Looking to the Future: Four Lessons From 9/11

Note: I’ve decided to interrupt the current series here on WordPress to bring you a special tribute to those who lived through, helped, and lost people on September 11, 2001. As a New Yorker with my own 9/11 story,  that fateful day holds real meaning for me, and the chant “Never Forget” is more than just two words.

I will resume my posts about creativity next week. Thanks!

This post appeared on LinkedIn today simultaneously……

“Having a purpose, larger than myself-caring for our families-was the only thing that kept me going.”

— Edie Lutnick, An Unbroken Bond

“Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

— Steve Jobs, The Man Who Thought Different

It’s been a bittersweet week for me, between the long awaited Apple Event on Tuesday about new products designed to simplify work/life balance, and today being 9/11. That infamous day in history that I personally lived through. You could say that the seeds of my entrepreneurial journey were planted when I became one of the first Mac trainers in the special education/Autism intervention arenas in the ’90s (the precursor to the Apple™ Educator’s Program). But the shoots were actually watered the day the brave NY firefighters tried putting out the flames all over the disintegrating Twin Towers.

One of the hardest things for an entrepreneur today is to remain tethered to the present while being mindful, but not overwhelmed by the past (and past mistakes and detours). Some would say that the current startup culture is all about ignoring the present and disrupting the future, especially the future of work.

I say that that the way to start disrupting the future of work is not just to race to launch a unique service/product, but by first changing your own behavior so that there’s a concrete ripple effect. So that there is a visible chain reaction because of your actions affecting others; for the better. It’s something I write about in my book, The NICE Reboot, and something on my mind today, the day an act of heinous terrorism hit too close to home thirteen years ago.

So where do we begin? Which lessons did I learn from 9/11? Which takeaways still resonate with me, sustain me, and help me creatively reboot? I’d like to share four…..

1. Increase your emotional resiliency by actively pursuing balance and healthy habits. Read more about it here.

2. Think big so that it shapes your overall mindset about goal setting and planning, as well as implementation. Read more about it here.

3. Do good! Not just because it’s a moral imperative or because it increases your social standing. Do it so that you cultivate a collaborative culture, an ecosystem, a team, so that real and sustainable change begins. In my Socially Speaking™ seminars about Autism Intervention and special education, I always share this acronym: TEAM= Together Everyone Achieves More. Read more about the driving force behind doing good here.

4. Decrease your frequency and duration of those knee-jerk reactions to events/actions you see around you. You know what I mean. The ones that kickstart your inner critic, your outer perfectionist, and your fluctuating  judgmental vibe. This is especially true for today’s harried working woman, trying to “have it all”. Read more about it here.

I want to end with an excerpt from my business book, which was published by Maven House Press last spring. In it, I shared some insights into the mobile technology leg of the Technology Revolution, and the budding roles of millennials as pop culture and news correspondents. That much misunderstood and maligned generation which heralded in the iEra, making selfies a way of life and the present iPhone 6 and iWatch frenzy a reality.

I believe that nothing is random, and that we can discern patterns in everything, connecting the dots and discovering something new. Here’s what I discovered as both an educator and social entrepreneur…..

Shortly after the leg of the Tech Revolution involving photos was underway, a shift in thinking happened.  The lines between personal/private and public/political photography blurred yet again. The catalyst was 9/11. War correspondents and photographers have been around for decades; just look at Life Magazine. Yet September 11, 2001 put the average person, if he/she was in the right place at the right time, front and center of  the “action”. Anyone who could take a photo, and post it online, could then become an official story teller for others.  In my opinion, the aftermath of 9/11 was not only the obvious social, psychological, economical, historical, and political repercussions we all know and/or read about. One of the largest outcomes was the incubation of new soldiers in the Tech Revolution, in a petri dish called “The Millennial Generation”. They are also becoming the largest marketing demographic and group of entrepreneurs to date.

Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation.  A coined term for children born between 1980-2000. Children who were young enough, yet old enough, to have been impacted by America’s War on Terror. They were either directly affected by their first taste of terror on America’s doorstep in years, or  indirectly affected by the vibes around them from those who were. The events of 9/11, which I personally lived through as an adult, have affected the way we now live, from the deployment of our loved ones who become overseas troops/gate-keepers, to the way we pack our carry-on luggage and board a plane. Another significant effect of 9/11, is that it produced the largest think tank and focus group for technology trends, in the world. One that deployed average people, even children, to test out and contribute to the informal research. To contribute to the impact of photos; on world opinion and social consciousness. The modern day artist and war correspondent was born.

As we look to the future, let us remember those whose paths crossed us in the past, and whose lessons live on; one story, one deed, and one photo at a time.



Never Forget



About penina4niceinitiative

Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP, TSHH, CEO of Socially Speaking LLC, is the author of "The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur". She is an Autism specialist and educational technology consultant turned social entrepreneur. She is also a pediatric speech therapist and the creator of the Socially Speaking™ Program & iPad App. Her second book, "Autism Intervention in the iEra" was published in 2015. Since 2010, Penina has been a national/international speaker about social communication development, balancing humanity and technology, and best practices re: mobile and social technology. Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more. You can also find her on Twitter: @PopGoesPenina, Facebook: Socially Speaking LLC, Google+ at The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship, and Pinterest and YouTube as well.
This entry was posted in American Living, Balancing Humanity & Technology, Cultural Dynamics, Life Lessons, Musings on Humanity, Social Entrepreneurship, Thought Leadership. Bookmark the permalink.

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