Fruition Coalition: The Year in Review

Thanks for being a part of the Fruition Coalition in 2012!

At this time of year, I like to reflect on what has been accomplished. This year, the Fruition Coalition:

  • Was re-energized by the founding director (me) leaving the material and psychological security of my  full time job
  • Published 139 blog posts on The Activist’s Muse
  • Launched the Fruition Academy of Social Imagination and Action
  • Held two webinars: Teaching, Learning, and Transformation & Social Reciprocity…total attendance was 58 people in four countries on three continents
  • Temporarily suspended the Fruition Academy of Social Imagination and Action due to intellectual and financial sustainability concerns and therefore did not conduct the two webinars I was most excited about — Existential Leadership and Quantum Theory for Activists
  • Launched Le Salon Utopique, an online community for progressive activists
  • Worked with an intern from University of Maryland to organize the Changemaker Chat section of the blog (thank you Kerry!)
  • Launched the Social+ campaign to promote extending the idea of carbon neutrality to all of our micro and macro social actions
  • Completed two program development projects with local organizations

As for me personally (but in a professional sense), I:

  • Participated in three presentations at the International Leadership Association
  • Started blogging for Huffington Post
  • Experienced tremendous self-doubt and anxiety — which was at times freeing and at other times paralyzing
  • Learned to feel more comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty
  • Tutored two students in statistics, revealing the need for simple, easy to understand statistics instructions which I have yet to find online or in textbooks (perhaps I can find a way make stats fun!)
  • Taught an Introduction to Fundraising class for the second time
  • Worked as a research assistant for an awesome, brilliant professor
  • Read a ton of amazing books and papers and added much to my reading list which now includes almost 4,000 books and several hundred papers
  • Narrowed down the topic for my dissertation, which is now looking something like the myths of social justice leadership
  • Did not for one moment regret my decision to make the major life transition to become self-employed, despite the emotional and financial challenges (“That which does not kill us makes us stronger” — F. Nietzsche)

Tomorrow, I will reveal the Fruition Coalition’s plans for 2013!

Looking back on the past year, what have been your highlights?

Defining and Realizing Success

The Sociological Images blog recently posted an article referencing the Pew Research Center’s report, The Causalities: Faith and Hard Work in Capitalism. The first extracted chart shows how people view the relationship between hard work and success. In the United States, 77% of respondents indicated that they believe success will come to those who work hard.

My immediate reaction was to think of all of the other factors that influence the achievement of success such as education, opportunity, and access to resources. I have experienced first hand the superimposed barriers that have prevented me from seeing a direct relationship between my immense hard work and my perceived success. I have worked full+ time while pursing five degrees over the past 18 years — hard work indeed. Yet, I have not reaped the financial rewards that one might expect to accrue to a person who has demonstrated consistent dedication to her professional field. In fact, my standard of living remains overwhelmingly simple.

But then I started to think more deeply about this topic. I realized that my immediate definition of success was limited to economic return. Truly, I do not have such a myopic view of success. Rather, I define success as being happily engaged in work, feeling peaceful, experiencing loving relationships, feeling a strong spiritual connection, and having the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to my community. By these measures, I am truly successful and can choose to be at any moment in time. I further realized that my economic view of success was short term; perhaps this is influenced by our political system and instant gratification culture. Over time, particularly once I complete the doctoral program in which I am currently enrolled, I can expect some financial return based on my competence, experience, education, and — yes –my determination and hard work. I can translate my inner self into material manifestation through my action. This is what it means to be a leader.

I also appreciate that there are many people who have not seen the challenges in their lives through the same lens as me and those who have been systematically disadvantaged for many more reasons than me. Those barriers — both personal and political — must be removed so that every American, and everyone around the world, can realize her or his potential. Success will come to those work hard if we redefine the meaning of success, focus on a long-term perspective, and persistently pursue our individual and collective dreams. Starting now.