Inspiration in a blue tent (originally published August 8, 2013).
Through the years, I've found inspiration in nearly every experience, although it may not have been evident at the time.
One such experience was walking in the original Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk. This fundraising event was a 60-mile walk, starting in San Jose, California, and ending up on the Marina Green in San Francisco.
As with most of my life-altering experiences, this one was filtered through my personal lenses, not simply as a participant who trained for months ahead of time (with an old ACL injury nagging at the right knee), but also as a community-minded business woman and entrepreneur.
The event was run by Pallotta TeamWorks, founded by Dan Pallotta.
Dan, in my opinion, has got it dialed in, as far as what it is to be human – and kind.
Whether you agree with his philosophy/business approach, or not, the impact of this event on my life, personally, and as an entrepreneur made a lasting impression. I still have the t-shirt I purchased with PTW’s mottos: Humankind: Be Both, and I’mpossible, imprinted on it. And, I proudly wear that t-shirt, to this day (admittedly, it’s faded and a bit ratty).
If you watch Dan’s TED talk, where he focuses on social innovation and social entrepreneurship, you’ll see a point of view that literally moved me to tears. I watched Dan talk about the approach our culture – and especially our business world – has to charitable and humanitarian organizations in America. We’ve got it all wrong, in general. See if you agree. This has had an affect on me, personally. And that’s the whole point.
In fact, this backward cultural slant on non-profits and charity in general, is the reason why, on my LinkedIn profile, you don’t see the charitable events I’ve organized and participated in over the years, since I was a pre-teen.
But – I digress.
Back to my inspiration.
I was so touched, moved, and inspired by my experience with PTW (and yes, I completed the 60 miles without even a limp – ok, that’s a lie…I limped a little here and there and iced that knee each night in my tent), that the following year, I chose to really dig in and become a volunteer of a different sort – lunch crew. We went all out serving lunches to, and cheering on with dance music - the thousands of walkers along the route from San Jose to San Francisco. I convinced my (then) fiancé to join in and it was nothing short of magical for both of us and the volunteers we worked with.
That’s my M.O., actually. When I participate in a an event that fascinates me, I am led to go further and dig into the inner workings of that business, so that I can learn how people inspire and celebrate each other, in a way that also sustains economies in many forms. I was fascinated by Pallotta TeamWorks just as much back then as I am today, and I’d love to work alongside them before I kiss this planet goodbye.
Have you ever participated in an event or been with an organization that touched, moved, or inspired you?
Tell me about it here, and let me know what I might be missing. I’d love to know.