This afternoon I met Faith. She greeted me with a warm smile as I walked through the familiar vestibule and into Rice Pot, a favorite Thai restaurant near my apartment in New Haven. We had never met before, but our mutual love for the natural world and all things circular had inspired her to reach out to me a couple of days ago.
Faith works at one of the largest and most influential companies in the world. When I asked her how she came to be working on circular economy projects within that particular organization, she simply responded, “I created my job.”
As we dug into delicious soup and curry, she told me how she had recognized the immense latent potential in the technology, data, and reach of the organization to solve for “waste”. Where so many of us would nurse a slow-simmering big idea, Faith leapt into action. She asked for – and was granted – the opportunity to research potential applications and connections that the company could build upon to create a more circular world.
I have been deeply engaged with the theory and practice of circular economics for years now. And yet, as Faith listened to me describe the vision for ATP, her face lit up time and time again as her mind made connections to the inspired work of dedicated folks I have never met (or even heard of). What’s more, she offered to connect me to them so we could begin conversations of our own. I commented that she was clearly a natural connector, to which she replied, “It’s my gift.”
Years ago, I heard Seth Godin describe the future as a “connection economy”, meaning that we would increasingly need nodal individuals and organizations willing and able to connect emergent ideas, individuals, and energies so they could, in his words, “create art, not plumbing”. As a practitioner, it would be far too easy for me to become wrapped up in the intervention that ATP is working on here in New Haven, celebrating small victories and struggling through setbacks. That’s why we all need friends like Faith – to remind us that we are far from alone in this work of transformation.
Now just imagine what our world will be like when everyone has the security to explore and hone their own gifts as she has, the opportunity to bring those gifts to the world, the courage of conviction to ask bold questions, and the humility to recognize that we are each but one ray of light in a brighter future.
I believe we will get there.
Thank you, Faith, for renewing mine today.