Living Your Mission When Others Can’t See Your Vision

INTRODUCTIONS

Before we get into the Main Event, let’s do an introduction. If you’ve been through this song and dance or you have a short attention span (hey, I get it) feel free to jump straight to the Main Event.

Hello, my name is Yasmine Smith and I have the great pleasure of being MEASURE’s Chief of Development. So, what is MEASURE you may ask? Well here’s us in a snap-shot. If you’re more a visual person, there’s a video below!

ORGANIZATIONAL DESCRIPTION

Motto: Numbers You Can Trust

Mission: MEASURE’s mission is to bridge divisions through data and public education in active partnership with local communities to address complex social problems.

Objective: MEASURE’s objective is to leverage quantitative and qualitative information, in the form of research and education, as a tool to bridge divisions and empower communities to address complex social problems. We ask impacted communities to become active participants in the process of changing the statistics.

WHAT WE DO…

MEASURE seeks to change behaviors, laws, policies and ordinances as they pertain to interactions with people of color. The organization’s work is data driven as it strives to use fact-based research and advocacy on behalf of certain segments of the populace. MEASURE’s efforts are innovative within the ecosystem of social justice entities as it encourages people of color to be the data collectors and storytellers.

Far too often biased data feeds the narrative about marginalized communities. MEASURE seeks to empower people impacted by substandard data and the related narrative by allowing the people to own the information gathered about them, and to tell their own story unabridged.

MEASURE uniquely partners with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), local community colleges and other colleges and universities to create a new pipeline of Black and Brown researchers and data storytellers.

THE PEOPLE WE SERVE

MEASURE seeks to serve underrepresented communities primarily in Austin, TX as well as other cities across the world through shared research, best practices and community participatory action events.

WHO ARE THE PEOPLE OF MEASURE?

MEASURE’s staff is made up predominantly of volunteers. We have lawyers, doctors, activists, police officers, students, professors, web designers and technology experts on our team. When authorized, MEASURE volunteers may serve as independent contractors. We also have a full C-Suite who are co-founders of the organization that serve as researchers and planners. MEASURE is committed to building a demographically diverse team of people who believe in the power of solid data to address problems.

The Main Event

Ok. So you’ve got this amazing idea for a venture or project in your venture. You’ve created your proposal and created your timeline. You’ve even been able to wrangle in a couple of prominent partners based on the dream alone. But know it’s time to put it into action and when you’re a social entrepreneur there comes a time where you must (sooner rather than later) go into the community you seek to serve to propose how you want to help.

There’s a couple ways this can go.

  1. Everyone loves it and is throwing money at it(if this is you please go ahead and feel free to send me some of your magic elixir — I can pay you in positive affirmations and home-cooked soul food). This is a great place to be because the contributions of others, economic or otherwise, can evolve your project to be even better than you imagined.
  2. You get silent nods with no input. Not the worst thing in the world, but not exactly helpful either.
  3. You get pushback. And not that, “I like this, but maybe try this” type of pushback — honest to goodness “this isn’t going to work” pushback.

If you’ve received one or both of the first two continue to push on, but as always be weary of tunnel vision. This blog is going to be focused on that third occurrence — when there is pushback that threatens to steal your steam.

So Now What?

  1. Don’t Take It Personally

In our work of heartwork, sometimes we can become so enthralled with our venture that we hold it closely to our hearts. When you get naysayers, it may feel like they’re attacking you. Spoiler alert, they’re not. Separate yourself from your work and try to understand the points they are raising without losing your poker face. Ask questions and understand where they are coming from.

2. Use What You Got

Though you may not see at first glance, pushback is a good thing. That mean the person actually took the time to digest your proposed course of action and now has thought about it so critically that they have specific nuances they want to discuss. Get a piece paper, listen, and WRITE DOWN the critiques. Then take some time away and come back to them. Look at the pushback with fresh eyes and figure out what can be done to iron out the concerns raised. Maybe your project actually does address their concerns, but the way you’re articulating that doesn’t do the job. It could be all about framing. Or it could be an actual flaw in your course action. Whatever the case, don’t forego the best project you’re capable of because you’re too prideful to take a bite out of humble pie.

3. Trust Your Vision

Mama always told me, “if you don’t have someone saying you’re doing something wrong, you ain’t doing nothing really worth doing”. That’s to say — when you’re doing something new and revolutionary, you’re going to have critics. Take time to resolve pushback that is valid, sure, but know what’s founded and what’s just feelings. At the end of the day this is YOUR project. As long as you stay true to your mission, others will just have to wait for the dust to clear and moves are made to see your vision play out in real time.

Afterword

MEASURE Highlights for the Week

  1. Project proposal completed for the Equity Through Advocacy (ETA) Tour on “Jonesday.
  2. Initial partners confirmed for ETA — “Jonesday.
  3. Meeting with community stakeholders in the “Jonesday” community.

MEASURE Asks for the Week

  1. Any resources that can contribute to our mission (hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge — you can donate here).
  2. Feedback on this or other blogs produced on behalf of MEASURE. Seriously, I want to write what you’ll read so drop a line and let me know if any of these blogs were helpful or you just enjoyed reading!
  3. Share, like, subscribe and all the other social medias lingo! You can connect here!