Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

I’m always getting emails from Mari in my inbox. This isn’t unusual; she is the president and co-founder of GlobalGiving. And since she is my boss, I read them (rather than auto-filtering them). This is how most of them go:

Really awesome work on [thing the team or I just accomplished]! I was at lunch at [delicious restaurant] the other day having a conversation about [complicated topic I rarely fully understand], and I think your work really relates. I was wondering what your thoughts were on [3 related ideas I never thought of]. Do you think we could do that?


I call these the “next step” emails. Just as I’m getting comfortable at one level, we’re on to what’s next. And that’s what GlobalGiving is all about, really. Our team, our Project Leaders, our supporters – we all ask: Where are we now? What could be different? How can we make this better?

White Queen_Alice in Wonderland

Alice and the White Queen – What six impossible things will you believe before breakfast?

So what are the six impossible things we believe before breakfast?

1. We believe that people want to do the right thing.
2. We believe that you don’t have to be an expert to get it right.
3. We believe that what seems like the right thing to do often turns out not to be.
4. We believe in people who are really, really open to finding stuff out, the closer to real time the better.
5. We believe that people who are really committed will want to keep trying to get it right, based on feedback whether it’s working or not.
6. We believe in not penalizing people for failing to get it right from the get-go.

GlobalGiving seeks to provide an open and welcome platform based on beliefs 1 and 2. We try to deliver the message of 3 without discouragement or contradicting belief 2. We want to find the best way to do 3, in ways that are most conducive to 5. And we’re committed to accomplishing 6 without destroying people’s overall faith in giving and the value of all the work being done by GlobalGiving social entrepreneurs

None of this is easy. But we try to remember that if people can get the get up and try to do the right thing in the slums of Kenya, we’ve got to have as good a shot, if not better, in believing our 6 impossible things before breakfast.

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