Monday, December 3, 2012

Big Idea Monday- See a Penny, Pick it Up.

See a penny pick it up. All the day you have good luck. See a penny let it lay, let your day waste away.
-Frank C. Brown

The theme today is seizing opportunities. Today’s post was inspired by three people. First, a film maker who told me his first rule is “If there is money on the ground, pick it up.” The second source of inspiration came from a lovely newspaper article by Pultizer Prize winning local writer Lane DeGregory about her teen getting his driver’s license and her regret that she didn’t savor those alone moments in the car with him more. Rear View Mirror. Finally, thanks to my friend Jacqueline, who reminded me about the Awesome Foundation. They are the innovators who are “forwarding the interest of awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time.” A mural in Portland, Oregon. Recycling bins in science centers in Ulaanbaatar. Bringing books and mentors to inner city boys in Detroit, Michigan. A documentary in Sydney, Australia. The people who came up with these ideas received $1,000 in seed money, no strings attached. The Awesome Foundation was created in 2009 by a group of “micro-trustees” in Boston. Together they have pooled $354,000 to grant 354 awesome ideas around the world. They are not investors. This is not a loan. They simply offer micro-genius grants for flashes of micro-brilliance.  Their mission: to conserve, sustain and support the worldwide ecosystem of awesomeness has spurred the creation of independent awesome chapters, who are giving even more money away for your good ideas. Guess what? Where I live doesn’t have one chapter, it has two! Guess what again? If there isn’t a chapter in your neighborhood, you can either go straight to the source of the main foundation or start your own chapter.

So for this Big Idea Monday, here is mine. I am going into partnership with my son. It is time to put our ideas on the table for a brainstorming session and pick one. Than do it. I don’t want to be that mom in the newspaper story who was tearfully looking back in the rear view mirror. One of my greatest regrets is not writing down all the amazing questions and truly awesome ideas my son has floated over the years. Instead of answering I don’t know to his what if questions, I want to say let’s find out together. Instead of seeing one of his dismissed childlike ideas sitting on a store shelf or on the Internet a year after he mentioned it I want to be the first to make it happen. At the very least, I want to learn and at the same time teach what "making it happen" really means.

 I have forwarded him a standard partnership agreement for his review. We have discussed terms like “due diligence” and “limited liability” and “share holder”. For our brainstorming session this week, my goal is to list all the benefits to the ideas on the table first. No hole- poking allowed. There will be plenty of time and other people for that later. First, I want to bask in the awesomeness of new ideas.

Post Script- within hours of posting this, my son found a $100 bill crumpled in the hall closet next to our garbage can. We were not missing $100. An unexplained find that of course he picked up!

Do you have a big idea? Will you leave it on the ground or pick it up?


  1. Love this blog post Tracey. I am picking up that penny! ;)

  2. Thanks Susanne. I know you pick it up every day. The way you embrace life is an inspiration.


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