What Steve Farber Taught Me At SOBCon (part one)


Almost a month later I’m still reeling from the subtle and not-so-subtle ways SOBCon changed my thought process and the direction of just about every project I’m involved in. In my last post I talked about how Chris Brogan‘s call to action changed not one but all three of my heart defect related non-profits. It’s been in the restructuring and implementation of their various programs that Steve Farber‘s incredible message of GTY has not just inspired me but informed my decisions.

What is GTY? It stands for Greater Than Yourself. Steve presented on this concept at SOBCon…I was truly riveted. This is not just a presentation for Steve – he has a book, website and project devoted to GTY. Because I believe Steve does a much better job than I explaining his concept and because I believe you should buy his book and read it yourself, I’ll give you the gist of GTY: Make a commitment to make someone greater than yourself. Be a mentor to someone. Guide them, teach them, help them grow until they achieve more, succeed more…until they become more than you.

I was drawn to this immediately because it’s something I already do just not in as conscious a way. I started 4F Club because so many people contacted me asking them to be their mentor as they started their own non-profit…I’ve always been happy to help in this way – I love supporting people in their own quest to improve the world! While the idea of GTY is basically the idea behind 4F Club, I’d never really thought of how to utilize it in my heart defect-related non-profits.

Since SOBCon that’s definitely changed. Big Love Little Hearts is on a mission to change our entire cause community…not just the children we seek to help but all of the organizations that work to help them too. Accomplishing this requires the creation of a collaborative community whose sole purpose is to make every non-profit doing congenital heart defect work in developing countries greater than they already are and much greater than we are. We are not relying on them to carve time out of their missions to help create their own space in this community – we’re doing the work for them. Why? Because we know that making them greater than they are – greater than we are – will only help those who really need it…children with heart defects in developing countries.

We’re creating each organization’s space in this community with interns (part of our Building a Team of Disciples strategy gleaned from Chris Brogan at SOBCon). Each intern is yet another GTY opportunity. I don’t like creating internships for people that are just looking for the easiest way to fill a community service requirement. I like showing people how their work, however minor, can have true impact on not just an organization but the lives they’re trying to change.

Not only will each of our interns (almost 100 total for the summer) have ownership of a project that they will be able to see the impact of, they will be trained to approach problems in developing countries with collaboration and a networked community to decrease waste in resources and increase reach of service. They will be given opportunities to communicate directly with other non-profits doing work in developing countries and to build relationships they can take with them after their time with us is through. They will have opportunities to stay on with us and train the next generation of interns to be GTY.

Steve, I took your call to make someone greater than myself and applied it to everyone I work with at Big Love Little Hearts and then I applied it to my entire cause community. Thank you for making me conscious of carrying out something professionally that I already believed personally.

There should be no competition in the non-profit community. We should be supporting one another both individually and organizationally. Authentic, lasting change is not something that is created by “i” – it is created by “we”.

Are you implementing Steve’s call to make someone GTY in your life? Tell me about it!


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