This is Why I am Writing

I believe you have a hunch about your most important project. The one that if it really succeeds could really make a difference. It could contribute to something extraordinary.

I’m writing because I want to invite you into a caring community that has also glimpsed this part of themselves and knows they need more support and encouragement to work on this most important project.

As an organizer, I see my work as bringing people together, helping to create and hold the space where we can listen and help each other see what’s really holding us back.

In this blog, I hope to share some of what I feel might be my most important work — reflections on co-op economics, heterodox economics, better ways of thinking about our retirement and college investing and personal finance…Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 11.17.34 AM

But also to share other ideas and reflections on what I’m trying to do with a young small organization that is desperately trying to find where it can have the most powerful impact — on the economy, in our schools, in our religious communities, in how we collaborate.

The journey has been way more emotional and rigorous than I expected. The stakes keep feeling higher and the fear and anxiety grow. But our potential to do good in a deep and meaningful way is growing as well. My missteps and shortcomings as a manager — something I once thought I’d be great at and really enjoy — are also giving me lots to reflect on. I believe that in sharing all this with you, you might have some advice and suggestions for me.

My hope is that by writing an invitation to you every month (and perhaps a couple other quick notes in between) will feel compelling to you — so much so that you’ll write back and engage.

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Once I hear from enough of you that you’d like to take a leap with me, I’d like to launch an intensive workshop. This would be a curated cohort that will combine the best of what I’ve been learning from a truly transformational leadership workshop I went on in early 2018, mastermind groups I’ve been a part of over the past year, a couple coaches and colleagues who have been shaping me, and my desire — my desperate desire — to see more of you deeply committed and ruthlessly pursuing what you feel might have the biggest chance at really making a very real and significant contribution.

Democratizing Economics: I believe

I believe our economics can embody a greater democracy.Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 11.17.46 AM

I believe our economic institutions can be more democratic and fair.

I believe the plurality of thought in economics would bring great benefit to society.

 

I believe in culture and that our culture is the sum of the ideas floating around inside of it.

We all know it’s much easier to take in others’ ideas than it is to create and share the unique combination of ideas your experiences bring to bear.

Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 11.28.26 AMI believe we need to be talking more about certain ideas.

I believe George Saunders rightly characterized our media situation with his essay, “Braindead Megaphone”.

 

I believe our most important work is really matters.

I also know how easy it is to be distracted.

I believe that you spending more of your time on your most powerful work will change you.

 

I believe that creating tension is essential to producing work and creating change.

In organizing, we call it an “agitation”.

Agitation is the art of challenging a person to be true to their values, true to self and to act on those values out of their own self-interest. It is the art of pointing out the contradictions between what a person professes and how she or he acts.” ~Gameliel National Training Manual

I also believe new kinds of connection are possible.

New curated cohorts learning together can cement new relationships that move us deeply.

I believe in coaching, good feedback, holding up a mirror, reflecting back to each other what’s most important and what we see.

 

This is the heart of it: Learning to see.

Learning to see inside ourselves.

Learning to see beyond the next turn.

Learning to really see the other. Be with them and help them see themselves.

Is that a gift you are ready to give?

 

I think our economics needs it.

I think our economy needs it.

Will you join me?

I want to be an artist

As I was walking with my 5-year-old daughter Micaela last night, I asked her:

“Do you still want to be an artist?”

She responded:

“I want to be an artist, a songwriter, a painter, and an art teacher.”

I want her to make good on that dream.

That’s why I’m here. 

I’ve spent the last 28 days doing the hard work of writing everyday.

The scariest thing I wrote was a letter to Micaela.

I knew I was doing something right because the morning after I posted it online, I wanted to take it down. I was scared of what I said. Scared of what I committed to doing.

Scared because it felt like the stakes were higher.

The motto of the workshop I’m just finishing is:

“Do the Hard Work First | Embrace Emotional Labor | Dance with Fear”

I didn’t understand this third part “Dance with Fear” until the feeling I got as I woke up on Sunday morning. The feeling of wanting to quickly revise and take down the letter. The feeling of uncertainty. Is that really who I am? Is that what I want?

What am I for?

Why?

Those are the questions I want to wrestle with here.

The clearer I get, the more I believe I’ll be able to make my art.