Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

So Week Three has come to an end and another set of missions awaits our collective focus and attention. It's certainly been a rollercoaster of emotions so far. I’ve been excited, inspired, appalled, amazed, frustrated, humbled, fired-up and de-motivated, to name just a few. I guess the main reason I’m writing this post is to cover the negative ones; frustration and de-motivation. I almost quit this week because of them.

Why? Well there’s a wh*** bunch of reasons, all tangled up, but what it fundamentally came down to was that I had written a couple of posts which had gone virtually un-noticed. Sounds silly, but I had put a lot into them. I refused to send a group mail promoting them (I’ve only ever done this once, to highlight another blog deserving urgent attention) – and those group mailings are starting to feel like spam. It felt like the honeymoon was over. I’d been here from the start and had even made it onto the fabled Leader board for a while, but the sheer volume of new posts and new people was drowning out my ‘voice’. Anyway, once I got over myself a little, I started thinking about all those other posts and people, about you, reading this now, and wondered how many others there were, either here for a while or just joined, who had gone un-noticed. There are a small number of people who have been sifting back through the post reel, gently encouraging others with their comments and trying to highlight strong posts – you know who you are :) I had been doing some of the same, but I resolved to do more of it. A funny thing happened then – the people I had left notes of encouragement for started reading those posts of mine that were gathering dust, and they started leaving me comments and encouragement too. The circle was complete and my ‘mojo’ was back :).

Stepping back from things a little, I think it’s all too easy to lose sight of what we are doing here and what difference we are already making. I’ve seen a few posts questioning the ultimate value or impact of EVOKE, that there are already loads of initiatives going on in the world that we could join or assist, rather than trying to start something from scratch. These are good points, and should be given fair consideration, but to me they are ultimately de-motivating and un-inspiring. I took part in an open ventures challenge last year, creating ideas and developing ventures for Cancer Research UK. The target of each venture was to make £10M for CRUK. Ten million quid. There was a school girl who made it through to the final with an idea of selling roses to other school kids. She and her team put together a venture submission, complete with a proper business plan, and not unlike the EVOKATIONS that we are building towards. She won (and so did four other ventures). The point I’m trying to make is that even from small beginnings, it’s totally possible to build up to something remarkable that can have a significant impact. Even if we don’t ultimately achieve this with EVOKE (and I think we will), we have already made a difference. We have been planting, sowing and growing. We have been investigating and learning new things, sharing it with the network for the greater good. Most importantly, we have inspired people, one another, from all walks of life and all around the globe.

So, when things get bad, frustrating and de-motivating, don’t be too surprised. Just try and keep things in perspective, help someone else, and above all, keep going :)

Views: 67

Comment by Starling on March 25, 2010 at 8:28pm
Nice one Alex. Yeah when I find people whose thoughts I appreciate I am doing my best to go back through their blog roll and read all the posts. Then I find other folks who have commented - gives another set of links to find people besides the Evidence page and the Recent Activity sidebar. :)
Comment by Per-Erik Daniel Eriksson on March 25, 2010 at 9:09pm
Thanks for sending me a part of your newly found inspiration. I'm suddenly looking forward to tackling this week's mission. Water security is something I learned not to take for granted last weekend. I've mentioned it a little in my post already, and there will be more about it.
Comment by Lori Hutcherson on March 26, 2010 at 6:44am
Alex, this was great and very empathetic and encouraging. :) Thank you. I believe that you are a gift...you...in your uniqueness, and that you have the skill of encouragement. Without that skill being represented by someone faithful to use it....many ventures, of all types, would fail. So thank you again...for being faithful to use the skills that are natural to you, and imparting strength and steadfastness.
Comment by Daniel LaLiberte on March 26, 2010 at 6:49am
Lots more needs to be done to link people together, and one way is by linking related content. I found this post by a link from another one that I was reading. I have done the same, posting comments in related blogs referencing my own. It might be another form of spam, if the linking is inappropriate, so wary not to abuse it.

I empathize also with the sentiment of getting burned out after putting so much effort into your work. If you feel some of that yourself, think how all the rest of the thousands of people felt. I can only recommend, do what you love to do without any additional motivation required, and your rewards will come. Just having thought through some angle on the difficult problems we are addressing will open you to more possibilities, and most importantly, lead to connections with the related thoughts of others.
Comment by Alex Stovell on March 26, 2010 at 7:04am
Daniel, I totally agree and have been doing some of that myself in comments and messages - and I don't regard this as spam the way it's currently being used - links are vital. Another useful thing which I use is to click the 'Follow' button at the end of an individual's blog summary page (not the one at the end of a specific blog post) - that way I keep up with posts from people who have interested or inspired me without needing to search (and they don't need to mail me for me to notice!)
Comment by Hans-Stefan Ducharme on March 26, 2010 at 7:22am
things with me are always just as high as they are low.
i strive for a balance between my paranoia and relaxation.
waiting for the time when all thoughts do not matter so much more,
they are as original and numerous as a snowflake.
Comment by Starling on March 26, 2010 at 8:28am
Ah thanks for the tip about how to follow people's blogs Alex, I had missed that and have been wondering about it.
Comment by Sarah Shaw Tatoun on March 26, 2010 at 9:17am
Thanks, Alex, I know those feelings well! I have a great group of friends I met at a week-long seminar we attended a few years ago. After the seminar we began to have conference calls every few weeks to keep in touch. At the start there were about 12 people on the call. We tried to take turns, but even at its best that left only 10 or 15 minutes for each person to talk-- and some people would have a particular problem- or just be attention hogs. It was easy to get the feeling that no one was really listening. Whenever I got that, "Nobody's noticing me- no one really cares," feeling I tried to turn it inside out- thinking about who else on the call hadn't really had much of a turn to talk and might also be feeling left out. Then I would focus my attention on them and intervene, asking them what was going on with them and making sure they got a chance to join in. It was always an effort at first, but pretty soon I was genuinely caught up in someone else's story and had forgotten all about keeping track of the attention I received.

It's like Eleanor Roosevelt said about shyness and stage-fright- the way to get rid of them is to turn your attention to other people. We now have a core group of about 6 on the regular conference calls which we still hold. They are a wonderful group and I can't imagine my life without them. Interestingly enough some of the people who required the most attention from the group were the very ones who were most dissatisfied and dropped out. As Benjamin Franklin said, "A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle."
Comment by Roswenthe Aluveaux on March 26, 2010 at 4:55pm
Excellent post, and I totally agree. I also agree with Daniel that there needs to be more ways to link people together. I wish they would use the group function of the ning so people could create some sort of encouragement groups or coalitions. It would be great for us to help one another in a more direct way.
Comment by Riko Kamachi on March 26, 2010 at 5:04pm
Glad I'm not the only one who thinks like this, I just posted on the same subject! o.O

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