The Tribe of Badassery

Perhaps you’ve noticed the world is falling apart.

No, I mean really. Shit. Is. Bad. We’re talking steaming heap of hottest year on record – white supremacist revival – disdain for the rule of law – misogynistapalooza, with a cold slimy side of inept egomaniacal blowhard with his gauche little fingers on the button kind of bad.

And perhaps you’re feeling the weight of it.

The call to resist. The urgency to act. The certainty that if you do not read just one more article, that if you miss one tweet or meme or post, fail to sign that petition or send that postcard, you will not have done your part.

Who could survive under such weight? No one. And that’s the point.

So while we’re resisting, here’s how we win: we thrive.

That idea you’ve been kicking around? Say it out loud to somebody else. Right now. Bring it to life.

That passion project you’ve been dabbling with? The one you’ve been tending to on the margins because it makes you happy? Make it your thing. Own it. Do it. Put it front and center.

The little enterprise you’ve been running? The one that deep down you know could be so much more? Make it so. Take that shit up a quantum notch.

Now is the time to surround yourself with creators. With believers and doers. With the get up – dress up – show up, pavement pounding, ass kicking name takers.

The tribe of badassery is growing stronger every day, and it’s calling your name. You won’t regret answering.

How do I know? I found my tribe, buzzing and electric, early on a cold Friday morning. What I hoped would be more than me sitting alone in the dark eating donuts and scribbling on my white board became the 250-member strong F Bomb Breakfast Club. This merry band of cussing collaborators has compelled me not just to endure the world as we currently know it, but to joyfully and obsessively reimagine it.

The business plan I once thought was too grand? The one I’ve barely mentioned, and apologized for or minimized when I did? It. Is. On. And in the immortal words of Eminem, “Success is my only motherfucking option, failure’s not.” I am all in, thanks to my tribe.

So, have you found yours?

5 Women to Watch

Looking for inspiration? Need a little somethin’ somethin’ to nudge you in the direction of your dreams? Check out these local purpose-driven entrepreneur lady bosses putting their passion into action.

Ariel Bangs, the badass, community-building, love-spreading chef behind Healthy Creations. Chef Ariel takes all of the pretenses out of healthy eating and dishes up fun, flavorful, life changing food empowerment and donuts. Really good donuts.

Chef Ariel Pic
Watch her this year: Open Flavorgasms Donut Shop and expand her youth culinary anthropology program, Taste International, to five schools while working to create healthy food connections between local farmers, local entrepreneurs and underserved communities through community partnerships.

Kristina Larry, doyenne of the courtroom, the Sassy Litigator, the Pre-nup Princess, the multi-talented, game changing attorney turning traditional law practice on its head to connect with every day clients as the unique humans that they are. A la carte services. Affordable rates. Free classes to empower clients. All with panache. Kristina is not your grandfather’s lawyer.

Kristina Larry pic
Watch her this year: “Because I’m going to take no prisoners.”

Michele Gomes and Jenny Ting, the dynamic duo of filmmakers behind InterChange Media. Creative and conscientious, their art house produces videos, commercials, PSAs, and documentaries that educate and inspire people to action.

Ting and Gomes pic
Watch them this year: Release a feature-length documentary about the ongoing collaborative partnerships between New Englanders, Southerners and Mexicans who are working together to prevent the extinction of an ancient sea turtle species.

Tara Morgan Mulvenon, the adaptive rowing and fitness coach behind Seize The Oar, which cultivates and celebrates the athlete within people of all abilities. Tara is a firecracker inside a sparkler, a visionary of boundless energy who will make you believe anything is possible, on or off the water.

Tara Morgan Mulvenon pic
Watch her this year: Turn a part-time passion into a full-time thriving business of inclusive fitness and wellness.

Now it’s your turn. What passion will you put into action this year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disrupt This

Disrupt. Leverage. Pivot.

How about we start saying what we mean?

As a fundraising consultant and teacher, I used to beat my head on my desk reviewing funding proposals loaded with every. effing. buzzword. some nonprofit thought would make them seem relevant. Commitments of sustainability and leverage. Promises to be impactful and transformational. Big words, meant to convey big ideas, but not necessarily translating to big results.

One problem is that overusing overused words tends to make one disappear into the crowd rather than stand out from it.

Standing out matters.

Charitable fundraising is a competitive blood sport. Actually, mere survival in the nonprofit sector is an endeavor not for the faint of heart. (Check out Vu Le’s analogy to The Hunger Games in his terribly named but wonderfully witty blog, Nonprofit With Balls).

Saying what you really mean, what you actually intend to do, toward what end, is so much more persuasive than squeezing in a term du jour. Your organization’s survival depends on it.

Entrepreneurs, it turns out, are just as guilty of lazy word choice.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard “disrupt” and “pivot” just in the last 30 days, I’d be able to invest in you all. Generously. If I had to give back a dollar for every time I used one of these words in the last 30 days, I’d be right back to wishing you well.

I think we use these words to build our street cred. To prove we’re reading the most important blogs and watching the right TED talks. That’s all fine and great. We’re human. We need validation now and then.

But I’m hungry to dig deeper. I am more interested in your vision and what you’re doing to advance it in the marketplace of ideas. I am intrigued by outsiders. Rule breakers. Feather rufflers. What distinguishes you from the flock?

Let’s bollix the worst of 2016 business jargon and start saying what we mean. In our own words. We have so many to choose from.

What words will you banish in 2017?

The Hustle

It’s Startup Week in Seattle. And since I recently started up a little law firm that, among other things, serves start ups, I’m in the hustle.

My hustle is currently meeting as many founders, funders, and dreamers as I can. Learning where they are. Gleaning their insights. Sussing out their needs. Clarifying (if only in my head) what I do and don’t have to offer in this space, with old experience and a new role.

A few early impressions:

There are a lot of great ideas bubbling in Seattle right now, for-profit and not-for-profit. It’s inspiring to witness the convergence of passion, drive, and foolishness. In need of hope for the future? Check out your local startup scene.

Entrepreneurial passion is interchangeable between the nonprofit and business sectors, and so is bad advice. There are zealots in both, certain they can lead you to success. Be wary of anyone making sweeping proclamations and speaking in absolutes.

Startups are smarter with women in the room. (<- Srsly, read this.) But men are still speaking over women, mansplaining and manspreading their expertise like cheap mayonnaise. It’s too much. Step back, brothers. Take a beat. Good things just might arise in that space when you stop filling it. And please, for the love of all things holy, as much as I love hearing women talk about the experiences of being women, let’s invite them to talk about their substantive areas of expertise, too.

I have more to offer than I thought. Technically, the legal aspects of starting a nonprofit usually aren’t too complicated. Starting a viable nonprofit that might actually accomplish what it aspires to? Strongly helped by working with someone who has been there in the trenches. Negotiating a contract? Any lawyer worth their salt can walk you through key elements of a reasonable agreement. But the ability to draw on real life examples of triumphantly successful and epically disastrous ones to help you understand the practical implications? I just may be your gal. Time to stop doubting myself.

Now, back to it. Can’t get out of the office to join me? Catch Twitter highlights at #SSW2016.