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A few things I learned early that shaped a life & values compass through Adversity

When we feel alone or have fears, the best blessings in life come from our collective ability to earn trust, share thoughts & shape shared priorities in life, work & community. When my father returned from WW2, he struggled and my mother also got polio. We could only afford to live in the projects in […]

When we feel alone or have fears, the best blessings in life come from our collective ability to earn trust, share thoughts & shape shared priorities in life, work & community. When my father returned from WW2, he struggled and my mother also got polio. We could only afford to live in the projects in Canarsie, Brooklyn, NY. Many correctly labeled our vast three & seven story projects as poor. Yet what I experienced shaped values that today’s top leaders now have to learn.

To me, when we are all in the same boat, we welcome new passengers across all genders, ages and ethnicity. I LOVED the diversity in Brooklyn and how we all embraced each other. In each person, we saw attributes, goals, interests and boy could we row. Imagine if politicians were also on social security, how fast that would be updated. Imagine our collective influence as the power for positive change more benefit by. It deeply embarrasses me to see how long it has taken to realize the full value of our democracy for all Americans & global citizens.

So with a deep belief in shared values, diversity, inclusion, & creativity, I now had to confront my priority to help my mother & brother when our dad disappeared usually after 6 months with us and a year away. I went to work early in life so as to soften our dependency on welfare. Working full time and going to night college also had its challenges. Ironically, my chosen career in design, brand, marketing and in NYC – the most demanding success requirement to stay original, open minded to synthesize value from new sources – or be fired. That kept me on the path of continuous enlightenment even now as I pass my O.G, label in basketball. I feel like a younger Bernie Sanders type champion that invests in trust, doing what’s right, challenging core assumptions. The ability to enable others greatly surpassed managements attention to outstanding revenues growth every time in the hundreds of millions to billions. What I saw was enabled, caring, effective global teams & the highest stakeholder trust in us.

How does this relate to our current pandemic? I agree that past presidents all managed health threats without hesitation, thus lowering the impact on lives, careers and families struggling to make ends meet. I know that in times like this, truths and trust should be an absolute requirement, but alas, our current administration acted like it was a hoax. I worry that the same ignorance to our planetary health, clean air & water, a major species loss (including us) will shape even higher adversity unless we embrace our full diversity now and hold government & manipulative businesses more accountable sooner than later.

I see this as a time when our attention is justifiably on our shared humanity. Stay safe, follow advice you can trust, and hopefully this will pass soon. However, while this is clear to most, even though some fail to act on it, I see this as a time for serious conscious reflection:

  1. If our humanity is what rises up the most in times of adversity, why not apply that more so in business, government, education as a major initiative more can benefit by example. Risk aversion is not leadership, it is obstruction to our collective values enabled.
  2. We all lived through Old World limitations, yet conscious reflection proves only earned significance offers the path to sustained success. No longer should greed, control & closed cultures stop the new World Order from rising, as more of us have the mindset and skills to shape greater significance.
  3. I know this as at the peak of my design career in a Fortune 100 corporation I admired, I left my own design comfort zone – one I loved – to immerse myself in this company’s stakeholder ecosystem. What actually happened revealed far greater needs, human values, experiences – all fuel for more effective design. I laughed on my first day as a sales person greeted me as a converted factory puke. Yes, you have to humanly experience a need before you can shape a timely & meaningful solution. There I was, my Brooklyn upbringing synthesizing what matters most again. Today I lead with humanity and use AI & diverse input to qualify my assumptions, even as one that has always had the right values compass guiding extraordinary relevance.
  4. As technology goes off the rails at faster speeds, it is clear that humanity and infrastructure need to be part of the guidance system. Reflect on how you feel when a robot calls you or answers a company’s phone and says “As a customer, you are important to us” Reflect on how many technologists state their AI solutions could replace thousands of researchers. Reflect on how fast industry challenges change and how much slower education is to even see change on the horizon. As one with an effective values compass, attention to others, purpose & attitude, I see world far better than many have allowed us to realize. As a conscious design thinking and systems thinking human being, I agree with thought leaders who urged me to not retire, while saddened how long the values hidden in change take to be seen and realized. I’d love to see ThriveGlobal and a few others sources connect, apply the best conscious wisdom, insight and values to shape that world we all need to support as there is no Plan B.

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