Stop Staying Small

  • February 8 2018

How to avoid the asshole trap and become the visionary you were meant to be

This post is part of the series on Lessons Learned in Achieving Your Vision

We can learn a lot from Neville

Remember Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter? He went from shy and nerdy to avenging hero: demolishing a bridge full of death eaters, retrieving the sword of Godric Gryffindor and destroying the horcrux snake Nagini. But most importantly, he built Dumbledore’s Army.

True power, the kind that moves people, is about building relationships. I cannot stress this enough. When you share your personal story and inspire action in another person, you are building a relationship with them.

Philanthropy can be a hustle. In our current time, a lot of non-profits focus on scavenging dollars. But working toward social good is most effective when our desire to do good shines through, we recognize the value in others, and invite them to join our team.

The process is simple, but never easy

There is a formula, and here is how it works: You have a vision. Write it all down and get as clear as possible as to what that looks like. Here are some tips on holding the space for your vision.

You aspire to success, which is the realization of your vision. Your talents are the vehicle, your vision is the destination. Other people are your path.

It helps to stand behind an issue. When I was speaking in front of thousands of people about my experience as a gay veteran, I felt very exposed. But I could stand behind the broader movement for gay rights, and know that I would be helping young service members like myself gain acceptance and be judged on their merits.

Sharing your personal story is incredibly effective. It activates the empathy of your audience, and is inherently authentic. Being vulnerable enough to let your true self be seen will resonate with them because people care less about what you think and more about how you feel.

Cultivate a high emotional intelligence. This involves putting yourself in the shoes of others. Ask yourself, Who am I speaking to? Why should they help me? Sure, you have a compelling story and we all want more truth and justice in the world, but what are you offering them? Catharsis? Transformation? Meaning? An opportunity to make their lives better?

Once you figure out what motivates the people you interact with, you will become infinitely more effective.

This requires getting curious!

Relationship-building is a challenging, yet additive process

When you change someone from a passive observer to a fierce advocate, the real magic happens. Because your voice is amplified. The only thing people in power respond to is power. And power is having dozens, hundreds, thousands, and millions of people who support you. That’s all it is.

This process is a long haul, however. Congressman Rick Larsen represents the 2nd district in Washington state. When I was involved in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal effort, he was my representative and he sat on the powerful House Armed Services Committee. When I first contacted his office, he wouldn’t commit to taking a stand in support of repeal. I wanted him to become a cosponsor of the legislation that had recently been introduced into the House of Representatives.

What did I do? I knew I needed to become relentless. I organized letter writing campaigns to his office. I wrote letters to the editor of the local paper calling him out. I showed up to his town halls and campaign events and spoke up. I organized an in-district meeting with him and a retired Admiral, Colonel, and other activists involved in the movement. I had to get strategic.

And you know what? Within months I was on a first name basis with his staff. They offered me a job campaigning for Rick (I declined, wanting to focus on the issue and remain impartial). Within a year his office called me personally to tell me that he was signing on as a cosponsor of the repeal legislation.

He advocated for us in Congress. He was in a powerful position, and magnified our voices.

In 2011 Congress repealed the law, and I was invited to watch President Obama sign the repeal bill. I was milling around the floor and suddenly I saw Rick. He surprised me with a big hug and took a picture with me and Colonel Grethe Cammemeyer, who had helped me get Representative Larsen to “yes”.

We convinced him to fight with us and for us by sharing our stories and holding him accountable. The process brought us closer through shared purpose.

Avoid the asshole trap!

Unlike being driven entirely by a meaningful vision, the asshole is driven by ego. I’ve seen this happen in activism many times. While you still have the potential to realize success and promote your personal brand, so long as your ego is driving, it’s working against you.

It’s even possible to ultimately achieve your vision, but the path is littered with people you used and alienated along the way. This is to say nothing of the enemies you’ve made, who will stand against you and try and thwart your efforts.

