I’m not a total failure

July 14, 2017 by Joshua
in Entrepreneurship, Leadership

My passion lately has been my talk and other work on leadership and the environment.

I’ve progressed a lot by the measure of my talk going farther without triggering automatic responses to push back. But by the important measure of someone agreeing to change behavior to pollute less, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, consume less resources, or the like, as of this morning, I couldn’t think of anyone who took on a challenge.

In other words, I felt I failed.

Despite working hard for months to develop my talk, giving it many times to many audiences, framing the challenge as improving your life, illustrating with changes I made to my life that improved it tremendously, and focusing on how much living by your values improves everything else …

… and despite nearly everyone agreeing on the need for people to change our behavior to reduce the risk of disaster and saying they’d support me …

No one agreed to change his or her behavior from polluting to reducing pollution.

Stagnating end getting stuck in the mud is frustrating.

When my cofounder and I started Submedia in the late 90s, we needed money, time, and other resources. Getting them took hard work.

Now it’s different

Now it’s different. Progress here doesn’t come from time, money, sweat, shoe leather, etc. It comes from emotional challenges and developed skills to to use them—to motivate others, to handle a lack of progress, to suffer rejection without folding and to get back up.

These challenges weigh on you as time, money, sweat, and material things can’t.

Three examples of differences I did make

Then I spoke to an old friend in Europe. I told him how I felt like I failed.

He told me how he and his girlfriend had started getting less waste and were looking to reduce more. Moreover, they liked the change. After a short talk, he agreed to take on a new challenge—to avoid packaged food for a week. They’ve continued from there.

I felt proud at someone taking on one of my challenges enthusiastically.

A few hours later, I spoke to someone arranging a business workshop who met me at my workshop with Marshall Goldsmith in February. He also told me he had changed some of his behavior, especially related to eating and was considering challenging himself more.

He was doing the results I hoped to achieve before. I felt great again.

Third, I remembered Jay, whom I wrote about in Inc., and his report that I quoted in that article. He wrote how he had started a sidcha—to pick up ten pieces of trash per day from the street and to put them into a trash can.

He described how much he gained from and planned to augment the exercists.

Three steps forward

When I felt lowest, these three examples reminded me that I can make a difference.

When I felt lowest, people around me came through.

I didn’t just fail. Even if I had, I’d know I could improve, so I would.

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