26 December 2017

A bit of a rant - be generous in July.

We are just coming through a Christmas where I personally got to observe the best in people. It's been tough on the family to see our parents transition - mother into a long term care facility and our grief stricken father transition into losing the one woman he has slept beside for 55+ years. It has been heartwarming to see our family pull together to provide the care that we could provide. We are in the season of change and we've got good people showing up to help us through it.

December saw a lot of people come together in a show of support and generous giving of time and resources to folks who are hit hard by the holiday season.  Whether it was an organization asking for donations or individuals trying to assist a woman who found herself in a precarious living situation - it got me thinking that it takes a village but we need the level of awareness in July as much as we need it in Decembers.

We know that these donations are band aid solutions on larger societal problems that require policy changes. It's important that we remember that we can pull together for our brothers and sisters all year long.

One of the core competencies of entrepreneurship is the ability to vision. It's not the only competency but if we use the analogy of baking a cake, not being able to vision would be equivalent to not having a bowl to mix the ingredients in.  But sometimes when our worlds are turned upside down, survival is the number one consideration. I think we can all agree that some of the folks we have served in December have less than desirable lives. It is tough to look at a better future when you don't have enough food on the table or can't afford to purchase tampons.

I teach people to vision - take time to create a compelling narrative around the life they want to create as entrepreneurs. What if we came together as a community and visioned together. I don't mean that we come together and gripe about what some politician isn't doing. I mean coming together to create a vision of what we want our society to look like. What if we then learned as a group to watch our language and take action when we could. What if we helped people who were struggling to vision by visioning for them - holding them up until they gain a little traction.

Let's collectively come together and learn to vision for a better future.  Let's not just hope that we can purchase a sailboat this year or maintain that lakefront property. Let's speak the truth about people and their starting position. Let's talk about the benefit of privilege and put ego in its place.

Sometimes by the time the disadvantaged get to where they could launch, they're so exhausted from surviving poverty that they take a break. A break that they can't get up from. It's called frustration and you'd have to walk a mile in those shoes to really get it. 

I used to feel sorry for myself - burdened because of vision loss and forced to give up a home and go through bankruptcy but I realise now that I was rich in other ways.  I had friends to lean on and family members who could pick up the slack. I had the ability to learn and communicate. I could write and articulate a letter that opened doors.

Can you imagine what it feels like to not be able to advocate for yourself but at the same time not know people who can advocate on your behalf? Try doing that on zero budget. Don't get me started on the impact of disability on a person without the means to support the disability.

In 2018, let's open our eyes and our hearts and show up for our brothers and sisters in need all year long. Nothing to give says the cash strapped entrepreneur? Try mentoring someone to get to the place that you have arrived at.

Don't say you have nothing to give - it could be that you lend your voice. You freely offer a piece of advice. You open a door for someone (I mean a door to resources that others are struggling to open).  Be as generous in July as you are in December.

Reach out to someone that you see struggling. If you have figured out how to vision - teach another person. It is the fundamental core competency of entrepreneurship - the ability to dream and then take appropriate action.

Drive a bit of business in the direction of someone who is struggling. Open up your networks to people. Offer to be a leaning post to a person in need by lending an ear.

I'm proud of what happens in December - of the generous folks all around me, but in 2018, let's see if we can keep the momentum going.

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