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The Gift of Compassion and Inspiration

Source: ILP

Sometimes we are quick to judge with or without due cause. Even if we believe our views to be right, many times our perception is merely right within our world and not necessarily the worlds of others. Perhaps we’re caught up in the real-time aspects of having access to information and the power to publish on-demand.  Maybe we need to seek justification for our unwillingness to step outside of our comfort zones. Or perchance, we’re simply repressing animosity  towards those who seem to envision and/or accomplish things we haven’t yet found the energy, passion or cause to pursue ourselves.

Never underestimate the power of a good idea.

Never diminish the passion of someone else without first realizing its potential.

Never cower in fear if what you believe is right.

Always find a way to inspire others to do something amazing.

Without our ability to learn from each experience, we are doomed to operate and develop within the confines we establish around ourselves.

If we’re not contributing to the solution, they we are contributing to the hindrance of evolution or revolution. And yes, there are times when the wheel does need to be reinvented.

Our future is defined by innovation and adaptation, rooted in our understanding of history so that in some cases we can relive it and in others we can write it.

We either operate alone or collectively as one.

One of many such experiences and stories captured my attention this week. Initially, I shared the popular view circulating the blogosphere. Due to the lack of free time, I was prevented from responding earlier. But because I was without access to publish my thoughts, I benefited, unintentionally, from this span of time to contemplate and also postulate.

The story to which I’m referring is the perceived exploitation of Brianna Karp, a homeless blogger who was recruited to blog for Elle magazine. Her blog, The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness and her story was called a 21st century fairytale by The Associated Press

After receiving a touching letter from Karp signed, Homeless, But Not Hopeless, E. Jean Carroll, a popular advice columnist for Elle, reached out with a $150-a-month offer that will no doubt prove far more lucrative in the long-term.

This Cinderella story was dissected and analyzed by experts and pundits across the blogosphere and the Twitterverse. Many balked at the audacity of a publishing powerhouse to exploit a helpless young woman for a meager, below minimum wage rate of $150 per month, all in the name of publicity and business.

After further research, this endeavor actually appears to be an internship, one that I am sure will lead to many incredible new opportunities – for her, others with dreams and aspirations, as well as Elle the brand and the business.

I do not have all of the facts. Nor do I portend to. However, I believe that the gift of compassion and inspiration can lead to wonderful stories and I believe this is one of them. The power of intent and second chances are far too uncommon these days, in my opinion.

You can read her work on Elle here:

A Thrift Store Shopper at Heart

On the Hunt for a Job (and a Home)

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64 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “The Gift of Compassion and Inspiration”

  1. Simon Mainwaring says:

    Hey Brian,

    Great post.  You’re point about operating together or as one is too true.  All this social media can either pull us together or push us apart.  It gives us the chance to have voices without bodies, and because of this so many of us are doomed to forget the importance of putting our entire ‘selves’ out there in a way that allows our voices to truly be heard, to make that connection, for that ‘good idea’ to see the fruition of its potential.


  2. Melissa DelGaudio says:

    Wonderful post this morning, Brian; in fact, one of my favorites from you in a while. Like you, while I don’t know all of the facts here, my perception was never that this girl was being exploited. My intitial response was, “Yeah! Attagirl!” The opportunities that she’ll have, the things to which she’ll be exposed are the things of which most writers can only dream. Wonderful reminders, too, about making sure we don’t deflate or discourage those around us; we never know what any one person might be dealing with, or the point of view from which they’re coming. Cheers, Brian.

  3. Brian Solis says:

    Thank you so much Melissa!

  4. Brian Solis says:

    Indeed…while also paving new roads for us to progress together…

  5. Ed says:

    Wonderful post Brian. Especially the first half.

    I fully understand your point, but I cannot escape the global sentiment here,
    that Elle approached this with ‘hey, and money is better than she has now’, attitude.

    Why? If you could analize their projected  ROI, and indeed, the buzz (and clicks/revenue) this
    story would generate, then apply to historic efforts, I cannot imagine they’d offer this 
    small stipend to anyone with any name power. 

    If they approached any recognizable name on Twitter for a series,
    and offered $150/month, they’d be laughed off the site, in my opinion.

    Again, your first several paragraphs are crucial mind-opening reading for
    the greater cause of healthy communication.


  6. Brian Solis says:

    I don’t disagree. I’m sure that the redtape to make this offer was entangling. I wonder if it was easier as an internship to make it happen at all. The introduction applies to many many things and could offer lessons and sage advice with or without this story. I tried to seperate the two, in one post 🙂

  7. Miiko Mentz says:

    Nice post Brian and a very good take on this. Regardless of whether or not we think Elle is exploiting Brianna Karp, they have given her an opportunity that some people would have done for free (of course not pro bloggers or journos). Brianna is getting her 15 mins and if she plays her cards right she’ll make much more than $150 a month. Some are viewing this as the glass half-empty, but I bet Brianna sees this as the glass half-full.

  8. Cathy Brooks says:

    I can’t lie. When I first heard this I certainly thought immediately about the exploitation angle. Then I thought again and changed my mind drastically. Is there a level of exploitation here? Perhaps a bit, but in my mind exploitation is when the path doesn’t have a potentially good outcome for the person seemingly being exploited. In this case, it could lead to more and that sounds like any other internship I’ve ever had. I applaude them for taking this step … and hope that perhaps there are ways we can leverage all these new technologies to give even more people who are out of work and out of luck an opportunity.

  9. Nicholas Chase says:

    Hey Brian,

    Nice post! I am encouraged that we can all still be compassionate even in tough economic times.


    Nicholas Chase

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