000 goal, we have now raised $50,000 in three years towards needs based scholarships.  Let that sink in....three years, greatest recession since the "Great Depression" and a small group of people has rallied to raise $50,000 for needs based scholarships.  Wow.

I am very emotional.  Part of my emotion is pure pride in a group of people that really found their wings and purpose through this accomplishment.  Part of my pride is sinful as I struggle to not stick my tongue out at the naysayers that told us it couldn't be done (some whom were in the board room yesterday...others sharing their love later to me, and yes "love" is meant sarcastically).  BUT the bulk of my emotion is for the kids that will get a helping hand from now into perpetuity to create their own dream and get a college education.  See, we set the scholarship up as an annuity, so this gift will live on long past any of us.

I post this today because I want to inspire someone, anyone to....
  • set a goal (no matter how crazy)
  • find partners-in-crime (one or two at a time)
  • through your synergy together...build a coalition
  • push forward
  • continue to add to the coalition (aka Team)
  • accomplish the original goal
  • NOW that you have found your inner "Woo Hoo" ~ go out and...Change The World (yes, just like the song :) )

artfiredotcom.wordpress.com

***Footnote***

It would be so easy to have stopped this post, but I just can't stop myself....

I am as Pollyanna as they come (even with my dark moments...yes, even I have those), but I would be doing, anyone reading this post, a dis-service if I didn't at least discuss what is the pink elephant in the room...the Debbie Downers/Naysayers. 

Let me just tell you...I believe with all of my heart that every single person has the ability to change the world.  Period.  Now, that said, it is too easy to get caught up in the Woo Hoo or oversimplify the concept of really going out in the world and making a difference...however small or large.  Change, real change, is the hardest thing I have ever come across...whether you are talking about changing your heart, your life, your friends, your career, your destiny, your dream....change can be about quite literally anything in your life. 

You want to change something...anything...you have to be ready to work.  So, while I love the picture above...sitting and looking up at the beautiful blue sky dreaming of changing the world...while nice, is not going to "make it happen".  You have to MOVE.  Then, once you start moving...Watch Out...because everybody who couldn't find their own personal happy with two hands and a road map is going to be on your back trying to steal your mojo.  Yes, it happens.  Every.  Time.  THAT is why you have to create synergy to create change.  The Bible speaks of where two or more are gathered...Adam needed Eve....seeing a theme....you need more than just yourself to combat the anti-(whatever it is you are trying to do) people.

For this reason I am going to pull back the curtain a little and reveal more to this story from my perspective...because late last night after I got back to my office after the board meeting...the emotion of the day and the news quite literally overwhelming me...I typed an e-mail of gratitude and appreciation to the board for all of their hard work and all they had accomplished TOGETHER.  I then forwarded that e-mail to a few "personal cheerleaders" who had seen some (not all) of the trials and tribulations this board (and I) had gone through.  Below (italicized) is a snippet of my e-mail to those personal cheerleaders (I have not included the forwarded e-mail to the board that was attached)...

"Let me just say…there was a day when I thought of quitting this board…the road was too narrow and the challenges too large.  I couldn’t fight ‘da fight any longer.  The naysayers were making me crazy.  I knew in my gut and heart I was right….but it just didn’t seem worth it anymore….remember, I have been on this board since...

Today, I was like a proud mama who had worked five jobs to put her kid through school and here he was graduating from college.  I actually broke down a little at the podium. 

We can’t simply fight the fights we can win.   We must…WE MUST fight the fights worth fighting."

I needed to say this...I also needed to hear this.  I didn't do this alone; I wasn't alone in the fight.  I absolutely COULD NOT have done this alone.  It took one, then two, then four, then eight.....then an entire board to make this happen.  That is how real change happens....when the power of one becomes the power of many. 

I struggle to share this much, but I get a lot of people who look up to my "passion" especially after all of the presentations I have done....I have a responsibility to be crystal clear that while I wouldn't change my passion and passionate nature for the world, it is not a cake walk.  Not.  At.  All. 

I hope that anyone reading this will find and hold onto their passion with both hands.  I hope you will find synergy, build your own coalition and change the world.  I hope that when you have setbacks or naysayers, and you will, that you will trust in those things that you know to be true and focus on the end game....accomplishing the goal you have set for yourself.  I hope for you a personal cheerleader that will encourage you and believe in you more than you believe in yourself, and I hope you thank them...Every.  Day.  I hope for you a life of passion, love, purpose, and setting the world on fire with all three.

My favorite quote....

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "What A Ride!""

I pray every day that when I get to heaven, the Lord says, "Job well done....now get inside and clean up." :)  (I am hoping I can organize something for him. ;))

Be glad today...you are different, you are unique, you have your own passions...Be glad that you have the opportunity to change the world.  Now what are you going to do with that opportunity?

Whatever it is....I know you will be glad you did. :)

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

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