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My Revelation at Forbes 30 Under 30

Each of us signed a social contract to make this world a better place. It’s our responsibility and no one else’s. We have the power.

– Adam Foss, former assistant district attorney, Juvenile Division, Suffolk County

As I heard these booming words across the packed auditorium, from John Legend’s recent partner in activism, Adam Foss, I knew I was in the right place.

It was the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit, and I was there representing a greater conversation that my company InHerShoes and other fellow social organizations have been zealously engaging in at the forefront of our local communities: How can we shape the mindset of philanthropic organizations to empower a new generation to actually live their lives where passion and vocation intersect with world needs? And furthermore, how do we take local and global actions that demonstrate such?

As I sat listening to visionaries such as global magnate and founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson; WeWork CEO, Adam Neumann; and straight-shooter investor and Malala Fund co-founder, Shiza Shahid, I was shocked at what I found: What separated them from me was not a stage, a mic, and fame but simply bold actions yet to be taken.

Virgin Group’s global prowess would not be what it is today if it were not for Branson taking single action after single action despite pushback around his space explorations, failed businesses, and many people who disagreed with his ideas. WeWork would not have more than 120 locations in 39 cities, across 13 countries, boasting one of the largest co-working space enterprises today, if it weren’t for one action—an unreasonable request with a landlord. The Malala Fund would not exist if it weren’t for one woman’s brazen stand.

With no courage, there was no action; with no action, there was no performance; and with no performance there was no impact.

With speaker after speaker, I heard the same reoccurring theme: With no courage, there was no action; with no action, there was no performance; and with no performance there was no impact.

As the founder of an organization committed to catalyzing courage within an entire generation, I was both humbled and newly energized to find courage at the heart of conversation at the Forbes Summit. I also experienced doubt. Whether it’s how many “likes” on social media or how many rounds of funding, it is really easy to compare your life’s chapter 5 to someone else’s chapter 50 - It doesn't make sense or do any good to compare yourself when each person is on completely different paths and unique timelines in life.

When you choose to be courageous in one moment, you're not courageous 24 hours a day 7 days a week for every moment thereafter. You actually have to choose to be courageous.

Whether it’s a national spelling bee or a global conference, I have realized it is the human condition to fear not that we are inadequate, but rather that we are powerful beyond measure. As I began to see similarities between these global change-makers and myself, I also began creating reasons and justifications for why I could never possibly “be them” and accomplish the level of impact on the planet that I truly wanted. In that moment I discovered courage in a new way for myself. When you choose to be courageous in one moment, you're not courageous 24 hours a day 7 days a week for every moment thereafter. You actually have to choose to be courageous. When we discover something, it doesn't necessarily mean we're "done" discovering it. When I am courageous one day, I can also discover what being courageous can look like the next day, and the day after that. In that moment of fear, I was reminded, it takes courage to even dare to want to change the world. And it’s those crazy enough to believe they can make a difference who actually do so.

With the holidays here and the New Year just around the corner, the InHerShoes team and I are challenging ourselves to take on one courageous action a day. This holiday season I invite you to do the same. Whether it is finally starting that passion project, securing a seed fund, or making your next career or life pivot, how will you level-up and #CatalyzeCourage in 2017?

Business, Entrepreneurship, Leadership
Illuminate, career, personal growth, social impact

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