Once you need help, doors will close. People who were attracted by your success, fame or money will abandon you once these run out. If they were only putting up with you to begin with, what do you have to offer them now?

Even in the world of social justice, I’ve seen the damage done by ego. I participated in one project where some members of the team created drama, oozed toxic attitudes, and exhibited contempt for others who were working toward the same goal.

Such behavior demeans your allies and compromises your mission. Tell your ego to take a hike.

Staying small

The recording in your head will try to convince you that you are not enough. Don’t listen. Do something. Every single time that voice speaks up, counter the negativity by taking action, any action. Sometimes an ego boost is necessary. Talk to one of your mentors, collaborators or fans. Sometimes you need self-care. Address your own needs or you will be useless in serving the needs of others

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! We all need it, especially navigating the new and wondrous world of online activism.

Be fierce with your vision! You must develop resilience around the people who will try to discourage you or tear you down. Keep your allies, and those who nourish you, close.

Whatever you do, don’t give up! We really are counting on you to be big, be bold, and bring your vision to life. We will all be better for it.

Check out more Lessons Learned in Achieving Your Vision:

Holding the Space for your Vision

Talking to People

  1. Pingback:

  2. Pingback:

  3. Pingback: stromectol for sale for humans

  4. Pingback: chelovek soznaniye mozg

  5. Pingback: psy

  6. Pingback:

  7. Pingback: ivermectin studies

  8. Pingback: stromectol prescription

  9. Pingback: Link

  10. Pingback: meritroyalbet

  11. Pingback:

  12. Pingback: 1platter

  13. Pingback:

  14. Pingback: Psikholog

  15. Pingback: buy liquid ivermectin

  16. Pingback:

  17. Pingback: hd-tor-2022

  18. Pingback: film-tor-2022

  19. Pingback: tor-lyubov-i-grom

  20. Pingback: 01211

  21. Pingback: 3NOZC44

  22. Pingback: 3Hk12Bl

  23. Pingback: chelovek-iz-90-h

  24. Pingback:

  25. Pingback: Øêàëà òîíîâ

  26. Pingback: SHKALA TONOV

  27. Pingback:

  28. Pingback:

  29. Pingback: D6tuzANh

  30. Pingback: qQ8KZZE6

  31. Pingback: DPTPtNqS

  32. Pingback: bahis siteleri

  33. Pingback: ivermectin near me

  34. Pingback: uels ukrain

  35. Pingback: psy online

  36. Pingback: slovar po psihoanalizu laplansh

  37. Pingback: moskva psiholog online

  38. Pingback: projectio

  39. Pingback: psy-

  40. Pingback: stromectol ivermectin buy

  41. Pingback: use of ivermectin

  42. Pingback: cialis online pharmacy

  43. Pingback: ivermectin cream cost

  44. Pingback: cialis otc

  45. Pingback: topical ivermectin cost

  46. Pingback: child porn

  47. Pingback: stromectol 3mg cost

  48. Pingback: buy liquid ivermectin

  49. Pingback: fda ivermectin

  50. Pingback: best price for cialis 20mg/day walmart

  51. Pingback: ivermectine vente libre

  52. Pingback: eurocasino

  53. Pingback: eurocasino

  54. Pingback: meritroyalbet

  55. Pingback: ivermectin generic

  56. Pingback: ivermectin 3mg dose

  57. Pingback: what is ivermectin used to treat

  58. Pingback: ivermectin 90 mg

  59. Pingback: luckyland slot

  60. Pingback: madridbet

  61. Pingback: ivermectin for dogs

  62. Pingback: tadalafil online india

  63. Pingback: ivermectin 3 mg

  64. Pingback: stromectol tab price

  65. Pingback: stromectol order online

  66. Pingback: eurocasino

  67. Pingback: eurocasino

  68. Pingback: ivermectin 3

  69. Pingback: tadalafil citrate

  70. Pingback: covid ivermectin

