Being a Contribution

People want to be a contribution.

This comes from Art of Possibility. Ben tells a lovely story about biking where he got a flat tire. He went to a gas station to pump up the tire. The air pump costs $.25 or whatever. He didn’t have change. He asked if they could make change. They sadly said no. He asked if he could have $.25 then. And the man at the station lit up brightly and said, “yes!” This story is burned in my mind as a turning point where I began to believe people actually want to help and be useful. They just need the right invitation.

To have something to contribute to, it needs to be unfinished. So don’t finish that if you want help with it!

“In the age of participatory, nay, collaborative culture, as soon as something is finished it can’t be collaborative. If you want other people pitching in to make an idea work, software better, or actions more impactful…don’t dictate what should happen and push out what has been finished. Open with curiosity. Share vision and motivation…share ideas as rough sketches for group discussion.”

Of course, we worry about doing that will show our insides, our raw edges, our dare-we-even-say-it weaknesses. It makes us vulnerable. But wait, what if vulnerability is good? What if being vulnerable is actually a sign of strength? What if being vulnerable means you are strong enough to endure the consequences instead of needing to protect yourself all the time?

Brene Brown’s lovely talk on Vulnerability:

Brene Brown Vulnerability

How are you being vulnerable enough to share what is unfinished and ask other people to be a contribution?


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