Yesterday, a friend in Santa Fe asked a simple question: Where does the initiative come from within you? Yes, a simple question but one that stops you cold too. Why do we do what we do? Today, more than ever, it is a question that more individuals need to ask more often.
Context of Question
The context of the question asked yesterday was on my new initiative, Activate World, and the podcast launched earlier this week. Here is my answer verbatim: “I think part of it comes from knowing that business can be a force for good. And part of it comes from knowing that the Greatest Generation showed how individuals can do something greater than themselves, and I see the same traits in Millennials and Gen Z. I want to encourage that focus. Maybe it is being a farmer’s son, knowing the importance of planting seeds for a better future.”
Do you notice what is missing from my answer? It is the facts and statistics that I could have rattled off about the rise of CEO and business leader activism. I never even thought about those numbers when I responded. When something resonates from within, it is nice to have a positive trend, but it is not necessary or even present.
Being a farmer’s son reminds me to be centered in humility, be diligent in the work, and plant for growth.
Each of my sentences is true to my leadership beliefs.
Being a farmer’s son reminds me to be centered in humility, be diligent in the work, and plant for growth.Tweet
- Business can be a force of good in using profits to hire and nurture an engaging, compassionate culture, raising their voice in support of good policy and preventing bad, and acting in a way that is good for all stakeholders.
- When we live for a greater purpose than ourselves, we do better work, and we treat people better.
- Generational leadership means leaving our places better than before.
- Being a farmer’s son reminds me to be centered in humility, be diligent in the work, and plant for growth.
Emotions of Initiatives
Another way to think about our answers to the simple question is identifying the emotions behind the work being undertaken. Positive emotions make work feel more effortless and meaningful.
I know many have said this before, but I concur completely. It is exciting and scary to launch something new. What fun in the art of creating! But what if no one subscribes, listens, or leaves a review? You swing between these two emotions wondering if it is good enough and if anyone will notice. Still, we do the initiative because of what inside of us is trying to get out and make a difference.
I believe we are at a crossroads in our society.
- Do we sink into self-centeredness and within deep divisions and segments?
- Do we rise and show our better character and bring out the best in others?
The crossroads is an individual one and a business one. Who we are and what we do matters. Where we do our work and why we do our work matters.
Questioning Can Lead to Fulfillment and Soulful Actions
Although this should not be the post I write in launching a podcast, it may be a more honest one. It would be an interesting workplace if we questioned more often why we are doing the work we are. Equally intriguing is questioning why we are (or not) doing the work we are (or not) in our communities. Work is a gift, and we need to remember that again.
When you want to activate change with who you are, where you are doing it, and what you are doing, consider the simple question: Where does the initiative come from within you?
Activating Activate World
From a business leader perspective, maybe listening to the Activate World podcast will help. You will be the judge of that, but I hope you listen to the result of what inspired me from within. You can begin by seeing who I interviewed in the first season and hear their thoughts on what business can be and what you can be.
- Lobbying: The Politics of Influence, Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director, Center for Responsive Politics
- Corporations Gain Civil Rights, Adam Winkler, author of We the Corporations, UCLA law professor
- Sustainability: Corporate and Employee Activism, Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, GreenBiz
- Corporate Social Responsibility Intersects Corporate Activism, Carolyn S. Berkowitz, President and CEO of the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals
- Revitalizing Capitalism: B Corps and Accountability, Jay Coen Gilbert, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, B Lab, Forbes contributor
Find your inside voice and work it to make a positive impact!
Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash