Friday, March 29, 2013

Why Hate on a Giver?

"The greatest untapped source of motivation, he [Adam Grant] argues, is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other peoples’ lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves."

This week's New York Times Magazine will feature the article, Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead? by Susan Dominus. The article explores the work of Adam Grant, a Wharton professor, and author of the forthcoming, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success.

As the title and quote (above) suggest, the book is about how people's productivity at work increases when they are motivated by being of service to others, no matter the field.  According to the article, "The most successful givers... are those who rate high in concern for others but also in self-interest."

I enjoyed the article and look forward to reading the book. What astonished me was the amount of vitriol directed at Grant, and his work from the (at this writing) 145 commenters. Grant seems like an extreme giver, but he acknowledges it and recognizes that some of his giving comes from anxiety, and his fear of death. He's not perfect (no one is), so why in the world do people have to be so mean to someone who enjoys helping others? It made me sad.

After you read the article, I'd love to know:

What do you think made people direct so much anger towards this man and his work?

P.S. Blogging to Inspire starts next week!

Flickr photo credit: Just Give Me Water by Peter Korsh

Friday, March 22, 2013

Blogging to Inspire: Filling Up and Pouring Out

When I recently surveyed my Juicy Blogging eNews readers, I was moved by how many of them completed the sentence, "My big vision for my blog is:" with "to inspire others." The frequency of the response made me look up what to "to inspire," really means:
  • to influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural inspiration
  • to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence on
  • to spur on: impel, motivate 
I also looked up the etymology of inspire: enspiren:
  • to fill (the mind, heart, etc., with grace, etc.)
  • to prompt, or induce (someone to do something)
I realized that if we, myself included, want to be inspiring bloggers, we need to seek out experiences that inspire us, and create space in our lives to let inspiration move through us, into our posts, and out to our readers.

To help create that space, and to facilitate the bringing in, and sharing of inspiration, I've created a new e-course, Blogging to Inspire: Filling Up and Pouring Out, that will start on April 4th. If you know anyone who has a blog, and is struggling with figuring out what to write about, posting consistently, or feeling excited about their blogging, I hope you'll pass the course on to them.

If you're interested in the class for yourself, feel free to contact me with questions.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Cooking Matters

One of my favorite quotes comes from an episode of the TV show, Brothers and Sisters.
One of the daughters, Sarah (Rachel Griffiths), tells the mom, Nora (Sally Field), to stop chopping carrots for the family dinner as if everything is OK, and to instead focus on all of the bad things that are happening to their family.

Sarah says, "Carrots are not important right now."

Nora replies, "Sarah, you're wrong. You have to care about the carrots. It's the carrots and the onions and the celery that ground us. Nothing is more basic than that. When the whole world is shifting and changing, you've got to hold onto your carrots."

In a world that does feel a bit out of control (a Pope retiring, an asteroid falling, Congressmen who are unable to act like adults, mass shootings of little children, super storms), cooking is a simple and grounding pleasure for me.

Upwell lunch made from the office CSA box.
I've been wondering lately about the healing power of cooking, and if it can heal not just individuals' health, but also the health of communities, big and small.

I wonder what would happen if Congress had to cook and eat lunch together each day. I bet they would work better together.

They would have to negotiate what to make, purchase groceries (and see how much they cost and where they came from), figure out who would make what, work around dietary restrictions, and try each others' favorite regional dishes. And if they didn't do all of that, they would go hungry. No lunch for them! I bet that would motivate them to be more tolerant and to work together.

Just the other day at Upwell we were discussing, over a yummy lunch made by Upwell's Director, Rachel Weidinger, that we feel like we know each other better than some of the other teams we've worked with because we often cook and eat lunch together. Upwell's office has a full kitchen, and we receive a weekly CSA box. Rachel does most of the cooking, but team members take turns on occasion helping her to prep vegetables and stir beans while simultaneously discussing the day's work.

Cooking and sharing our cooking can connect us. In an Edible East Bay review of Michael Pollan's new book, Cooked, Kristina Sepetys writes (emphasis added),
"Using a wealth of historical detail, literary examples, artisan profiles, scientific study, personal anecdote, and references ranging from Homer to Claude Levi-Strauss, Pollan explains how cooking knits us up in a web of social and ecological relationships."
If as a country we worked together so that all people would have the time, skills, and access to the ingredients needed to cook real food (not processed), and to share it, we could transform our "health" on all levels.


If you want to jump start your VegCooking, join the VegCookbook Club as we cook through Vegan Brunch together in March. You can learn more about the VegCookbook Club on its about page, and in my recent interview on the Tranquility du Jour Podcast.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Raising Diapers with Social Media: Help a Mother Out Co-Founder, Lisa Truong

This month's Big Vision Podcast guest is Lisa Truong, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Help a Mother Out. Help a Mother Out is a grassroots organization that raises diapers and awareness, and advocates for long term change in the social safety net.

Lisa is a social entrepreneur with over 12 years experience in technology and nonprofit sectors. Her work has been featured in media outlets including Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, KQED's The California Report, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The San Jose Mercury News, as well as in national blogs including The Nation and The Huffington Post.

She is passionate about social innovation and technology used to change the world. Learn more about Lisa, and Help a Mother Out at, and follow her on Twitter at @helpamotherout.

You can listen and subscribe to the Big Vision Podcast via iTunes, or on the player below (if you are reading this via email, or rss and can't see the player click here to go to the original post). If you like the show, I'd really appreciate it if you took a moment to rate and review it on iTunes.

If you have suggestions for people I should interview, or for an organization that would like to sponsor the show, please email me at britt AT brittbravo DOT com.

Music: "Mango Delight," by Kenya Masala.  Connect with Kenya through CD Baby and Source Consulting Group.