Getting Back on the Bike…
I don’t really remember what it felt like when I was trying to figure out a bicycle for the first time but I suspect I probably did not want to go near the bloody thing the first time I fell off of it.
I think we all felt that way and I think we all feel the same every time we stumble while trying to build something or overcome a challenge.
Ever since founding the Selfling Teen Support Foundation, I have learned something new every single day. Every… single… day. That fills the mental warehouse pretty quick. And some of these lessons are hard lessons to learn, I’m sure you’d understand.
Case in point, our crowdfunding campaign with Alberta Boostr recently ended vastly short of our goal. Add to that our coming up short at the Startup Calgary Launch Party semifinals. Wondering what to do next after a couple dumps like those was tough.
But not for a second did I ever doubt whether or not I should carry on.
Not for a second.
This whole path has been loaded with learning but it has been populated with these fantastic people who have seen the value in our mission. Not the least of which is Ryan Hnetka from the App Guys. Not many of you know about Ryan and his company. They actually built the Selfling Teen Support App. I did not have a lot to offer him but this idea and, frankly, who the heck was I? Some guy what showed up talking about teen support. But he believed in my idea. Long story short, we found a way that we could work together and I know he’s taken his company over and above the call of duty so that I can show people our tool to help bridge the gap between teens and support. While our arrangement does list him as a service provider, he is as much of the Selfling family as anybody.
During the Startup Calgary Pitch Night of October 18th, I think I pulled out all the stops and I was in fine form. Better than I’d ever been. So yes, it was a blow to not make it to the top 10 but I come out of it knowing that I did everything I could. I also think that resonated with people. One of those people is Kari Gordon from Startup Calgary who informed me that she did her best to try to curry the last bit of favour needed to bring us in. Why? Who was I? Didn’t matter. Kari and the team at Startup Calgary believed in me, in Selfling, and all the other 15 startups standing there at the mercy of 200 people in the Glenbow Museum’s Conoco Phillips Theatre.
What I guess I am getting to is that we have to remember that the biggest points in our lives are seldom built of single huge events. Rather, they are mosaics composed of various smaller events. Some so small we might miss them if we weren’t paying attention to them and their significance.
I’m reminded of my stepkids here. I think of my oldest who, after watching Akira with me earlier that year (masterpiece of anime, that), got me a stuffed Lightning McQueen and a jug of milk for Christmas.
My second oldest has a thing still of tagging me in some of the craziest, coolest, and bizarre things she sees in her internet travels. Even if they involve spiders and other creepy crawlies. That’s a big thing for her.
My youngest built me the largest box of apple juice in existence one year. Why? Dayjob Orchestra videos were my thing at the time. If you haven’t heard of them, I highly suggest such hits as “Happy in Paraguay” and “Stuff we found in the Dryer”. My stepdaughter didn’t really get it, but it didn’t matter.
These are each these small, seemingly trivial things that I have experience that have enriched my life and helped to bring me here. Looking back on these things, I can tell you – in the immortal words of Brandon Lee’s Eric Draven – nothing is trivial.
Paying it Forward
So maybe this is where I bring my rant back around from what I have learned to place it next to what I am doing.
I have discovered as much about myself to be able to tell you conclusively that I want to spend my life helping people. Where I may not have the exact know how to help in a specific instance, I would like to help people find that help. Or, in the case of the Selfling Teen Support Foundation, I want to help helpers find the young people who need help.
One of the scary things I heard way too much of was young people saying how alone they felt. There is no one to talk to and no one to help. No one understands.
It is not up to us to tell young people that they are wrong, that they aren’t looking, or they are being negative. We just have to work harder to drive the point home that we are here.
And we need to inspire more young people to be there for their peers too!
Whatever you do, however you do it, there is probably some way for you to be able to take your experience, your gifts, and share them with someone. If for no other reason than to simply share them. Give your time freely where you can. Even an hour. Help someone – especially a young someone – see the path. The path may be hard to walk but, hey, you did it. So show some of the steps.
Those are the things that make changes.
Next time on…
We have gained a little more traction with our experiences with Alberta Boostr and with the Startup Calgary Launch Party semifinals. We have made new connections and we have some important next steps. It is going to be an exciting time.
I think part of me really wanted to enroll everybody in this mission of mine so badly through our crowdfunding campaign and the pitch that the means became more important. Now they are out of the way and there is the work. The mission. For a little while I can get back with these important people who have helped me so far to get me where I am and we can start building our next phase. It should be good especially with some new blood in the mix.
*And at least I explained the weird featured image!