So here goes….my 2016 review. Make yourself a cup of tea, and enjoy…..
Recovering from November 5th Big Blue Sky inaugural event was how 2016 started. A small team had pulled together an extraordinary feat. For me 30 years of attempting to pull together passionate diverse people to collaborate on a Moonshot type projects finally succeeded. This beautiful ecosystem lived in the Trust Manifesto, a statement of how we choose to engage with each other as we work together, one of my greatest works, which came off the shoulders of many many others and expressed a full 30 years of commitment to my own human unfolding, plus the willingness to pick myself up and get back into the arena. Every single time.
We had brought to life something extraordinary, but the question remained as to how to make Big Blue Sky live as a whole and sustainable entity.
How do you turn an impulse, deeply rooted in social entrepreneurship and community organising, and make it support the very people who give their life force energy to it?
For the first part of 2016 I explored many conversations. I met people who said they were great at sales, who said they could do this and that. The conversation itself became a kind of game of loop-de-loop. Conversation on its own is not enough. It needs to be activated.
Since August 100% of my focus has been on Big Blue Sky 2016 and beyond. This year we had the most amazing support from the community. We had incredible sponsors from business and government. At the same time, we experienced our first sabotage.
This affected me deeply.
But they say what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. If I am not creating at least some disturbance, then I am not doing my work. I was deeply inspired by Madonna’s speech at the Billboard awards. And by the thought that anyone who does things to make the world a better place, which I have been seeking to do all my adult life, will be maligned. I think of Barak Obama (or anyone in public office) going to sleep each night with millions of people hating him. How they cope with that level of projected hate, day in day out? And I would say to myself, Christine, girl, you need to toughen up.
I can’t say I am completely through this lesson…it just keeps giving. Which I do appreciate. I keep exploring how we at Big Blue Sky need to hold the big blue sky of collaboration as our constant, stay in the Business of Being Human, invite participation and be very clear about what type of behaviours is or is not acceptable. The question, how to we demonstrate, day in and day out, the who of what we stand for? Live it. It’s BIG. We named ourselves. We decided to create Moonshots. We did this deliberately. Moonshots ask us to be far far greater than we ever thought possible. Big Blue Sky is a Moonshot. We do not have a road map, or even a sky map. We only have a compass.
We will make mistakes, we will fall down. And, we will never forget our humanity.
Yet we are part of the many amazing people and enterprises around the world who are working towards the new frontiers of business, organisation, citizen engagement, money, finance… that hold human dignity, respect and the 100% success of every single human without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone as the compass. We can learn from each other.
Big Blue Sky 2016 was amazing. You can check out the very short (less than 2 minute) video here.
I have learned (and will no doubt continue to learn) much. In 2015 we focused exclusively on the quality of the event, and didn’t pay any heed to the numbers of participants. This worked so powerfully. In 2016 my focus shifted more towards the numbers. This was a mistake. Quality of the event is supreme. (Even though the quality of 2016 was excellent by all reports and accounts.)
We also learned the hard and costly effect of not continuing to build and nurture the community that was created through Big Blue Sky 2015.
We had created this amazing trusting ecosystem, and we neglected to nourish it. No excuses.
Trying to sustain ourselves and figure out how to do this…and actually, not trusting the wisdom and support of the very community we had built. I feel pretty positive, in retrospect, that if we had of gone back to the community and invited them to the conversational table of making Big Blue Sky sustainable we would have co-figured it out. Instead we so easily defaulted to the very model that we are attempting not to represent. The one where the solo individual or the very small team have the answers. The diversity of the community has the answers, and more often than not, they have answers that are both counter-intuitive and stunning. We didn’t invite them to the conversation. Big mistake.
Of course for me this also continued to surface the very issue that has been my own cross to bare for most of my life since becoming a single mother. How to bring my skills to the world and live in financial abundance? How to have my peculiar set of skills and passions serve the world and nourish my existence?
I had done the hard hard yards. I had negotiated with debtors, cut up all credit cards, studied global economics, stayed completely up to date with my own bookwork. Taken massive responsibility for my past mistakes. But the translation of my value, of my human worth, into a value called money, this has been like the mystical holy grail for me.
Yet all around me I saw this incredible richness of opportunity. Significant opportunity. Cash flow opportunity. I was like a starving vegetarian in a paddock of cows.
Post the event #2 in 2016 we held a stakeholder meeting, inviting about 14 of our fans and sponsors from business and community into a facilitated space. This was to get their feedback on the event, and the opportunity for input into the ongoing build of Big Blue Sky. Then my remarkable co-founder, Lou, a branding and marketing expert, held a branding workshop…and we discover that we are in the Business of Being Human. That we are omni-disciplinary, enabling anyone to have make their contribution from multiple sectors of business, society and community, that one of our unique attributes is the mashup/moshpit type experience people have – the academic talking to the artist talking to the social entrepreneur talking to the student, talking to the mum…..with the spiciness of new thinking and models from the edge of business/innovation/entrepreneurship/leadership…. that we present the future of business (a new paradigm, not the old hierarchy of leader at the top) – where business is designed explicitly to serve all of humanity…. that we are visionary risk takers, resourceful, engaging, magnetic, vibrant and joyful.
