Why is this our goal?
First, why “heal the world?” Because the world is broken in so many deep ways. The country I live in is built on white supremacy and colonialism and patriarchy and those systems are all still deeply ingrained. My country is not unique in this. The whole world is warped by these toxic systems. They are driving us towards irreversible climate change, inability to handle global pandemics, and increasing wealth disparities. It is not enough to make incremental changes. We must figure out how to completely rethink how we engage with each other and our world.
So why not have our goal be to heal the world directly? Because that reeks of white saviorism. Rethinking how we engage means rethinking who is centered, who is making decisions, who is being prioritized. Even if Versatackle had the best possible representation on our team (and we don’t yet), we still wouldn’t want to concentrate power needed to heal the world. We don’t want to maintain our power and privilege, we want to use it to carve out a space where there is room for all the people who need to be part of this to gather.
It needs to be inclusive, which means that people who are typically marginalized need to feel centered, welcomed, and provided for.
It needs to be accessible with regards to disabilities and money. It has to work with the technology people already have. It has to function consistently.
It needs to be consent oriented.
It needs to encourage and reward vulnerability and asking for help, and growth.
There is more it needs, for sure. But we aren’t trying to define everything we need up front. We are trying to take what we know and build, and listen, and learn, and grow.
Honestly, the answer is mixed. In particular, I’m struggling right now with trying to live up to these ideals while also not completely freezing in place because I know it is impossible to fully live up to them. If I do nothing, I will fail. At the same time, I’m terrified I’ll reinforce the systems I want to be part of dismantling when I act.
To build with integrity, your means have to match your ends. So, I will be vulnerable, and ask for help.
How’s everyone doing? I’m… not doing great. I’m not doing terribly, either. I’m in a weird middle zone where I have lots of good things in my life and also when I sit down to work, I’m finding it harder every day. I wonder how many of you are out there feeling the same way?
There was this brief, beautiful moment this spring when it seemed like maybe we were heading towards the end of the tunnel. The pandemic certainly wasn’t over, but we could get vaccinated and start opening ourselves up again. And then things got worse again. I took a vacation and came back and instead of feeling refreshed I feel… dragged down.
I know that doing a startup is all about trying and failing and learning and doing it again until you make something that people really want. And I want to do that, very much. And also, I really, really don’t. I don’t want to reach out to people, even though I know I need people so much right now. I don’t want to get feedback, even though feedback is vital to building. I don’t want to exercise, even though I know how good it is for me. I don’t want to work on my house, even though that’s normally something that brings me fulfillment.
Maybe the answer is as simple as forcing myself. But that has never been my road to success. I’m an extrovert with strong signs of adult ADHD. I need community. I need structure. I need out of this endless slog of staying at home to make everyone safer.
I don’t know if this resonates with any of you. I’m guessing it does, because, well, I don’t think what I’m experiencing is that atypical.
What I most want to do is hide. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the answer. I’m pretty sure the answer involves asking for help. And offering help. So, here’s my wish list and here’s my offer list:
Despite how much help I could use right now, I also have a lot I can offer. Other people’s problems are so much easier than my own.
I know vulnerability is where real power and creativity come from. I know failure is a source of incomparable learning and opportunity for growth. I also know I need help, and helping others also brings me clarity. So please help. Or ask for help. I think there are a lot of us struggling right now. And I think a lot of us have so much to offer.