This morning I read a blog post by Seth Godin. He's one of my favourite bloggers, mainly because he's brief and uses ideas from one area and applies them to others.
Here's what it said (I've taken the beginning, middle and end — you can read the whole post here).
If your writing feels like nothing but easily defensible aphorisms, as if you're saying things that are obvious... Consider the alternative. Say the opposite.... And then tell us why. We'd love to know how you're going to wriggle out of that. And along the way, if your story is a good one, we might even give it a try.
Not often when one person says, "It's ok, you're not the only one(s)."
Paul Hawken's speech at the Bioneers conference on the world's largest movement, which is comprised of hundreds of thousands of grassroots organizations that address social and environmental justice. This speech stemmed from Hawken's book, "Blessed Unrest," which laid the groundwork for WiserEarth (Wiser.org). Wiser.org empowers and connects like-minded individuals and organizations around the World - Together we are striving to create change through our passion for sustainability and social justice.
I haven't felt compelled to blog for a while so I thought I might try a new blogging format for a while and look back on the week in reflection and see what themes and insights emerge. I immediately feel slightly daunted by the task as I take a look at my calendar to jog my memory of the highlights.
The most significant change of the week is that, last Saturday, I became the official guardian of a long-time friend's 14-year old daughter. This is quite an adjustment in both my default living arrangement and "parental" status. I have lived alone for as many years as I can remember and, apart from a few dogs and cats, have never been responsible for any other being but me.
The circumstances are that my friend's daughter, whom I've known since she was born in her parents' living room on Waiheke Island, chose last year to leave Ohakune, where her family has lived for about seven years, in order to attend Western Springs College, which is five minutes walk from where I live. She boarded with others of her Mum's friends last year and visited me each Tuesday after school. This year her boarding situation changed, due to the friends' living arrangements changing, so it was a bit of a no-brainer for her to come and live with me.
NZ First MP Richard Prosser's tirade against Muslims yesterday is yet another sad indictment on the quality of politics and the character of all politicians in this country. If I was an MP I'd feel deeply embarrassed about a colleague once again representing me in that way.
And it's a bit rich hearing John Key admonish him after his recent 'gay red shirt' episode.
I think it's about time our parliamentary representatives had a long hard look at themselves and grew up. I'm sick of the arrogant, bully-boy-and-girl antics that go on, both in- and outside the chamber.
Many years ago I had an inkling that I didn't fit in. Nonetheless, for years after, I kept trying. The disabled community, the Youthline community, the gay community, even the comedian scene (it's not really a community) — in each I tried to find a common thread, a sense of belonging or, as Seth Godin might say, my tribe.
Alas, each time I threw myself with open arms into these groups — whom I thought would surely embrace me and with whom, in return, I would live happily ever after — I emerged feeling disappointed, rejected, irritated or just reluctantly affirmed: I didn't fit in.
Brené Brown has made an important distinction – in her work on shame, vulnerability and wholeheartedness –between fitting in and belonging. Fitting in, she says, is not belonging. Fitting in is changing yourself to be like the people with whom you want to feel a sense of belonging. True belonging, by contrast, is being accepted for who you are, fully and without exception, by that group of people.
At Papatoetoe High School they have a diverse range of wonderful student leaders each with their own unique approach. To help challenge assumptions students have around leadership, support the growth of new leaders, and provide valuable evidence for the students’ 3.8 Achievement Standard, Physical Education Teacher Alexandra asked the 2012 Leadership NZ Alumni to take a couple of minutes to respond to the following questions on leadership.
Here are my answers:
Yes definitely. A leader is someone who has a strong idea about how the future could be, an understanding of how that change could be made, an ability to communicate the vision and to inspire others to go along for the journey. A manager is someone who ensures people, processes and systems work in order to make sure the journey is as smooth as possible and the end point is reached or, if it can't be, to inform the leader of why not. In most effective enterprises, there is a strong relationship and feedback loop between those in leadership and management. I think it's important to note as well that leadership and management are roles people play. For example, in different parts of my work I may swap between leadership and management roles, depending on the circumstances.
In my last blog post I critiqued capitalism, which I redefined. I alluded to an alternative. Here it is.
Imagine for a moment, if you will, a value-based community, which is created around the members’ desire to move from a capitalist economy to a value-based economy. The community has one key commonality: the willingness to believe we don't need money to live well. This community understands that there are certain types of intrinsic value that cannot be measured in monetary terms.
It offers an opportunity for all members to receive equal resource in exchange for an equitable expression of value. In this respect, the people and things often forgotten, neglected and left unattended in today’s world – because they cost too much – are remembered, considered important and attended to, simply because they can be.
It's not often in life – well, let me speak for myself: my life – that I feel a real sense of the many strands of my chequered career coming together into something coherent, purposeful and truly unique.
Speaking at TEDxAuckland on Saturday was one such moment.
Being able, in 18 minutes, to combine my deep interest in people, society, nature, diversity, creativity, social change, humour and entertainment, was a great privilege. Suddenly, my roles of counsellor, social worker, activist, consultant, comedian, creative entrepreneur, social entrepreneur and leader – a veritable potpourri, mashup, sumetimes even car crash of seemingly disconnected skills and attributes – just seemed to collide and assemble themselves into something completely coherent, that I can't really describe.
Linkin Park's beautiful song The Messenger reminded me today that, when we're fighting for change, we must remember love — it keeps us kind.