My 9-year old is shaving her head to raise money for childhood cancer research through St. Baldrick’s (whom we love). She created flyers, handed them out to the 4th grade classes, and bravely spoke to them (unscripted and unplanned) to ask for their donations. She put a collection jar in her classroom.
Then we got busy with emails and social media to spread the word. She wrote an exquisite (and heartbreaking) autobiography about why this cause means so much to her (the death of a beloved friend). She made videos, reading from what she’d written and speaking “from the heart” (her words, not mine).
Why am I telling you this story (besides being a shamelessly proud mom)?
Because lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how hard it can feel to tackle big, messy problems in the world.
Reform public education and healthcare?
Um, yeah right.
End childhood cancer for good?
Mmm, I don’t know about that.
Create truly inclusive, anti-racist communities and legislation?
Uh, didn’t you get the memo? That hasn’t worked, like ever.
Recently, when I was catching up with a dear friend about work, she said with all the sincerity in the world, “Sage, wow, you’re doing so much. You’re making such an impact.”
To which I quickly replied, “Not really. On an individual level, maybe. But on a systems level…I feel like I’m using a chisel when what I really want is a freakin’ blow torch to burn it all down and create it better.”
I’ve been thinking about that for a week now — the chisel vs. the blow torch.
Watching my daughter so devotedly plug away at fighting for something that she thinks is unfair (children dying from cancer), not worrying about the fact that one new trial treatment costs upwards of a million dollars or more in research funding.
She’s committed to using her chisel.
And so, yet again, we can learn from the wisdom and hope of children.
I’m clear. I will continue to use whatever tools I have (my voice, money, privilege, community connections, social media, podcast, stages, time, resources, donations) to keep chiseling away.
Even if I feel like “it’s not enough” or “the problems are too big.”
Not only because I believe it’s the “right” thing to do, but also because it makes me feel more connected to others, more alive, and of use.
What are you using your “chisel” to chip away at? What tools DO you have to employ?
It’s SO important to feel like we have some agency, some power — to make a difference about the things that matter to us
So, please grab your chisels, everyone.
Keep at it.
Use your courage, your connections, and your curiosity to influence the things that matter to you.
I appreciate you for your love, support, and persistence.
P.S. If you (or your organization) are interested, here are 3 ways that I can help. Please email me with any inquiries.
“Communication for Connection: The Untaught Piece to Success” Keynote speaking on campuses, conferences, and companies.
Leadership coaching that supports you in leveraging your strengths and building your capacity.
Team training and development that builds trust and connection, leveraging Emotional Intelligence.