Before I get into this topic I want to comment on a “comment” that was sent to me in regards to my Steve Jobs’ article. I am not sure how old this person is; I don’t know in what reference they were making their comment. I do know that the commentator is female. I didn’t post her remark because in truth it didn’t mean anything to me, there was no substance. In this article I wrote 2 weeks ago I gave tribute to Steve Jobs for making a difference. I also noted that one person can make a difference in their life and the lives of others. The remark sent to me was basically FUCK YOU however the person did a nice job of actually spelling it out eff you see kay ; why oh you.

So I call my friend and my boyfriend and say, can you believe that someone sent this to me? My friend tells me to just let it go and that is exactly what I have done.

Why do I share this story? I share it because if we have a point to make then we are free to make it. To have impact (for me) your point needs to have some backup and then come up with a solution to make a change. I am open to being challenged. I may agree or disagree with your statement however I will respect it. What I do not respect is just an off the cuff disregard with no substance.

So let’s turn our attention to a message with more substance. We have been seeing the youth and others protesting against Wall Street, called, Wall Street Occupation. In this instance we are seeing youth united and wanting to have their voice heard. It is refreshing to see this. There are some experts that say that this has no impact because it lacks direction. I say, being able to come together is valuable. What is even more valuable is when you combine it with a strong message and an action plan to go with it. I am not sure that the youth have an action plan. In the case of Finances and “Wall Street”/Stock market, what needs to change is the entire system. Saying that, the youth do have a part to play, in a sense, an action plan. The youth can show the adult world, that they know how to be financially responsible and accountable.

It means leading by example. I know the systems need to change, not just in North America but around the world. Everything has its time. This will come but how long it will take, no one knows. What can we do today? We can begin to make financially sound and smart choices. First know what your budget is – how much do I have to spend, can I afford to make a certain decision? Do I really need (yes, of course want) what I am going to buy or can it was a few weeks, months and even years? Everyone I know has been hit by the financial markets. No one has escaped, not my wealthy friends, not my less wealthy friends. It means that you work with what you got. It may mean making different choices for a while. I was reading an interview with David Chilton, the author of The Wealthy Barber and The Wealthy Barber Returns. He is a financial planner as well I believe and he was sharing a story that a friend of his called him to ask him how he can save money in this economy – this guy receives calls from friends to go to the hockey and/or baseball game or to go out to dinner and he doesn’t know how to financially deal with it. David’s short answer was, “JUST SAY NO”. His friend did not respond for a few minutes and then he says, “is that all you have to give”. A few weeks later the friend calls back and says that he feels great, less stressed and yes, he has been saying no more often to things he cannot afford. The best part, he says, is people understand and there is no judgement.

The larger point for me is that speaking up has value. Speaking up and having a plan or solution has even more impact and value. I saw the remake of the movie, Footloose, and it was great. I really enjoyed it. What stuck out was when Ren, the boy who moves to a small town in the West (Georgie) from big-city Boston, finds out the town has banned the playing of loud rock music, dancing and really being kids and enjoying yourself. He learns that three years earlier the town lost 5 “star” kids in a tragic car accident. The loss was tremendous and unfortunately the action taken by the adults of the town council to protect the young kids of the town was so severe and swift. Ren and Ariel, the minister’s daughter come together (her brother is one of the 5 kids killed in that accident) along with a core group of friends and decide to challenge the ban on dancing. They want to have a senior graduation party in a location other than school or church halls. Ren, with the help of Ariel, presents to council a sound reason why dancing should be allowed. There is part of his speech that really resonated with me and my work. He tells the council, “we are kids and we are meant to do stupid, silly things. We are meant to try new things, make mistakes, fail and learn. We are meant to play our music loud,sing and dance. We are supposed to challenge our parents, systems and laws. That is the job of the youth”. That may not be word for word however I have captured the essence. In the end the council declined this proposal however that was only for that town. They do have their dance in the bordering town. While the council denied the proposal you do see many of the adults are on the side of the kids and supporting them in their endeavour.

This movie reminded my why my work is so important. The young MUST fall and get up – call it fail, that is the only way for them to learn. They MUST speak their voice and be heard. That is what Wall Street Occupation is all about. The real impact of change will come when the youth are supported and guided by those trailblazers that understand that the systems must change. While I say that, it is important to recognize the things that have worked in certain systems, take it and then create something new. I look forward to uniting the wisdom of our elderly with the enthusiasm of our youth to create sustainable and executable programs and system that do make sense for today. I do tell the youth that in order to challenge something, you need to have a plan or solution, execute it and then live by it: walk your talk. Otherwise, you are no better than the system being challenged and your behaviour will be considered hypocritical.

If you know of someone younger who is struggling to have their voice heard, help them to do so. Guide them and show them HOW they can do this. Create a strategy that is sustainable and executable to make it happen. The idea is only part of the equation, the action plan is what will make it happen. Then stand back and watch it happen. This is empowerment, mentoring, guidance and creation.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend.

All my love,

Sandra

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