• Kendra Butler

The Power of Idea Seeds

It’s the last day of February - and spring is coming to Richmond early this year. Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring. But I’ll be honest, I don’t always trust groundhogs and their weather predictions. I mean what kind of animal wouldn’t want to go back to bed for 6 more weeks? The fact that he would choose to stay awake is crazy to me. But seeing the trees blooming in spite of the snow and cold has me convinced, Phillip was right.

I know that I’ve said this before, but Spring really is my favorite time of year. It’s when we start seeing potential. Potential for summer warmth, the potential for new growth, the potential for all the potential of the world to bloom. I feel hope and comfort knowing that what we plant and tend to now has the potential to bloom and grow in the near future. It’s time to plant seeds, seeds filled with potential.

At the end of my last post, I charged everyone to be courageous and start planting their new Idea Seeds for 2020. So, what is an Idea Seed? Using some linguistics and science, let’s break it down.

A seed (Seed Idea) is a part of a flowering plant (aka You and Your brain) that is capable of reproduction. If you want to get inception-y about this, that means inside every seed is potential for new seeds, inside those potential seeds are potential for new potential seeds, and so on and so forth. Mind Blown

Anyway, seeds are composed of two really important parts:

  1. An embryo that will one day become a new plant; and

  2. Cotyledons, which store the food and energy that slowly feeds the seed while they are buried underground, and allows it to grow until it reaches sunlight.

Think of the embryo as the potential for a fully developed idea later on. These are things that sit in your brain in the dark. They are the twinges of inspiration that live inside our brains. They are those moments when we say - “I feel it in my gut”. They are moments when we say, “how cool would that be?” They are moments when we feel called to something, but we don’t know why or how. We. Just. Know. Often they pop into our brains and then they lay dormant for a while. They are there, and they are alive, but they are still in the dark, waiting for the food and energy they need to trigger growth.

To trigger growth, they need to be slowly fed by personal experiences and information that inspire passion to create action. These personal attachments take the form of life-changing experiences, meeting inspiring people, or getting new information. All of your personal experiences feed and energize the development of the potential idea into something more developed.

Here’s the catch - not every Idea Seed that exists in your brain is going to move from the potential stage to the growth stage. You won’t engage in experiences that trigger growth - and that’s okay. Because that means that by focusing your motivation, personal connection, and action to the Idea Seeds that matter - you will be able to create masterful beautiful growth.

The idea for World U.P. started as an Idea Seed about two decades ago. I grew up in a small rural town where everything and everyone generally looked the same. We didn’t have the internet until I was college-bound, so there was little way to explore the world without having the money to go out into it. Fortunately, during my time there I managed to find friends who shared the same dorkiness and passion for music, theater, singing, and dancing. They shared my love of laughter and helping others. They shared experiences and stories and gave me a sense of community. Interestingly, they were also different than me in many ways, race, gender, and ethnicity. These people are still wonderful presences in my life today - and for them, I'm very thankful. Because of the people in my life, the Idea Seed was planted that religion, race, ethnicity, ability, and class didn’t dictate who was good and who was bad. These things don’t dictate human experience. And they certainly don’t dictate who and who not can be friends. In fact, our differences made us stronger and gave us the ability to weave together and create a strong fabric of differences that built our special, beautiful community.

As I grew up traveled and met new different people, I found that no matter where you went - the basics of the human experience are the same. No matter the culture, we all share in the same human emotions, we all share in the same life events of loss and love. Our culture defines how we experience them, not whether we experience them. Travel, experience, exposure, and communication were the triggers I needed to feed and grow my Idea Seed to start becoming more developed.

Then in 2016, when politics and the media were the midsts of using countries to perpetuate fear to motivate voters, I started wondering why we so blindly believe what is told to us about people we’ve never met before. Why are we so quick to confuse a country’s government with a country’s population (especially one where the population doesn’t choose the government)? Why do we buy into the idea that we should fear people who aren’t like us, rather than embrace those differences to create a stronger society? The only thing I could think of was that a lot of people don’t have the financial or physical means to travel and see the connection of the human experience.

It was in these moments of thought that my Seed Idea became fully developed into this idea that something could/should exist in that provided different cultures and people the space to exchange ideas and learn from each other and overcome judgment. Something that was accessible to everyone and anyone who wanted it. My Idea Seed had fully bloomed into the mission of World U.P. and I was determined to see it come to life. Because of my passion for change, diversity, inclusion, and action, I'm proud to say that 4 years later, World U.P. is starting to take shape.

I’m sharing all of this to illustrate that Idea Seeds are POWERFUL. Because, when you have an Idea Seed coupled with passion, personal connection, and the desire to see action - you have something that can generate magical change. Something with great potential to be nurtured into life. The potential for impact. The potential for success. More importantly, just remember that all of that potential lies within YOU.

Within YOUR brain.

Deep within YOUR passion.

Stemming from YOUR desire for action.

YOU are POWERFUL. YOU can change the world.

What are some of your personal experiences that helped you develop your Idea Seeds?

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