Sunday, August 11, 2013

Changing the world, part 2

One of the nice things about the smaller workshops on Thursday was that in the midst of a huge conference with nearly 5,000 attendees, you were a part of a group of only 22 women sharing your thoughts, visions, and goals. If you missed the first half of "Your Blog As a Change Agent" workshop recap, you can find it here.

When we reconvened after lunch, one of the first things that Katherine said was, "You have to be fearless to be fierce," which she admitted is easier said than done. Although there are lots of books out there about how to be fearless, "It is a rare person who is totally in control and has no questions about themselves. I've never met a person like that." So, she has a special folder in her email for days when she feels down. That's where she keeps the emails from women who thank her for what she does, and some have even said she saved their life.

There was a discussion on B corporations, which I had never heard of before. Cheryl explained that they are "for-profit" corporations with a social mission. Rather than starting a non-profit like Katherine, Cheryl started a B corporation. The B stands for "benefit." The website explains the purpose of a B corporation this way:
Part of the reason that B Corp's exist is that historically, when a traditional company was not doing so well financially, and profits were pressured, then shareholders would get unhappy if the company continued to also invest time and money in helping others; and shareholder discontent could even result in lawsuits.  But with a  B Corp formulation of a company, everyone knows that helping others is part of the very fabric of the company; investors do not invest in a B Corp unless they thoroughly understand this.
So, basically a B corporation is for someone who wants to change the world, rather than someone who wants to become a millionaire. Cheryl said, when money is not your #1 objective, you can make clearer choices.

Authenticity and honesty -- Your readers have to know you as a person and trust you. Katherine won't take money from pharmaceuticals because she doesn't want her readers to think that she endorses one treatment over another. Cheryl said, talk online honestly, genuinely, like you are sitting in a bar or having lunch with your readers. Talk a little about yourself. You have to share enough so that people see your humanity; you are a real person. You should also look at your analytics so that you know your audience.

Financial challenges -- Cheryl said, "The universe will provide. I have looked in the face of a zero bank balance. I know the money will come. It may mean that you have to make some choices. You won't get there at once. There has never been a better time for people like you and me, where you have a cause."

How can you get people engaged? Start something controversial. Yes, I know that's hard! But whenever I write a controversial post, I do see readership increase a lot.

Relationship management is key, said Katherine. Going to BlogHer made her blog explode because she made so many personal connections. "You cant just be behind the laptop, just be on Facebook or Twitter." She said you should try to be on every social media. Find out where is your audience spending their time.

And then they asked a few questions to help everyone clarify their goals, as well figure out where we need to start outsourcing --

What things from your life would you still be doing if ...
  • aliens landed?
  • today was your last day on earth?
  • you had no kids?
  • money was no object?
  • you were done with all your other goals?
  • if you had all the money in the world?
Why start outsourcing? Because you can do the same things you are doing, but you can get it done faster. And you can move forward with other goals.

Cheryl's top 5 tools
  1.  The Way We're Working Isn't Working (book) -- When I looked this up, it is now apparently published with the title Be Excellent At Anything.
  2. How We Decide (book) -- trust yourself -- baseball players just know when to hit the ball
  3. Bookkeeper, agent, helpers -- don't try to do it alone
  4. Relationship building, teamwork, buddy system -- love your buddies
  5. Archetypes + SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis)
Katherine's top 5 tools
  1. Community, community, community
  2. Use project management software such as Basecamp, Smartsheet, Teambox
  3. SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis)
  4. Theory of change
  5. Going all in and committing to fail (I am OK with failure if it happens. I won't hold myself back anymore.)
One of the ladies said, "There is no failure. We are all failing our way to success." Basically, even when you think you've failed, you have learned something, and you are one step closer to your goal.
"The real tragedy is the tragedy of the man who never in his life braces himself for his supreme effort -- he never stretches to his full capacity, never stands up to his full stature." -- Arnold Bennett
Cheryl closed by saying, "Don't die with your music still inside you."
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." -- Harriet Tubman

1 comment:

  1. "How We Decide" is one of my favorite books! I read it twice!