Wednesday, November 28, 2018

I made this

The best questions from This Is Marketing by Seth Godin...
"Who's it for?" 
"What change do I seek to make?" 
"The question to just about every question about work is really the question, "Who can you help?" 

Marketing isn't advertising. Marketing is the act of making change happen. Effective marketing now relies on empathy and service.

The idea of "I made this" is a very different statement than, "What do you want?"

"Here, I made this" is an offering. It's easier to make products and services for the customers you seek to serve. Adopt a posture of service; set out to be of service.

This book can help you: spread your ideas, make the impact you seek, and improve your culture.

Monday, November 26, 2018

“When they go low, we go high.”

I’d been lucky to have parents, teachers, and mentors who’d fed me with a consistent, simple message: 
You matter.
As an adult, I wanted to pass those words to a new generation.

I picked up three copies of BECOMING by Michelle Obama so my mom, sister, and I could read it together.

My favorite part of the book was Becoming More.
Warning: It's hard to finish this book without shedding tears.

This is a fantastic book ... it's more than politics... it's about being a woman, being a better person, marriage, motherhood, and using your voice.

"For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it more as a forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to continuously reach toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end. I became a mother, but I still have a lot to learn from and give to my children. I became a wife, but I continue to adapt to and be humbled by what it means to truly love and make a life with another person. I have become, by certain measures, a person of power, and yet there are still moments when I feel insecure or unheard.  
It’s all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing up to be done."

I highly recommend this book as a holiday gift for everyone you know. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

a joy story

I was at a workshop on conflict resolution and the facilitator showed us this adorable video:

After watching, we discussed the difference between defending positions and recognizing needs. It has stayed with me ... and I think it can help mobilize people to see things differently.

For more tools in dealing with conflict resolution, check out this article from the University of Texas at Austin. I especially liked “What is the underlying reason or the ‘why’ behind what I want?” Refer to Focus on Interests (Needs), Not Positions (Wants) for more information. And Open Ended Questions...

Examples of open-ended questions:
  • What’s your basic concern about …?
  • What do you think about …?
  • How could we fix …?
  • What would happen if …?
  • How else could you do …?
  • What could you tell me about …?
  • Then what?
  • Could you help me understand …?
  • What do you think you will lose if you …?
  • What have you tried before?
  • What do you want to do next?
  • How can I be of help?

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Blessed are the damn-givers

On this post-midterm Wednesday, I am reading HOPE And Other Superpowers: A Life-Affirming, Love-Defending, Butt-Kicking, World-Saving Manifesto by John Pavlovitz.

Do you know anyone who could use some HOPE today?
If you do, please get this book for them.

"I wrote this book to help compassionate, kind, generous people keep going." - John Pavlovitz

Parts from the Introduction that had me hooked:

We need to rediscover the optimism of our youth, to remember when the desire to change the world felt reasonable and not shamefully naive, when doing something heroic seemed possible and didn't merit ridicule or a rolling of the eyes. In times when people seem increasingly immune to others' pain, we need to unapologetically wield hearts still willing to bleed, and then affix them to our sleeves and step into the daylight looking for gaps in the world that we alone can fill.

And this heroic existence we're called to is about doing the small and simple things that most people lose sight of, the things that may not make the news or trend on social media, but that generate beautiful ripples nonetheless. It's about chipping away at the image of the life we think we're supposed to have and uncovering the life that we deserve to live, the kind the planet is made better by. It's about understanding that we have far more power at our disposal than we're aware of. There is a transcendent way of living that can begin to alter the planet in real time - right now - and it's fully accessible to each of us regardless of what we do, where we live, or how much influence we think we have. That's the amazing truth at work here: the world has always been transformed by fully ordinary people whose willingness to show up, to brave damage, and to risk failure yielded extraordinary results.

