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A letter to tomorrow

24 Aug 2009

I had no idea today would be so challenging. My mistake was believing today would be just like yesterday, only a little different. Now that I'm here, living in this moment, the currents of now have proven to be unpredictable.

Have you ever experienced an overwhelming day?

Even if you perceived it coming, your psychological defense mechanisms may have blinded you from preparing properly. Adapting to drastic dynamic life changes can be a monumental under taking. So instead of accepting the warning signs as evidence of the coming storm, we bury our heads in the sand, or at least some of us do.

I just completed reading a short and rebellious book by renowned blogger Seth Godin. Tribes reads much like a series of Seth's blog posts (that's how he creates), so it's fast and full of challenging statements. But what I took away from the read is that anyone can lead, but not everyone has the passion, endurance, and willpower to give that much to a group. New media rules allow anyone to develop their own daily editorials (blogs), tv channels (YouTube), or real time communication platforms (open social media). What does Tribes have to do with reacting to tomorrow?

Leaders of new organizations instigate change as opposed to being subject to it. They disrupt the status quo, and force other groups and old orders to adapt to the new norm or fade into oblivion. The new norm itself is imagined, as the global dynamism of economic and social systems is increasing it's rate of change. Even in a lagging economy, the disruptor startups, open source projects, and other new tribes are growing faster.

The first common rule to belonging or leading a new community, is that passivity results in excommunication. If you're not passionately supporting a community vision, you're not really a member of that community. Some organizations will accept fringe or token support, but never can they accept that type of leadership.

The most engaging, and visionary group members recognize that leadership is an ongoing challenge, and recognize that there are leaders at all levels of the tribe. "Flat" organizations place no community members on a pedestal, all must contribute and listen to the input of others. Whether you decide to lead or contribute to each of your favorite communities is entirely up to you. The gatekeepers to authority are imagined and in danger of being bypassed by more agile groups unless they adapt (a challenge for groups that are bound together by old rules).

Take a few moments today to plan for leading and really giving to a more vibrant tomorrow. Today's challenges may appear daunting, but that's only because you're reacting to a changing world by fighting to propagate inflexible or unguided tribes. Seek out a clear path, rally others to your cause, and give your energy to communities that are able to instigate positive change.

Dear tomorrow,
We the leaders and dedicated change makers are coming for you. We did our best with today, but our energies are focused on evolving you and your predecessors to better fit our vision of a healthier and more productive present.