Wow, “Thinking Outside the Box“, how many times have we heard this phrase? Job descriptions, motivational talks or just a way to look at things. It is a phrase that is used way too often and when you think about it, what does it really mean?
I have always been one of those people who has “thought outside the box” to separate myself and meet goals, for example: teaching in Australia because I couldn’t get a job in the U.S. out of college, joining an all women’s business association to network for business, turning a commodity business service into a high-end consultancy. Sooo, I feel I am an expert on putting this over-used phrase into practice which leads me into a ride share story from the past…
Let’s just call him Earl! I picked him up at his house in a town on the outskirts of Boston. His yard was looking a bit like Times Square in NYC with all the signage planted everywhere. The signs were in support of a candidate running for Governor (I did mention this was a story from the past, right?). Earl (his nickname) was young, handsome and highly spirited, when asked about all the signage he replied, “that’s me, I’m running for Governor”!
It didn’t take Earl long to start talking about his campaign & how he was the leading independent candidate (and I am thinking that this is mostly a one party state so, good luck with that). Earl began to dig deeper about what he stood for (fairly liberal) and how what he stood for really resonated with people. His only problems seemed to be on how to get the word out and how to raise money. OH, the raising of money is a big problem for independents he tells me… you see, as Earl explains it, as an independent the most an individual supporter can contribute is $1,500! Yes, you are probably thinking as I was, sounds fine so what is the problem? The problem is actually a big one and not very fair because if you are running as a candidate for the Republican or Democratic parties then an individual contributor is allowed to give up to $15,000… YEP, a bit unfair indeed!
I put on my creative hat… you know, the one that helps me THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! Aha… an idea came to me instantly, it was an idea that would solve all his problems, but no guarantee of getting elected as that was on Earl. My idea was to help him get his word out, raise money and bring attention to the inequities of the Massachusetts election fund raising policy.
I mention to Earl that I had an idea that could really help him… (now don’t laugh please), Drive for UBER!!! Even just 1 day a week would work. Okay so stop laughing and read on. As an independent running for Governor in a 2 party system and a 1 party state you can pretty much count yourself out! This “out” status is not my thought, but it is a reality pretty much everywhere in the USA, this is simply a fact I’m afraid.
Driving for Uber as an independent running for Governor can do one main thing for a campaign, get you the attention and the platform you need to talk all your issues. Let’s be real, If Earl took my advice I could almost guarantee with the right publicist, he would be appearing on all the major national talk shows such as “The Today Show”. Who wouldn’t want to interview an independent running for Governor driving for Uber. You could get your issues out to the local & national television audience, but you could also talk your issues to your passengers and your Uber income could be used for your campaign while stressing the contribution problem (more for the good PR it will generate).
Earl, loved the idea!!!! He asked for my business card and I told him I would be happy to donate consulting time with him if he decided to move forward with it. Pretty exciting right? Well, all I can tell you is that I never heard from Earl again. The election came and went… Earl never drove for Uber, never appeared on TV, never got to talk about his issues to a national audience… and YES Earl sadly lost his election bid. Sometimes it takes more than just “Thinking Outside the Box”… it also helps ACTING(on those ideas) OUTSIDE THE BOX!!!