In 1871, while preaching a sermon opposing slavery in America, Unitarian minister Theodore Parker said, "The arc of the universe bends toward justice." His words were echoed almost a century later by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as solace for those looking around at the unbridled bigotry of the day and feeling like the decent people were losing. Embedded in this phrase is the promise that over time, in ways that we can't always perceive from where we're standing at a given moment, humanity does evolve toward goodness.

From the first chapter, the author draws on his love of comic books and superheroes. The ordinary superpowers that he promotes are compassion, sacrifice, courage, humor, humility, honesty, kindness, creativity, persistence, wonder, and gratitude. 

Every hero is pulled into significance differently. Batman rises from the ashes of his parents' murder to defend a crime-riddled Gotham. Wonder Woman feels compelled to come to the aid of outnumbered Allied soldiers facing the Third Reich, after being cared for by one of them. Black Panther fully claims his birthright as king after realizing his nation's former missteps. Spider-Man is transformed after recognizing the great responsibility accompanying his great power. Black Widow is moved to make amends  for her deadly assassin's past. They all become undeniably heroic, yet in ways and circumstances  that look nothing alike and with completely unique motivations. In the same way, you and I will each receive a one of a kind, time-sensitive invitation to step into a better version of ourselves: a personal tragedy, a national crisis, a cause that moves us, or a desire to use a gift for the good of others. 

Be sure to check out John's blog Stuff That Needs To Be Said. Especially his post today entitled To Exhausted and Young Voters

Keep doing the work that matters!
Don't you dare stop now :)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

They can never undo what they have done, and what they have done will never be forgotten.

On Saturday, October 27th a gunman, who expressed a hatred of Jews, entered a Pittsburgh synagogue killing 11 people and wounding six.

The shooter was angry because he thought Jewish communities were funding a caravan of terrorists trying to infiltrate the United States.

From this article in the Atlantic... Trump's Caravan Hysteria Led To This
The apparent spark for the worst anti-Semitic massacre in American history was a racist hoax inflamed by a U.S. president seeking to help his party win a midterm election. There is no political gesture, no public statement, and no alteration in rhetoric or behavior that will change this fact. The shooter might have found a different reason to act on a different day. But he chose to act on Saturday, and he apparently chose to act in response to a political fiction that the president himself chose to spread, and that his followers chose to amplify. 
As for those who aided the president in his propaganda campaign, who enabled him to prey on racist fears to fabricate a national emergency, those who said to themselves, “This is the play”? Every single one of them bears some responsibility for what followed. Their condemnations of anti-Semitism are meaningless. Their thoughts and prayers are worthless. Their condolences are irrelevant. They can never undo what they have done, and what they have done will never be forgotten.  

From the Open Culture post that accompanies this video...

In the short New York Times opinion video above, Stanley summarizes his “formula for fascism”—a “surprisingly simple” pattern now repeating in Europe, South America, India, Myanmar, Turkey, the Philippines, and “right here in the United States.”

And as a reminder that we've been here before:
In 1939, some 20,000 Americans attended a Nazi rally in Madison Square Garden, New York. In the video clip, Fritz Kuhn, leader of the German-American Bund (the US wing of the Nazi party), attacks the media and minorities... Link to Video

From the Politico article, When Nazis Filled Madison Square Garden:
Those who have studied the Bund’s rise and fall are alarmed at the historical parallels. “When a large group of young men march through the streets of Charlottesville chanting, ‘Jews will not replace us,’ it’s only steps removed from chanting ‘death to the Jews’ in New York or anywhere else in the 1930s,” says David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee. “When those young men chant ‘blood and soil,’ it conveys the same meaning as those decades before who chanted ‘blut and boden,’ referring to the Nazi glorification of and link between race and land.” 
“I don’t see much of a difference, quite frankly, between the Bund and these groups, in their public presence,” says Arnie Bernstein, the author of Swastika Nation, a history of the German American Bund. “The Bund had its storefronts in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles—today’s groups are also hanging out in the public space, but in this case, they’re on the internet and anyone can access their ‘storefronts,’ or websites, and their philosophy, if you can call it that, is essentially the same.”

