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Drive a Stake Through It

As satisfying as your new project or initiative is, there is no rule that states it has to continue. In its current form at least.

Not everything is useful forever. Including organizations and coalitions.

At some point, you will reach a crossroads. Either stake down your territory and make it more or less permanent. Or drive a stake through what you have created.

Discerning when something has outlived its purpose is critical for change-makers.

If you think it has expired, celebrate it. Then drive a stake through it. Close it down. Give it a loving wave goodbye. Allowed to linger it will become a black hole. It will sap resources and creativity from where your curiosity is heading.

Nothing is really lost. You will grab hold of loose threads you now have time to follow. One of them might even be golden! Others will pick up discarded bits and combine them in ways you hadn’t thought of. As for anything left over. It will join the creative pile known as failure.


For me, the hip word is mutate. We’re ripening all the time.
— Buffy Sainte-Marie

Musical selection for this post, I’m Done by Frazee Ford. Listen here. Purchase here. Isn’t she fabulous?
This blog was originally posted to, and appears here with permission.

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Al Etmanski is a community organizer, social entrepreneur and author. He is a founding partner of Social Innovation Generation (SiG) and BC Partners for Social Impact. Previously he co-founded Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) with his wife Vickie Cammack and Jack Collins. Al is an Ashoka fellow, and a faculty member of John McKnight’s Asset Based Community Development Institute (ABCD). He once played air guitar with Randy Bachman of BTO (Bachman-Turner-Overdrive) in a rock video which convinced him to stick with his day job.

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