  71. Pingback: lasix pills for sale

  72. Pingback: website

  73. Pingback: meritking

  74. Pingback: meritking

  75. Pingback: meritroyalbet

  76. Pingback: ivermectin 6mg

  77. Pingback: stromectol where to buy

  78. Pingback: stromectol 3mg

  79. Pingback: order ivermectin 12mg

  80. Pingback: celebrex mi

  81. Pingback: buy ivermectin 3mg otc

  82. Pingback: ivermectin cost canada

  83. Pingback: stromectol online

  84. Pingback: injection augmentin

  85. Pingback: drug augmentin

  86. Pingback: cefdinir resistance

  87. Pingback: ivermectin use in humans

  88. Pingback: buy ivermectin for sale

  89. Pingback: generic form of cialis

  90. Pingback: ciprofloxacin treatment

  91. Pingback: buy tadalafil online

  92. Pingback: keflex useage

  93. Pingback: ivermectin 0.1 uk

  94. Pingback: stromectol covid 19

  95. Pingback: ivermectin 6mg online

  96. Pingback: mexico ivermectin

  97. Pingback: stromectol price in india

  98. Pingback: online ivermectin

  99. Pingback: online casino real money free

  100. Pingback: prescription cialis uk

  101. Pingback: stromectol dosage scabies

  102. Pingback: clindamycin mechanism

  103. Pingback: buy tadalafil online

  104. Pingback: rx pharmacy generic viagra

  105. Pingback: cialis goodrx

  106. Pingback: cialis pills for men

  107. Pingback: ivermectina oral

  108. Pingback: casino games online for money

  109. Pingback: ivermectin 50ml

  110. Pingback: ivermectin 500ml

  111. Pingback: borgata rewards

  112. Pingback: cialis coupon

  113. Pingback: cialis tadalafil tablets

  114. Pingback: trcasino

  115. Pingback: viagra uten resept

  116. Pingback: free online casino real money

  117. Pingback: cialis online pharmacy

  118. Pingback: buy generic viagra in india

  119. Pingback: side effects for prednisone

  120. Pingback: meritrroyalbet

  121. Pingback: purchasing ivermectin

  122. Pingback: child porn

  123. Pingback: what is cialis

  124. Pingback: cialis bula

  125. Pingback: 2reductions

  126. Pingback: 2respond

  127. Pingback: 2cracking

  128. Pingback: 1artery

  129. Pingback: 2constraints

  130. Pingback: how to get cialis prescription

  131. Pingback: molnupirivir

  132. Pingback: cost of cialis prescription

  133. Pingback: buying prednisone online

  134. Pingback: prednisone 20mg 4 days

  135. Pingback: where to buy cialis

  136. Pingback: online generic cialis canada

  137. Pingback: cialis goodrx

  138. Pingback: how to buy sildenafil pills

  139. Pingback: purchase sildenafil pills

  140. Pingback: history of ivermectin

  141. Pingback: cialis prescription

  142. Pingback: viagra or cialis

  143. Pingback: best tadalafil

  144. Pingback: sildenafil citrate tablets

  145. Pingback: tadalafil generic

  146. Pingback: best buy cialis online

  147. Pingback: generic cialis pills on line

  148. Pingback: tadalafil prix

  149. Pingback: stromectol 0 5 mg

  150. Pingback: where to order generic viagra

  151. Pingback: can i buy cialis in mexico

  152. Pingback: generic viagra without subscription

  153. Pingback: ivermectin prescription

  154. Pingback: cialis without a doctor prescription

  155. Pingback: generic for cialis

  156. Pingback: ivermectin 90 mg

  157. Pingback: provigil cephalon buy

  158. Pingback: provigil online europe

  159. Pingback: cheap cialis

  160. Pingback: canadian generic tadalafil online

  161. Pingback: cost of cialis without prescription

  162. Pingback: buy prednisone pills

  163. Pingback: cialis with dapoxetine

  164. Pingback: tadalafil cialis

  165. Pingback: stromectol price

  166. Pingback: ivermectin coronavirus

  167. Pingback: ivermectin 0.08%

  168. Pingback: buy ivermectin canada

