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Change the World

Change the World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

USGS Satellite photo of the San Francisco Bay ...

USGS Satellite photo of the San Francisco Bay Area. Light gray areas are heavily urbanized regions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5 Ways Your Passion Can Change the World
October 7, 2013

Don’t hide your passion. Lead with it! Here are five ways to cultivate
that excitement.

By Krys Freeman (Director of Systems + Technology, GreenBiz Group)

As women working in tech, our lives get heavy with the weight of
“keeping cool.”

We’re too good at it.

We’re predisposed to understand that if we’re women, we should be
prepared to work through sexism; if we’re women of color, we should be
prepared to work through racism and sexism. The key language, here,
being “work through.” We each develop our own unique ritual of getting
through the day: learning what we need to learn, teaching who we need to
teach, ignoring any hindrances to this process. We become skilled at the
art of representation – of both our ideas and ourselves – through calm
composure without ever stopping to think about what parts of ourselves
these processes leave behind.

How do I know this?  For over seven years now, I’ve been a woman
meandering in and out of mostly white male spaces; not so much wandering
as intentionally trying to keep up with – walking alongside and not
following – my passions. After graduating from Occidental in the throes
of a recession, and moving to the Bay Area from LA with literally
nothing, my passion for technology was how I pulled myself out of
poverty. I was able to get a job – and work through it – while also
creating a life for myself using self-taught tech in my spare time.

From Viral Marketing Coordinator at a sustainable retail startup
(slightly too ahead of its audience at its launch), to Webmaster &
Technology Coordinator at Sustainable Life Brands, then Director of
Systems + Technology / Creator of Hack City SF at GreenBiz.com, and
self-employed consultant, I, too, have become the master of working
through a number of daily stresses facing women, and men, in tech. I’ve
learned how to keep cool. But it’s no calm and collected nature that
sustains me. It’s the nagging tug of my passions, the constant call of a
desire to do more. Yes. It’s true. Despite all we do in the workplace to
seem “put together,” objective, never “too emotional,” it is our
excitement that allows us to use technology as a radical tool for

You don’t have to believe me.  You can try these five tips below.
1.  Stay in your sweet spot. This doesn’t mean that what you do will
always come easy to you.  It means that what you do will always utilize
your top skills linked to your passions. For instance, if you know that
you’re an amazing project manager and you’re passionate about expanding
tech to new groups of people, then you should constantly be engaged in
or taking lead on coordinating, managing, and/or executing projects
invested in reaching a number of new and diverse audiences.
2.  Own it. You’re different and you know it. You’re easily excitable. You
always have a lot to say. For some reason, you’re never willing to just
“go along with” anything left unquestioned, even if it’s “just code.”
Own all of this and use it to challenge and encourage growth in whatever
space you’re in. No one may thank you now. Everyone will want to thank
you later.
3.   Do something that matters. Do you dread waking up every day? Do you
describe most of your work as “busy work?” Stop that. Right now.
Cultivate your usefulness and do something that matters. Do that thing!
The idea that just popped into your head.

4.   Dream big. Then dream bigger. You’ve got an idea.  It matters to you.
Guess what?  It probably matters to the rest of the tech world.  Plan it
out as big as possible, and then plan bigger.  Execute.  Getting
anywhere close to this goal will most likely change something, even if
it’s just you.
5.   Walk. Towards. Away From. Go wherever you need to go. You, too, have
got a nagging, tugging, piece of excitement moving you around this
world.  Name it. Develop it. Allow it to take you into the spaces you
need to be. Let it change you. Let it change our world.

I’d love to keep the conversation going and invite you to follow-up with
me directly via twitter @krysfree or email: hello[at]krysfreeman.com.

If there is a practice that you’ve learned in order to cultivate and
sustain your excitement, please share it with other readers it in the

Krys_Freeman_35About the guest blogger: Krys Freeman is a firm believer
in technology as a vehicle for radical change. While many of us speak of
technology as the “next” frontier – the little red pill that will make
our biggest systems challenges disappear – Krys believes that technology
is now and that the real innovation opportunities lie in design thinking