The Role of the Corporate Rebel

You may not know this, but I once was a corporate rebel.  A mostly associate that term with Lois Kelly, the person I first heard and connected the idea with.  I'll get to Lois's work in second. 

I was the guy who would get on top of filing cabinets (I'm not kidding) and protest bureaucratic processes and meaningless rules that hurt clients and employees.  Needless to say I had a reputation.  In many ways it's a miracle I lasted as long as I did in that world.  The main point is about heart motivated action to change things for the better.

I didn't work for companies that appreciated rebels.  I'm certain I was tolerated because of my knack or ability to make money for the organization.  Rebels were a threat culturally.  Rebels saw what many preferred to ignore, either for convenience or fear.  This is quite ironic since rebels (at those with integrity) really seek the organizations well-being.

Alas, my story leads into an even better one.  Lois Kelly has done a lot of good work for quite some time.  I think she's brilliant.  You can get to know her and her work better here.  But take a look at the following story and background for her take on the corporate rebel and why they should be embraced, not shunned.  Here's to all the corporate rebels out there.



Creating the New Wealth

Much discussion in my country right now about wealth and its creation. I'm for the new type of wealth creation. A type of creation that makes you rich beyond your dreams. Sadly, we seem to be fixated on material wealth. As if material wealth could really solve our deepest problems and desires.

You should create wealth in the following areas:

Wheel of Life 3 Small

Don't believe the hype from marketers and politicians. Those in the "wealthy one-percent" often have a true wealth index at or below the poverty line. Look at the wheel again and ask yourself what kind of wealth do you really want to create.

Go for the new wealth and find true well-being.

While the Kids Get Older

Kid playing

From time-to-time I wonder about how present I've been with my kids.  As a parent it's so easy to be waited down by the cares and struggles of life.  You might call them distractions of the most insidious form.  Whether a career moving in an unpredictable fashion or a fractured relationship with a friend.  The siege guns roaring at you.  They never seem to stop do they?  In the end, tt doesn't matter because time just keeps moving and you wonder how you got where you find yourself.

As my kids have gotten older, my parenting approach has changed.  In some arenas I'm more of a teacher.  In some areas I'm just a father with no words, just listening.  When you watch the change in yourself it reminds you of the brevity of this window you have to influence.  And though influence never fully goes away, these are the "wonder" years.  As things go, my daughter who is almost a teen, received the holiday edition of the American Girl catalog last week.  When she arrived home from school that day, I asked her if she wanted the catalog.  Part of me knew she would refuse, but another part of me hoped she wouldn't.  Of course she did refuse and I stared at the catalog with a bit of melancholy thinking of girl that had merged into someone new.

The someone new requires flexing and change.  It really forces me to move to the new, even if I'd prefer the old.  This is a good thing.  A way in which God uses to get me out of the land meant only for my memories.  Isn't that what we're supposed to be?  This unfolding story with highs and lows, smiles and tears.  And so I go onward.

I have figured out and accepted that I can't slow it all down.  No unhealthy levels of nostalgia.  A sense that it would be better to learn how to handle riding a fast and unpredictable horse.  And as I learn this art, I can love, listen and influence.  And for a boy that had a father that didn't say much of anything at all, I'd say that's a pretty good place to be.

Forced to Be Authentic

What if we awoke to a world where you had no choice but to be authentic?  A flood causing  your authenticity, or the lack thereof, to be easily detected by those coming in contact with you.  This would have scared me to death 10 years ago.  Thankfully, not the case now.

I'm struck by how much time can be spent getting back our identity from a world that seems bent on taking and counterfeiting it.  Even more tragic are those who never get it back or care to attempt the feat. It's as if there's a daunting figure who scares you into giving up dreaming, giving up taking a chance, giving up the willingness to be laughed at.  And then you're convinced to take the position pill of safety and conformity.