And today Madeleine Albright tweeted:

Which gave me the idea...

Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, Boise

Friday, October 5, 2018


Glennon Doyle has started RAGE TO CHANGE: #BlackFridays. Be sure to read her blog post and the Instagram post that preceded it.

It is a wonderful idea to turn RAGE into something positive and actionable.

After reading How To Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal M Fleming, that question for fighting any kind of oppression "What do I do now?" was answered with:
"The answer is going to vary for each individual, depending on your personality and background, interests, talents, and inclinations. So, it’s your job to figure out how you can best leverage your knowledge and skills to help humanity."

My action today... I started with some VOTE pins and Black paper hearts:

... and used my talents, interests, and inclinations to make:

Join #BlackFridays HERE.
View a #BlackFridays Action Toolkit HERE.
Host an event HERE.

Also, listen to today's Call Your Girlfriend podcast entitled Women's Anger with Rebecca Traister. Rebecca Traister's new book, Good And Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger is on sale now. 

The final tally from today's cloture vote on Bret Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination was 51-49. The final vote may come as early as Saturday. For smart thoughts and links on Kavanaugh, turn to Rebecca Traister, Irin Carmon, Jenée Desmond Harris, Laura McGann, Brittany Packnett

On Fridays we wear black!
Happy #BlackFridays

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

skills to help humanity

I am reading How To Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal M. Fleming. I heard Dr. Fleming (@alwaystheself) interviewed and thought that this sounded like a great book on getting to the heart of racism in America. How To Be Less Stupid About Race definitely delivers on its title by inspiring critical thinking and in-depth reflection on past, present, and future effects of systemic racism and white supremacy.

Read a portion of the introduction HERE.

The book begins with a guide to Critical Race Theory, then applies that theory to today. It's a hard look at systemic racism in our institutions... especially: education, politics, media, and pop culture (I'm talking to you, ye).

By chapter seven, Becoming Racially Literate, Dr. Fleming writes:
If you've made it this far in the book, then you've faced a lot of uncomfortable truths, and I want to thank you for taking this journey with me. I know from personal experience that studying oppression and confronting racial stupidity can be terribly demoralizing.
I appreciated the recognition that this is hard, but we can do hard things. The “What exactly should I do now?” question in chapter seven acknowledges that there is no one answer: 
The answer is going to vary for each individual, depending on your personality and background, interests, talents, and inclinations. So, it’s your job to figure out how you can best leverage your knowledge and skills to help humanity.

Read this book if you are interested in preventing racism and fighting oppression.

Listen to Dr. Crystal M. Fleming discuss her book...

Sunday, September 30, 2018

and I'm not alone in telling them

I was listening to a PRI radio show, To The Best Of Our Knowledge in the car. The episode was called When Sin Bears Fruit. It was about a famous lynching in Marion, Indiana in the summer of 1930. And the story of the song, “Strange Fruit,” which was inspired by that lynching. And, finally, a new novel, which begins on that terrible day in Marion in 1930. It’s called The Evening Road by Laird Hunt. 

Listening to this show and hearing Laird Hunt read from his book, was so moving I had to pull over and write down the title, The Evening Road, so I would remember to read it.

The final part that Laird Hunt reads aloud:

