It’s never the place.
It’s never the time.
However, as I continue to work my way through the business world, it has become more apparent than ever that this dated ideology no longer supports today’s workforce or who we are fundamentally as people. These ideals ultimately further detach us from each other professionally.
You would think after our stiff, 300-level course schooling about the human condition (global pandemic, experiencing collective tragedies and challenges) these dated practices might fall away.
But what would happen if we broke down the barriers a little bit?
At TEAM LEWIS I’ve had the privilege of immersing myself into work with TEAM LEWIS Foundation (TLF) to bring monetary and pro bono marketing support to non-profit organizations in both my hometown of Flint, Michigan and current home of San Francisco. With this opportunity I’ve gained experiences and skills that I could have never imagined – program leadership, video production and grassroots organizing, to name a few.
I’ve also been able to get a glimpse into what my colleagues care about, understanding their ‘why’ and painting a fuller, more holistic picture of folks I interact with daily.
What I’ve learned most through this program goes far beyond tactical skills. My work with TLF comes from a personal place, further connecting me to a purpose that broadens my horizons exponentially, drives my desire to learn new skills and processes and make new connections.
For me, I see opportunities like this as a prism.
I’m no scientist – but basically, when light enters a prism, it refracts, bending and shaping every which way until a rainbow is seen. There’s something special about how a stream of light can be changed within such a seemingly simple object and come out the other side more beautiful than before.
The way I see it? If you are searching for purpose, be a prism – take your own beaming light, find the thing that absorbs the best parts of you and use it to shine out into something even better.
Shine: Find Your Light
What gives you your spark, and what drives you to do better? Most often, we find these from past experiences. They are fundamental things that rock our world and change our perspective.
Ask yourself: On whose life can I make a meaningful impact? How can I give back to someone that has given something to me? How can I use my platform and skills I already have to elevate an important issue?
Start to find inroads for programs or organizations that are aligned with what is important to you. As people, we are much more inclined to do good things for others – clients, coworkers – when we feel that our own principles are aligned with it.
Absorb: Learn The Skills
While I’m handy with an iPhone, video production was not necessarily what I signed up for when I decided to work in Public Relations. Through this program we’ve been able to make award-winning marketing materials for our selected non-profit organizations, put heroes from these groups in front of local and national media to be recognized and engage in thoughtful community organizing to affect change where it matters.
By saying ‘yes’ to opportunities that interest you, you can gain hands-on skills that support the longevity of your work, that take you further than the present moment.
Put yourself in positions to learn something you haven’t been exposed to and add it to your toolbelt. Lean in, continue asking questions and be open to receiving the knowledge sent your way.
Refract: Be a Rainbow
Why not you?
There has never been a more appropriate time to wear your heart on your sleeve and allow who you are to be a light that shines through your work. Once you’ve honed in on your interests and gained the skills to support them – you’ve got the tools to put them into practice. Look for larger opportunities and make all the connections you can.
One of the more recent activations of TLF work coming to life is a mural activation in San Diego between two of our key organizations – one of which we’ve been supporting for over two years.
This project couldn’t have become the rainbow it is without a part of me saying ‘yes’ to sharing my connection to my hometown and its public art with my TEAM and then, the world.
As we look towards the future, I encourage individuals to infuse their interests together to see what great things can happen and for businesses to reflect not on how they can be an open door for their employees, but a prism for all the best parts of them.