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I was prompted to recall a time when I felt gut-wrenching nervousness.  And as I start to gear up for the 3rd (!) Kamloops Timeraiser it is easy to recall such a situation.

When I heard about the Timeraiser – an event created by Framework in Toronto 11 years ago – I thought to myself: ‘this has to come Kamloops’.  After pursuing the Timeraiser organization for over a year to bring their event to Kamloops, they eventually decided they wouldn’t bring here – but I could host it myself.  Awesome – I love hosting parties, but for this particular event I needed money and support.

chequeSo after socializing the idea and finding support, the day actually came when my first sponsor, NRI Distribution, sent me a $5000 sponsorship cheque.

Fear, disbelief, apprehension, insecurity – all welled up inside me.  Are they crazy putting this much faith in me to pull this off?  Can I pull this off?  What I do next?  How do I pay him back if I screw up?  Eek!

But whenever I am under pressure – life becomes clearer…  Just focus on the next step.  I can’t say I felt optimistic or that the fear disappeared, but I knew that if I just kept doing the right steps one after the other I would get the job done.

And I did!  And at some point in the following weeks I started to get excited knowing it would work out.  Those feelings of fear changed to pride, gratitude, excitement, enthusiasm and relief!

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My deep thought of the day. If you aren’t on a Mastery Path in some area of your life, you are simply, slowly declining….

Mastery Curve

Mastery Curve

Image from http://www.actualized.org/articles/mastery

This article was originally posted on my business blog: www.socialfire.ca/jblog/ownershipandsuccess

Have you tried to implement programs for your employees that didn’t deliver the results you were hoping?  I am mainly referring to team building or community involvement programs with a goal of engaging employees and boosting morale – but the lesson could apply to anything.

I have found that companies with young employees are the most creative in getting employee buy-in for extra-curricular programs.  It is probably because they are least invested in their career and aren’t afraid to say no, or just avoid opportunities, that more seasoned employees might feel they “should’ participate in.  If the employer is determined to get high levels of participation and engagement, they need to figure out the formula that works with their staff.

Some stories of ideas that do work:

Have your employees plan the program.  Give them a goal or an objective, and a budget, and let them run with it.  Trial and error, seeing your own ideas in action and being able to take credit for successes are very effective motivators.  If you want employees to volunteer as a group, let them pick the organization and plan an event.  Support them with time and resources to deliver an impact and watch them feel the pride.   This is completely different then saying: “Our company supports the xxx charity because it aligns with our values, please contribute to our fundraising drive.”

Getting staff to “invest” beforehand.  For example, putting on a ski-day – pay $20 to sign up and if you attend you get your $20 back.  The employer found that if it was free and easy to back out of, participation levels were very low despite up-front promises.  Getting people to put ‘skin in the game’, however minor, increases their commitment.

Lead by example – the management needs to walk the talk.  If you are going to hold a fundraising drive or a company picnic – the management need to be there with enthusiasm.  They need to donate themselves, roll up their sleeves to get dirty or volunteer to sit in the dunk tank.  Giving a program lip-service and expecting those ‘below you’ to be enthusiastic about it, is generally unrealistic.

Notice I didn’t talking about ‘making it fun’ or ‘putting a carrot on a stick’.  Although those concepts are important in certain situations, the key to making a social program successful is ownership.  The management and the employees need to feel and promote ownership of a program.  And this ingredient is required as a first step in program development – not as a later inclusion when people notice the lack of involvement.  Ownership of an idea leads to a commitment to see it succeed.

a poem of graitude

of the heavens
I experience everyday.

There are droplets of water,
each a prism.

a child’s profile.

And feelings….
all of them?

Most of them.
To feel is to live
even as a worm.

A train goes by –
a symbol of enterprise, hardwork and childhood.

We all covet success,
yet are bitter towards those
who are successful
beyond our dreams.

Facsimile of a poem by Aritsune

I keep track of ideas for blog posts to write a later date.  The fun part is when I go back at look the idea, I often surprise myself with how they insightful they are.  But I don’t remember coming up with it!

This is one of those.

Passengers in a cab watch one of Brazil

Photo courtesy of National Geographic by John Stanmeyer

I read a National Geographic article about hot the birth rate in Brazil has lowered significantly in one generation (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/09/girl-power/gorney-text).  One of the theories is that the TV novelas (like soap operas) are influencing the women to have fewer children.

The article points to a variety of other reasons as well, but this one reason sparked something in me.

People should use public figures and movies to create social change – not laws.  Maybe we already do that – but the topics that are highlighted are changing society in the wrong way (i.e. entertainment magazine constantly highlighting volatile relationships of the rich and famous).  And I am not suggesting that censor laws be created that dictate what messages are produced – but rather each individual find a way to highlight the message they want to see repeated in society.

And politicians need to be advocates, gather weight and influence society – without imposing.  Imagination and understanding need to be the tools of the trade.  Not criticism and fear.  I don’t really understand or get wrapped up in US politics, but I do like Obama.  And I like him for these exact reasons – when he speaks, he exudes empathy and influence.  I recognize there are speech writers and attacks ads in his campaign, but at face value he is a captivating person who will change the world for the better.

There are lots of people out there who do exactly what I am talking about.  http://www.thedailylove.com and http://www.Ashoka.org would be two examples that I am drawn to of people/organizations who use all their genius to create positive momentum.

And once you start focusing on that kind of media, your view of the world starts to change.  So how can we make amazing futures, great role models, fulfilling paths to success the stuff we see in the supermarket checkout?  What if that was the mainstream news.  What if the politicians lauded each others accomplishments and worked to learn from each other.  What if the next hit reality show showed how successful marriages made it work?  Or how creative people have influenced changes in the system?  If it became the ‘must see’ show, book and movie – what would change in our society?

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