Put me in a cubicle under florescent lights. Sit me in front of a computer all day, 7 1/2 hours on the dot exactly (no less). Do this, and my soul will wither.
I was made for relationships. My brain is wired for the big picture, long term strategies, and discussions over hot earl grey tea. I need fresh air to be creative, and cranking the wheel to ensure I am seated a full 40 hours at a desk stifles my passion.
Because it was how I was made.
I was brought up learning that nothing was given to you in life and that respect, friendship, and love all had to be earned. I was raised on the belief that you should love what you do, and find passion and meaning in your life. By the time I was 15 I had volunteered with, and fundraised for, probably over 35 or more different non-profits. Because that is how I was made.
My spirit was taught to fly free; my innovative mind was taught to try and fail, and then try again (and succeed because you learned). I breathe better when I am outside, and I find that my most compelling ideas are generated when I am drying my hair upside down. Why? Because it is how I am made.
I believe that social media can be used to truly form friendships, generate real discussion, and create collaboration all for the sake of positivity. Just ask my friend E: we met over a shared love of Dallas via Instagram. We’ve since formed a friendship not only online, but in person- meeting over coffee, lunch, and social gatherings where we have connected with other great and civic minded individuals. I have seen great conversation come to life over a company’s Facebook post and I have been inspired by countless blogs. I believe in relationships in unconventional settings. Why? Because it is how I have been made.
So don’t force me into a box. Don’t paint the walls around me a muted shade of beige and expect me to love it. Don’t tell me “no” continually and expect me to keep brining you new ideas. You can tame a lion, but then does it cease to be a lion at heart? When it’s ferocity is culled, it’s strength depleted, and it’s motivation removed is it little more than an oversized cat? Perhaps it has memories of long ago days where it was cherished for it’s roar and revered for it’s nature, but those memories do nothing more than make a mockery of who it is now.
So if I’m not sitting at my desk every day, all day, it is because I am forming relationships in a world that desperately needs connection. If my calendar is full of out-of-office blocks, it is because I believe in listening to others passions and seeking to help them find a place to interact. If I come in at 8:45 am instead of 8:30 am, it is likely because I was taking too long thinking of big plans to make a difference while drying my hair. Because I care.
I care because I was raised being taught that this world was given to us with a need for strong and wise stewards. I care because I have seen too many people hurt, bullied, and downtrodden by those who profit off their margins. I care because I still remember what it was like to go to one of those “free clinics” when I had no health insurance, and I weep for those that know only this. I care because the city I live in doesn’t just mean Prada boots and The Rustic and Fortune 500 companies- but because it also means hungry children and struggling high schoolers whose parents don’t speak english, and because the homeless men and women I see so often are in need of much more than a blanket or food. I care because it is so easy to disconnect from the realities around us and forget. Because this is how I was made.
So remember who I am before you try to change me, try to force me into a box that doesn’t fit. Remember that I am much more productive when I am around other bright souls who are willing to take risks. Remember that I am willing to go above and beyond the call of duty if you reward me- not in vacation days or bonuses, but in freedom. Freedom to take chances, freedom to work outside of the office bubble, freedom to do something new, and freedom to admit my mistakes without judgement. Remember where I came from, what I have seen, and who I have met- remember how I was made.
Because it is who I am today that will change tomorrow.