I’ve been working on creating what I lovingly refer to as my passion project for about a year. The primary focus has been my website, sourceimperative.com, which provides a forum for sharing information and resources that enable people to easily explore opportunities for finding purpose. It has thus far been a solo endeavor, but I have always believed it would eventually expand into a joint effort with others.
Lately, I have been privileged to randomly connect with people who exemplify the crux of my work. These random encounters involved conversations that surprised me, not for their content, but for the spot on similarities to what I am working on.
Facebook Is Researching Compassion
The first came with an unexpected encounter with a young woman I met at a holiday party. She is a researcher at Facebook. As our casual conversation unfolded, I asked her questions about topics I could only ask an insider. Here I was talking to someone who interacts with Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, who was hired by Facebook two and a half years ago because she completed her PhD in mindfulness. She works on the compassion team with a focus on bringing compassion to the forefront of the Facebook platform. We didn’t dig too deep into this concept, but I asked her if I could interview her for my blog sometime. She was receptive. What are the odds I would meet someone who works at Facebook, the quintessential representation of a millennial culture; who did her PhD work on mindfulness while I am in the middle of my thirty day mindfulness project; and who is assigned to the compassion team, a topic that is at the core of my work?
A Baby Boomer Who Gets Millennials
About a week ago I was having a casual conversation with a dear friend who is a college professor. He teaches engineering and has had the opportunity to watch how his students have evolved, as a result of cultural and societal influences, over the course of his career. As a result of his observations, the focus of his teaching has evolved as well. I had not had much opportunity to share with him the work I am doing in my #BridgeTheGap series, that showcases my belief that there is much to be learned from a collaboration that includes the wisdom of the baby boomers and the innovation of the millennials. So, imagine my surprise when he shared with me his observations about how the millennials will change the world and how he is glad he can share his wisdom with them in a way that encourages them to set their sights on changing the world. He shared with me how he gives a lecture to his new students each semester wherein he shows them what young people all over the world are doing through innovation. Then he asks them what they think they can do to change the world if they utilize the skills they learn. As I listened to him describe the focus of his teaching, I felt as if he had taken up residence in my head. His theory about the connection between the millennials and baby boomers was so close to mine that I was blown away.
Committed To Inner City Kids
A friend is visiting from Virginia this week. She is twenty-six years old and has found her calling in her work with inner city girls. Currently, she works for an organization called Urban Mountain Adventures. They introduce inner city girls to activities such as hiking, climbing, kayaking and camping. In the process, they help them to see a world beyond the limitations of the inner city and their circumstances and the generational mindset that is passed down to them. She lives in their neighborhood and interacts with them on a regular basis. From her perspective, she sees both sides of the issues that arise with regard to government intervention versus privatization of every aspect of our society. She lives on the pinnacle of empathy and compassion as she attempts to help these teenage girls see a broader world with the hope that they will want to have a better life because of their expanded perspective. I recall she once told me that she has to let go of expectations when she works with these girls. She has had to learn that they will not move forward by leaps and bounds, but rather she must find satisfaction in seeing them take tiny steps toward that broader perspective.
These opportunities to interact with these like-minded people over the past few weeks, and the richness of our conversations about their passion projects, has shown me that I am not flying solo. There are many others who believe that we can make a difference in the world through living our lives with passion and purpose in service to others. Their stories will hopefully encourage my readers and my website visitors to follow their examples.
I am excited to see who I meet next.
Note: After many failed attempts at meditation, I decided to take the advice of music mogul, Russell Simmons, who wrote Success Through Stillness. He suggests setting a timer for twenty minutes and sitting still regardless of distracting thoughts. I wrote after each session to create this thirty-day blog series.