The following concert clip is from Peter Gabriel.  I don't know if he ever confirmed it, but I've read that the song is about a major shift in our ability to see the authenticity in other people.  And instead of me trying to explain in a half way, take a peak at the clip or read the lyrics below the video:


When the night shows
the signals grow on radios
All the strange things
they come and go, as early warnings
Stranded starfish have no place to hide
still waiting for the swollen Easter tide
There's no point in direction we cannot
even choose a side.

I took the old track
the hollow shoulder, across the waters
On the tall cliffs
they were getting older, sons and daughters
The jaded underworld was riding high
Waves of steel hurled metal at the sky
and as the nail sunk in the cloud, the rain
was warm and soaked the crowd.

Lord, here comes the flood
We'll say goodbye to flesh and blood
If again the seas are silent
in any still alive
It'll be those who gave their island to survive
Drink up, dreamers, you're running dry.

When the flood calls
You have no home, you have no walls
In the thunder crash
You're a thousand minds, within a flash
Don't be afraid to cry at what you see
The actors gone, there's only you and me
And if we break before the dawn, they'll
use up what we used to be.

Lord, here comes the flood
We'll say goodbye to flesh and blood
If again the seas are silent
in any still alive
It'll be those who gave their island to survive
Drink up, dreamers, you're running dry.

There is no doubt, the only way you're going to have a life worth remembering is getting to (or back to) a place of being "real."  For whatever hell you encounter in doing it, worth the effort is an apt response to that crossroads.  My prayer and energy goes out to you.

The Box


You've heard it a million times; "think outside of the box."  Maybe more would do that if the people asking were not invested in the box industry.  I used to be more tolerant of the think outside the box admonition.  But I've moved to a place where I stop the train if someone tries to put me in a "box" or any other confined category.

I spent a good deal of time in the banking world before moving onto my mission at Epic Living.  I was successful in many eyes. And to this day, I still have people who think my life then was nirvana or even better, I should go back to it because I was so good at it.  When I tell them how much I loathed it, the inevitable furrowed brow appears. 

I no longer take it personally.

The biggest reason people want you in a certain box has very little to do with you.  It really is about them.  It's much easier to keep order and predictability when a friend or colleague stays the way they're perceived.  When someone makes a move outside that zone it produces anxiety, fear and even loathing.  Call it a move to protect what they perceive as safe and secure.

The Role of Power and Greed

Corporate maze

I don't desire the end of Wall Street or capitalism in general.  The protests happening in NYC got me thinking.  I heard an interview last evening with a successful wealth creator, who discussed the the difference between an entrepreneur and an opportunist (gambler in many respects).  If I may paraphrase, he said that entrepreneurs create something and thereby create wealth for many.  The opportunists primarily seek to enrich themselves or a few only.

I don't want to overstate my opinion on the impact of power and greed, but those two cousins have often been left unchecked in our world today.  I'm not talking about passing a law to stop them.  But I would like to see the culture of our businesses and the schools address power and greed for what they are.  More progress would come if we stopped ignoring it. 

Many an organization (profit and non-profit) have entered into something with good intentions, only to find themselves the slave to a hideous master.  Namely, power and greed.  Never forget that power and greed are living, breathing things.  They have a desire to rule you and the culture (work, politics, etc.).  The question is whether you will let it and what will you do to control it.

Has anyone in your organization ever sat down with you and discussed how to handle power and greed, before there was a problem?  I often wonder that about Wall Street and those who lead there.  If you're a part of most organizations the answer is no.  I think its important enough to evaluate and discuss, considering how impactful it is on other human beings.

We Need the Real Problem Solvers

The need for solving problems seems so obvious in our current environment.  But I'm amazed how far away that concept is for many.  Whether it's the job hunter or the board member of a non-profit, it seems like the idea of solving problems is rather foreign.  Now, I know we talk a lot about solving problems, but I'm referring to the talking and the doing.  I know this is hard to do in my country.  We've gotten a little soft on real problem solving.  Many are still operating as if we were still in the industrial age.

There needs to be a changing of the lens we use.  So put on a different pair of glasses and build the habit of being a problem solver.  You'll be glad you did, and so will the people and organizations waiting for your solutions.