I had the great pleasure of attending Google Zeitgeist last week in Arizona. Now celebrating its tenth year, this is an annual thought leadership and inspirational summit that Google organizes for its key partners globally.
Think of a two day Ted talk with visionaries and revolutionaries from every walk of life including Kanye West, Lynn Hill (rock climber), Scott Kelly (astronaut), Alan Eustace (Google executive who went 132,000 feet into the stratosphere by balloon), Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy (Surgeon General of the United States), and Nobel Prize winning Child Rights Activist Kailash Satyarthi. It was an extraordinary gathering of folks who have pushed the boundaries of mental, spiritual and physical elevation and contribution.
But one speaker in particular stood out for the story he told and the way he told it. Bryan A. Stevenson is a lawyer, social justice activist and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) which is a non-profit organization that provides legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes, poor prisoners and others who may have been denied a fair trial. He has gained national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and minorities in the criminal justice system, and pushing for reform in the administrating of criminal justice.
In describing his work and efforts to change institutional bias and the institutions themselves, Bryan described four key factors that have helped him succeed in tackling daunting challenges and overcoming them.
Extraordinary contributions are driven from a place of proximity, a compelling narrative, perpetual hope and comfort with discomfort. Sounds like a formula to drive the change we all seek every day in our personal and professional lives.