Curated by Komal: That Time I Saw Michelle Obama + Full Circle Moments
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My brain is tired.
There is something extra-exhausting about the process of creating something new. Whether it be art, business, or work projects — getting started, developing the strategic focus areas, business plans, social and distribution strategies, and everything else involved requires a high energy input. So as I write this week’s essay, I have a bit of a brain fog.
As entrepreneurs, it’s our responsibility to show up fully every single day. We have to stick through the routine and ‘slog’ of doing the work day-in and day-out, especially through the most ambiguous times. If we don’t, or if we give up too soon, we risk not bringing our greatest dreams, plans, projects, products, and hopes to life. That is quite possibly the worst fate for innovators and creatives. A dream that goes unrealized.
This may sound contradictory coming from me. I mean, I did have to take a good chunk of this year off to recover from being sick, being depressed, and being exhausted. To this I say: when we have the energy, inspiration, and motivation, it is our obligation to use it. Being sick taught me I cannot take life for granted. What I have today, may be up in the air tomorrow.
The fact that I have the privilege of good health again is a miracle to me, and so I am uncovering how best to leverage my gifts in this world from this place of wellness. Will I pump the breaks when necessary? Absolutely. But right now, I feel good, and this ’tiredness’ I know comes from a release of pent up dreams that I’ve been waiting a long time to release.
Now, here’s a story about the other reason I’m so tired:
Last night, I had a full circle moment. A friend suggested I check out a conference in Ottawa this weekend, and as I perused the agenda I noticed a familiar name, ‘Elizabeth Nyamayaro’. This is a women I have been following for years, and is the woman who created the #HeforShe movement through UN Women. On a whim, I sent her an email to go for dinner. She replied yesterday, countering with drinks. I accepted and joined her at her hotel bar.
Now the photo I shared a few weeks ago of me and Meghan Markle was taken at the #HeforShe unveiling in NYC in 2014 where Emma Watson gave her unforgettable speech (if you watch closely, you’ll see me in the video at 8:14!).
After that day, I dreamed of meeting the head of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (previously the Deputy Prime Minister of South Africa). She was speaking on a panel a few days later at another event in NYC so I went and was running late (as usual ;-)). So I put it out there in my mind: “Universe, God, whoever is looking out for me. Of all the people who could be outside this venue when I turn this corner, can you make sure she’s one of them?” As I turned the corner, I saw three people. Phumzile, her assistant, and someone she was speaking with.
My heart started racing.
I had an audacious idea I wanted to share with her. You see, this all happened before Dream, Girl came into my life, before I produced a feature-length documentary, and before I had anything more than stars in my eyes. I pitched her on letting me embed with Emma Watson as a documentarian to chronicle her journey around the world with UN Women, and I shared that I had a corporate partner who could potentially fund it (I had just come back from India on a sponsored trip where the company showed interest in supporting more of my work).
She didn’t call me crazy, and she didn’t write me off. She acknowledged my passion, and directed me to Elizabeth, the lead of the initiative and the woman who managed all the #HeforShe ambassador relationships.
The next day Elizabeth and I got on a call. She heard me out, and told me that Glamour UK would actually be reporting on Emma's travels, but that I should consider Meghan for the project as she was also travelling with the organization. After we hung up, I sent a quick follow-up and then was swept up in the whirlwind that was Dream, Girl. I followed #HeforShe from afar in the years that followed, until my fall tour stop in Waterloo last year where I discovered Waterloo was one of the universities that took on the 10x10x10 pledge as part of the movement.
When Elizabeth and I spoke, we discussed different projects and ideas. I shared with her the story about our phone call. She remembered. We both laughed. Some time later on in the conversation, she shared some info on a potential documentary and I offered strategic advice. As I reflect back on that moment, the circle feels complete.
My ability to reach out to the people I am pulled to connect with is my version of ‘creating’. Connecting, media creation, and movement building are at the core of my soul. I know I’ll be working on something incredible with Elizabeth soon (there’s a big idea brewing that Kylie and I will bring her way soon). Last night (and this morning, as I watched her speak), I was reminded of the power of dreaming.
Elizabeth shared with me that she plans to run for office in her home of Zimbabwe when she finishes her time at the UN. I looked at her in that moment when she told me and knew it would become reality. She spoke truth to her greatest dream, and with such conviction that the I know the gears are already in motion literally and spiritually, to ensure it happens.
I can’t wait to celebrate with her when it does.
My lesson from this for all of you? Don’t stop dreaming, and doing the work guys. You never know why some things happen (or don’t) until much later. Keep putting in the work, and be patient so you can eventually find out why. I’m sure it will be pure magic.
Signing off until next Tuesday at 9 am,
This week on the vlog I got to see the ultimate mom in action, aka MICHELLE OBAMA! *swoon*
Check out our new office, and what Rupi, Rakhi and I thought of the event!
Welcome to part 14 of a 20-part series we're publishing called, Your Moment of Ambition.
This week, we dive into all things social entrepreneurship and explore why women are statistically leading the charge for taking people, planet AND profit into account.
"It’s a model that challenges internal conflicts women often have about being paid for things they’re really passionate about."
Click here to check out this week’s post!
Tracee Ellis Ross wrote a children's book for the handsy man, since so many are struggling to understand what's professional (or even legal): "No, I won't sit on your lap. I shouldn't have to say this crap."
- The one and only Oprah Winfrey interviewed Jennifer Lawrence for the Hollywood Reporter and it's as fantastic as it sounds.
- Luvvie poses the question, "but WHY is Taylor Swift on the cover of Time?" and sums up the instinctual discomfort I felt when the cover was unveiled.
- Margaret Cho's Broadly profile, and how she feels about the silence breakers' generation after talking about sexual abuse for years.
- John Oliver grilled Dustin Hoffman on a sexual assault accusation against him, because "no one stands up to the powerful men."
Donating to the Ottawa Shoebox Project, an initiative that donates gifts to women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness over the holidays. It's a really impactful project with a goal to "enhance self-esteem and reduce feelings of isolation for women in crisis."
After a few months of travelling and event planning, Kylie and I are hunkering down to do the everyday work, and to plan for the impact we want to make in 2018. Stay tuned!