My big takeaway from the #bif2017 annual innovation conference is this:
Look at what you really give a shit about and then go do something about it.
This is the best way to feel fully alive and leave the world a better place. Nothing changes when we sit on the sidelines. Or worse, it does change, but not how we want.
- More people starve from poverty. (@eastvanbrand)
- Crazy, narcissistic, self-serving billionaires get into office. (@alanwebber)
- Teachers check out. (@100kin10)
- People with cardiac issues don’t check back in with their doctors. (@MGHHeartHealth)
- Systems of inequities and injustices oppress and kill people, bodily and/or in spirit. (@taliqtillman, @carrolldesign, @tenygross)
Complacency and apathy create danger.
Accept the offer, know you are enough
Oh, but when we “accept the offer” of what life dishes out (@jazzcode),
recognize that we can’t go back to what was (@CajunAngela),
free the talented blue lobster people (@dscofield),
realize we are enough (@taliqtillman),
we can move mountains.
Especially when we get clear on what we fiercely care about.
The "give a shit" litmus test
When it comes to getting clear, the “give a shit” litmus test is a much better decision filter to me than the soft, passive words like purpose, passion, personal brand (gag).
Language is powerful. It can oppress, judge, bore, shake us awake and kick our ass.
A Fortune 50 client today asked me to help her articulate a clearer purpose for her organization. Emboldened by BIF2017, I asked what she and her colleagues really “give a shit about” beyond the polished brand narrative. Now we were talking, for fu*k’s sake.
As an aside, if you’re someone who is offended by swearwords or think it’s lazy to use them, I urge you to read “Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing” by Melissa Mohr.
People swear about what they care about. As Carmen Medina (@milouness) said, some people deserve to be called assholes. And sometimes those assholes can open doors for you if you're looking forward.
Mohr tells us that “swearwords are the most powerful words we have with which to express extreme emotion, whether negative or positive…we need irreproachably formal and unassailably decent speech, but we also need the dirty, the vulgar, the wonderful obscenities and oaths that can do for us what no other words can.
I give a shit about helping people be heard.
Helping people to challenge the status quo and advocate for positive change in their organizations? Well sure, that’s part of it, but that doesn’t mobilize anyone, including me.
In today’s world we have to stop the yak, yak, yakking and do something. No more waiting around for the proverbial “them” to save us.
Live your name as it's in the stars
In his story about courageous conversations Courtlandt Butts (@CC_AboutRace) talked about how he was ridiculed about his name in school. When he looked up the meaning of his name he learned that it is “messenger from the island.”
“You will live up to your name as it’s in the stars,” he said.
Today I looked up mine and found it means “Better Warrior.” No wonder I so love the Rebels at Work tribe.
Following Angela Blanchard’s wise counsel I will continue to help people do the right thing, not the rule thing.
And I will honor grief and gratitude, forgiving the past so that we may all go dancing today.
Who knows, maybe Philip Sheppard (@PhilipSheppard) will be playing his cello.