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  • Upstart CEO: “Outrage Outage”

    I’m not mad: I’m moving on.

    Something remarkable has happened over the last few years – or maybe it was the last few minutes, but it happened nonetheless: I’m not mad anymore.

    I don’t know if I’ve mellowed, or my perspective has redirected my ambition or serenity has duped me into proselytizing about a more peaceful and purposeful path, yet I don’t see things the way I use to see them – things that I would see when no one else saw them – rudimentary things that would piss-me-off, and I don’t hear things that would make me stop what I was doing – and sarcastically comment or cut my eyes in disdain. This is new the freedom – the freedom of letting go – the freedom of the “loss of outrage.”

    I have learned something ethereal – something so monumental – I will share it with you. ANGER DOES NOTHING.    Anger is a lie – a rapacious predator that always wanted me to become combustible on-demand, because something hadn’t worked out to my liking, which told me that as a fire-breathing dragon, I could not exist without  assigning blame or creating victims – so like a heat-seeking missile – I found victims: my managers, suppliers and vendors, the copywriter who handed me that piece of shit ad – the webmaster who knew more frontend than backend, the new receptionist who kept transferring to me instead of human resources – anyone with a story antithetical to the one I gave them – – to the story I needed for them to save the convenience of my day:  and now – somehow without my doing — I’m not mad and I’m moving on.

    I’ve been blessed to figure this out at a relatively young age, so I can make the contribution I was always supposed to make – to have the life and freedom that I didn’t know I wanted. What I learned was that my outrage was never about the thing I was mad about – it was about the culmination of many other things that slowly dripped and devolved into an outpour – things both independent, yet interconnected, and the outrage came from my own indifference or mismanagement of the thing, and now that the thing has become a real issue – something serious – I want answers – I want to know who the hell did this to me – and yet the answer always came back the same: it’s broke – because I broke it.

    Anger comes from a source of feeling powerless. I know this because powerlessness is deep rooted in fear – which I struggle with at times, not because I am particularly scared of anything, but because I think I am “supposed” to be scared of the unknown, which means loss of control. Yet life, abundant life is inherently about the unknown: trying out for the team, asking Lisa Morgan out on a date, picking a college – selecting someplace to live where I don’t know anyone – leaving a good job with great pay to start a new business with no pay — these are all things that exist with no manual – no instructions — but somehow I’ve survived them.

    The outrage comes from the fact that there are parts of me that didn’t think I was ever truly going to get the thing that I wanted, no matter what it was, no matter how big or small, so I settled – I settled and become mad as hell because I settled – mad as hell because I ended up with something that someone gets when they settle. So that’s part of the answer – don’t settle — push through towards your best self – towards a proposition bigger than you, even if you must make tradeoffs – but get there: hell or high-water – get there. The other part of the answer: be humble, a contributor – a connector – make yourself vulnerable enough to grow – resilient enough to fail all the time, so you can capture lightening in a bottle – strong enough to be soft with others.

    Most of the outrage came from the fact that I have had many chances to do remarkable things, but I blew them, because of ephemeral responses or a lack of one altogether. My outrage derived from a lack of advocation for myself – a dearth of advocation for those who were counting on me to advocate for them, and I would think that someone else was running away with my dream, and I would become hot, but deep down I knew that they didn’t take it from me – I gave it to them freely: I gave away my power – not the power to demolish – the power to build-up and breakthrough.

    Outrage is an intentional distraction – a premeditated disconnect, yet it often festers inconspicuously – it’s the reddest of all red-herrings, because I did want to accept responsibility for what had happened, yet I never did and then there would be big trouble. There were signs — deadlines missed, budget overruns and people working through silos, as opposed to collaboration, yet I did nothing when I recognized it, and I became red hot – because someone messed up and it cost us a new client – a current deal — it cost us our next stage financing – and I was outraged that this happened not so much to the company – but it happened to me.

    I was mad that I displayed no leadership: that when it was time to lead – I deferred: I — the ship’s captain, deferred to the cook to drive the boat during the storm – and once again, when it was time to lead – I wanted someone’s head for the boat running aground – – without wanting to identify how we even got here – still never getting around to determining how to fix the problem. That’s what outrage does: it takes you from one problem to another problem – never to a solution.

    So as I said, “I’m moving on.” With a new perspective, and now with more understanding and respect toward the context of a situation – I am learning to find not only solution in the middle of complication or crisis, but wisdom, relief and humanness in it – laughter in it – reset and revival in it. I’m learning to be my mother’s son all over again – not the guy, who wanted to become a wall street raider – my mother’s son who was a good kid, now a good man – a man now absent of outrage.

    I started Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals to create an amazing offering, so before I truly lead this enterprise to the next level – I must always focus on remaining my mother’s son through vision, peace, purpose, priority, community, compassion, context, flexibility, seriousness, laughter – leadership – leadership – the leadership to step out front and navigate the boat during the storm – the leadership to blend-in indiscriminately when celebrating success – leadership to be the very best I can today – because I can.

    I’m not mad: I’m moving on.

    Good Luck.
    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO

    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Note: I first saw the term, “Outrage Outage,” in a online Sports Illustrated (www.si.com) article by Steve Rushin. The article, “ Running Out of Scorn, was posted June 1, 2011.

    Filed Under: Gamechangers


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