  169. Pingback: defeat the mandate dc

  170. Pingback: meritroyalbet

  171. Pingback: meritroyalbet

  172. Pingback: meritroyalbet

  173. Pingback: flccc ivermectin

  174. Pingback: flccc ivermectin

  175. Pingback: tombala siteleri

  176. Pingback: tombala siteleri

  177. Pingback: tombala siteleri

  178. Pingback: cheap ventolin generic usa

  179. Pingback: trcasino

  180. Pingback: ivermectin nz

  181. Pingback: stromectol south africa

  182. Pingback: viagra sans ordonnance au quebec

  183. Pingback: generic viagra india

  184. Pingback: cialis tubs

  185. Pingback: generic ivermectin for humans

  186. Pingback: best albuterol

  187. Pingback: elexusbet

  188. Pingback: trcasino

  189. Pingback: eurocasino

  190. Pingback: buy ivermectin

  191. Pingback: madridbet

  192. Pingback: elexusbet

  193. Pingback: sildenafil 50 mg tablet buy online

  194. Pingback: eurocasino

  195. Pingback: viagra manufacturer

  196. Pingback: madribet

  197. Pingback: meritroyalbet

  198. Pingback: meritking

  199. Pingback: meritking

  200. Pingback: canadian pharmacy cialis 5mg

  201. Pingback: sildenafil citrate - 100 pills 100mg

  202. Pingback: viagra pills

  203. Pingback: live online casino for us players

  204. Pingback: minocycline 100 mg pills online

  205. Pingback: zithromax over the counter walgreens

  206. Pingback: ivermectin 6 mg online

  207. Pingback: can you buy sildenafil otc

  208. Pingback: generic tadalafil online 20mg buy

  209. Pingback: where to get male viagra over the counter

  210. Pingback: stromectol 12mg for sale online

  211. Pingback: over the counter hydroxychloroquine for sale

  212. Pingback: cialis prescription online canada

  213. Pingback: online doctors prescriptions for pain

  214. Pingback: over the counter sildenafil

  215. Pingback: original viagra

  216. Pingback: dosage for ivermectin

  217. Pingback: stromectol dosage for lice

  218. Pingback: what is clomiphene

  219. Pingback: stromectol msd

  220. Pingback: ivermectin price in bangladesh

  221. Pingback: buying ed pills online

  222. Pingback: ivermectin generic name

  223. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine dosage

  224. Pingback: where can i buy a viagra

  225. Pingback: ivermectin half life humans

  226. Pingback: ivermectin uses

  227. Pingback: all about stromectol

  228. Pingback: cuanto sale el viagra en la argentina

  229. Pingback: cialis en ligne

  230. Pingback: how to take cialis pills

  231. Pingback: deltasone 20mg near me

  232. Pingback: cialis sale philippines

  233. Pingback: ivermectin 12 mg 5 cc

  234. Pingback: stromectol 6 for sale

  235. Pingback: ivermectin 12 mg dosage

  236. Pingback: stromectol e coli

  237. Pingback: where is priligy available

  238. Pingback: pharmacy ivermectil

  239. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine stock market

  240. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine for sale over the counter

  241. Pingback: houston doctor hydroxychloroquine

  242. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine prescribing information

  243. Pingback: Woke Up!

Leave a Comment


Become a better citizen today! You’ll be the first to get tips, guides to activism, and collaborative features that connect you with passionate folks in your local area.


Making Change

Learn how to become an effective activist by Converting, Collaborating and…

Braving the Wilderness: Speak Truth to Bullshit. Be Civil

The dangerous dismissal of truth in favor of emotional appeal…

Talking to People

Sharing your sacred vision with the world is necessary, but…

Welcome to WokeUp!

What is this blog for? Where do I start? Our…