But I kept hearing it in my head. Keep hearing it. Down the years and always banging at my door. And when it comes, when I'm thinking back, the devil-hot, blister-bright afternoon sky I am driving through turns to black and the air grows scorching ever hotter and the cornsilks' heads glow red with the heat of it and they cackle and roar and move in their glowing thousands for the jail. The earth starts to shake when they go. The Director commences to rise up into the air and slam down. Up and slam down and I can barely get the door open but I leave the Director and go with them. I am in the crowd and above it and the sheriff steps aside and they take their sledgehammers to the walls and beat their way in. Then they are pouring across the tile floors and past the iron doors and through the hallways of the big jail and there I go pouring with them and as we pour there are shouts about God and about country and about honor and about truth and about death and death and death and we pour up the stairs and find where they are holding the boys. I'm not dreaming, it's something I'm seeing, I'm there and I tell them to stop and I'm not alone in telling them. There are hundreds of us, thousands, millions even, and the earth joins us and the sky and the moon and the stars and we say stop but they do not stop. The first boy is beat to death right there, then dragged around, then hung from the bars on the cell window. Then one by one they take the others. They drag them dead and about-to-be dead through the night and the heat and the roaring crowd and the universe twitching to the killing trees.

The part that made me pull over: "...I'm there and I tell them to stop and I'm not alone in telling them. There are hundreds of us, thousands, millions even, and the earth joins us and the sky and the moon and the stars and we say stop but they do not stop." And I keep thinking about that part. I read The Evening Road back in August and it comes back to me again and again: at the end of the movie, The BlacKkKlansman, during Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, again and again.

"...I'm there and I tell them to stop and I'm not alone in telling them. There are hundreds of us, thousands, millions even, and the earth joins us and the sky and the moon and the stars and we say stop but they do not stop." 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

justice and rebellion

I don't know much about tennis. I have no idea what constitutes coaching during a match and what doesn't. But, this year I watched the U.S. Open to see Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka play tennis in what I had heard would be an amazing game.

However, watching the match and the aftermath left me with that prickly feeling I get when I see women treated unjustly. 

It made me start thinking about anger and our bias toward what is an acceptable form of anger from women. Anger is both an understandable and justifiable emotion. When you feel as though you are being treated unjustly, it is natural to become angry. But when the story becomes about your anger rather than the injustice... which happens quite often to women... something has gone wrong. Women should be able to deal with their anger by being angry.

So these were the thoughts going through my head the week after the U.S. Open. (and knowing that it was not just thoughts about the U.S. Open, but thoughts about generations of injustice and bias against women ... especially women of color)

The week following the U.S. Open, with my "social justice warrior" senses on high alert, my daughter came home from high school visibly upset about an interaction with a male teacher. He had called her opinions "sassy". The same opinions expressed by a male student. Yet my daughter was asked to apologize to the teacher for her anger. The interaction felt sexist and unjust. "Oh, hell no!" was my initial reaction. But, my daughter told me not to worry, "I've got this. I was frustrated," she said, "but arguing with him will do no good."

I think the thing that has bothered me the most, was my daughter had been advocating for student choice in reading. She had told the teacher that she didn't like the book and that she believed student choice creates life-long readers and thinkers. The book they were required to read was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The book was a life changing, favorite book of the teacher. But the idea of a Personal Legend or an ideal destiny did not resonate with my teenage daughter. 

I get it. It's like telling teenagers that Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is revolutionary. It was ... in the 1950s. But few students today are shocked by a teenager dropping out of school, cursing, and roaming the streets. 

I don't really know where I'm going with this, but I know it has something to do with social justice, our ability to express our opinions without bias, and student voice. It's small steps in the right direction ... to set your jaw squarely into a strong wind, and keep moving forward. And, at the same time, I realize that my daughter and I sit in a place of privilege when our injustice is being called "sassy" and being forced to apologize to the man in charge. I get it.

And yet...

And yet, I encourage women and students everywhere to continue to put voice to your truth. 

I'll leave you with Sydney Chaffee's TEDx talk that I like to call "welcoming rebellion" ...

"... sometimes we are the ones our students rebel against. Sometimes they are going to point out ways in which systems that we have created or in which we are complicit contribute to inequity. It is going to be uncomfortable and it's going to be painful as they push us to question our own assumptions and beliefs. But what if we change the way we think about rebellion in our kids? When our kids rebel; when they thoughtfully push back against our ideas or the way that we do things...  what if we chose to see that as a sign that we are doing something right?"