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 :)
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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.
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.
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."