The Right Answer

I’ve been knocked off-center. National-level politics, police shootings of defenseless citizens, the assassinations of police, and terrorist attacks around the world have all fed my sense of chaos, discouragement, and vulnerability. I’ve become disillusioned. The world is a mess.

What is my posture towards the assassins, terrorists, self-serving politicians, and lawless police?

Growing Up

I was driving west on Kessler Boulevard in Indianapolis, near where it passes under the Monon Trail and the right lane ends. In the left lane, mentally zoned out, I was cruising at or slightly above the speed limit. I snapped out of my reverie when a driver sped past me in the right lane, then pulled in front of me before his lane ended. I felt a hot flash of anger. I sped up and started thinking about how I could pass him (over double yellow lines) and cut him off before the light at College Avenue. My blood was boiling.

Letting Go

I had a lot invested emotionally in the name Catalyst OC. The name of the company I founded had become part of my identity over the past 9 years. Even though I am now excited about being Kairos, a few months ago I wasn’t. Initially I rejected the name Kairos. In fact, I rejected the idea of changing the name at all.

Hollaback

10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman has attracted a lot of attention. The 2-minute video shows a woman walking down the street (minding her own business) in Manhattan, and how strangers treat her.

A grassroots initiative called Hollaback! partnered with Rob Bliss Creative to capture 10 hours of video of Shoshana Roberts. The footage was edited down to the 2 minutes we see. The video does a good job creating emotional impact; we can empathize with Shoshana as she walks the gauntlet of less-than-courteous men. The video has been viewed 35 million times (as of Nov 10, 2014). Clearly it has struck a chord.

But is Hollaback’s approach going to result in sustainable transformation?

Why Accountability Backfired

In the last post (When Accountability Backfires) I asked,

Why do I still turn off my office lights religiously, while I have not continued with DuoLingo?

Thank you for your insightful comments to that post. I love this tribe of savvy and sharp thinkers. You are an amazing community, and I’m grateful.

Here is my summary of the theories you all have offered…

When Accountability Backfires

I used to forget to turn off the lights in my office. When my wife Kim noticed, she turned them off for me.

One day she got tired of this routine and stuck a post-it note on the light switch to remind me to flip it off when leaving. It started off as a joke, including a tally of how many times she had to deliver her “lights off service.” It was very effective, until I ripped it off the wall in frustration.

Acknowledging Pain

According to reports I’m hearing, my experience applying for a policy on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace has been pretty typical – I’ve spent many hours navigating the site and trying to get help from well-intentioned customer service reps with no more power or knowledge than me.

Polarizing

At CPAC 2013, Sen. Mitch McConnell rolled out a 7-foot, 3-inch stack of paper wrapped in a red ribbon. This stack purports to contain the 20,000 pages of regulations created to flesh out the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“Obamacare”). Regardless of your politics, you have to admit the Red Tape Tower makes an impression.

An Imperfect Metaphor

My wife is a biochemist by training, and she was the one who came up with the name “Catalyst” for my fledgling consulting practice in 2006. A catalyst is a substance that accelerates a reaction without itself being changed by the reaction. I thought that was a perfect metaphor for the work we do– encouraging change in others. As we end 2012, I’m realizing that the metaphor is incomplete.