That we are great individually, unstoppable together.
That we bring beauty back to business.
Amen to all that.
The week before Christmas was huge for me. I finally, after years of pussy footing around, said yes to my value. No to allowing my own personal exploitation. For indeed no one can exploit me without my participation.
Into this mix came meetings with people to support that recalibration. A few sledge hammer moments.
It felt like the end of a long and very painful chapter of my life. Done. I have only the residue to deal with. It will take at least half of the year, maybe the whole year. But I am done with this old pattern of victim to my lack.
For 2017 I have chosen three words. Feeling and action based words.
I want to feel strong. I want to become stronger (as in physically). I have begun a weight program that will continue until I take my last breath. Strength is daily action, and if taken, is not lost.
I feel valued. I am valued. I no longer suppress my value, or step over it. Or allow anyone else to step over it or diminish it. Nor do I allow others to diminish their own value, or the value of others. No more. Every human has value. Now more than ever we need to champion this.
I am beautiful. I feel beautiful. This one surprised me. But I have been wrestling with my thoughts and opinions about age. Ageism and sexism. The invisible older women. Hell no to that. Madonna is my muse. So beauty it is. I see my own beauty, and seek beauty in others in all forms and expressions. I am beautiful.
Finally, as part of my daily practice, something I have maintained for decades now (7 day a week hard physical exercise, healthy eating and good sleep, plus time for contemplation), I am adding the power of three from Tony Robbins.
Yep…good old Tony.
*Gratitude….really feel grateful…bone deep, heart rate bursting gratitude, for at least a few minutes first thing.
*Spirit…..feel connected, feel spirit move, pay attention to spirit…what ever that means to you.
*3 to thrive – focus on the three things I want to have happen, as if they have happened. Until they happen.
What I know is that we are each now being called to bring our whole selves to life. That the world needs our voice, our action, our commitment. That it’s not enough to be profitable, talented or right….we need to be just. (Joi Ito) We need to demonstrate the business of being human in every single action.
I have done the hard hard yards for many years now. The deep inner excavation, the reduction to nothingness on the floor, the overwhelming sense that I simply could not make it through the next second. That is behind me. Still happy to inquire as to why I say/did/did not do what I did…to learn from mistakes…but I have a strong sense that I have graduated from the school of very hard knocks for now, and it is time to consolidate.
HOW IS BIG BLUE SKY NOW – January 2017
Big Blue Sky was begun at an opportune time. The Queensland Government are supporting the development of regional hubs through the state. At the close out of 2016, Big Blue Sky agreed to partner with a local/global software firm to collaborate on the regional hub. This is exciting.
The thinking behind the regional hub is to continue what we have started, to create a convening and co-ordinating space that brings diversity of world view, talent, skill and resources together under one roof, so to speak. To build a Patient Capital fund, modeled on Acumen.org that can support social entrepreneurial projects ongoing. To leverage the many existing resources and relationships we have in our ecosystem to enable all thriving.
2017 is a YES to magnificent, courageous, beautiful action, with a dose of adventure and play. To knowing that we are better when we work together. And that my.your/our voice matters.
Thank you for being here, for your own commitment, for reading this far…
**Big bow of thanks to R.Buckminster Fuller, to all of my pioneering coaching colleges, D.C. Cordova and her work with Money and You for many things including introducing me to Bucky, Dr David Martin and his relentless commitment to Integral Accounting that we adopted as part of the Trust, all of the thousands of clients over the years who have allowed me to practice, and the endless patience and support from my family, who more times than not have looked at me askance wondering what the hell was I up to now!
PS. What inspired me in 2016.
*Sapiens – A brief History of Human Kind by Yuval Noah Harari
*Whiplash – How to Survive our Faster Future by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe
*The Inevitable – Understanding the 12 Technological Forces that will Shape our Future – Kevin Kelly
*Debt -The First 5000 years – by David Graeber
*Post Capitalism – by Paul Mason
*When Breath Becomes Air – by Paul Kalanithi
*Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus – How Growth Becomes the Enemy of Prosperity -by Douglas Rushkoff
*Pattern Recognition – William Gibson
Jonathan Fields – The Good Life project
Team Human – Douglas Rushkoff
The Tim Ferriss show
All the writings of Charles Eisenstein.
Movies and TV
2016 was the year of streaming…loved Sense8, Mr Robot, Westworld, The Fall, The Crown, The Get Down, Luther, London Spy and of course, Game of Thrones.
Movies…not so much. A shout out to Hacksaw Ridge.
And always, the beach.
What inspired you?