A declaration of mindshift and focus - and attempt to lead by example

Submitted by Sudhir Kade on Sun, 03/22/2009 - 16:59.

Any one that takes the time to read my blog posts over the past five years can see what I've represented since that time, and in many ways, for much of my life.   For some of us, the life story starts with one of privilege - we may be born to wealthy parents, with millions of dollars - and enjoy all the entitlements that are inherent within.  My parents immigrated here with barely a dollar in their pockets, from a lower-middle-class family upbringing.  They traveled against the odds, with little more than my dad's acceptance to medical residency, thousands of miles, to a country they knew little about - other than it being a land of opportunity and possible prosperity.

My parents came to this country poor.  My father worked hours to the bone - to succeed as a physician and care for my family.  I was raised in a poor-run down apartment complex by parents with little knowledge of the realities of American life.  They struggled, as I still do, to protect their Indian heritage and traditions and learn new American ones.  And quite a struggle it was, growing up.   I was born in the small town of Worcester, Massachusetts on January 4th, 1972.   My parents made do the best they could, as my father parlayed foreign medical training into pediatric specialization and success.   Eventually we moved to small white house on the Lake in Ashtabula, Ohio.  I was but a young tyke then.   I remember being fortunate to have the chance to attend a nursery school with a swimming pool,  and taking lessons at the Y, and trying to do anything productive as a little league ballplayer for the Kingsville Orioles at Village Green, in Kingsville.  I lived a relatively happy, but certainly sheltered and protected, childhood.   Eventually, I was valedictorian of my high school, Edgewood Senior High.  I won college acceptances to Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon, and the  University of Pennsylvania, to name a few.    I took what essentially amounted to a full ride to Case Western Reserve University in 1989.

Two years into college I suffered through a series of emotional traumas related to some very damaging personal and dating relationships.  It is quite possible my inexperience with life and the realities of dating paradigms back then, combined to leave me less-well equipped than many to deal with heartbreak.  For me 1993 triggered what has amounted to a thirteen year roller-coaster ride of ups and downs, of repeated frustrations and possible manipulations by others - but of an always persistent desire to help others in a meaningful way.   Being the first-born son of Indian immigrants,  there were the highest expectations of me.  I will not go into miniscule details at this time, but suffice it to say, I did not live up to expectations.  And not being able to triggered some very rebellious behavior on my part.  This nearly completely alienated me from my core family for quite some time.  It's amazing how we can become so stigmatized by others once hurtful rumors and actions fly. The problems I did not cope with strategically or rationally fed on themselves til I fell down a downward spiral of epic proportions.  Perpetuated by external stimulations and poor coping strategies I've sometimes oscillated up and down this spiral ever since. I think most of us, to some degree, have.  Only now do I finaly feel the truest level of stasis and truest productivity.  Yet still, as a fraternity brother of mine oft used to say, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger'.    I stand testament to this.   I am stronger.  I am tougher.   I have survived many personal and emotional attacks - these are truths, not fiction.   Somehow I have survived through much physical, mental, and emotional turmoil to find a deep sense of inner peace.  I have found answers in my own way - and a new sense of strength and purpose through yoga, meditation, and prayer.  Everyone uses what works for them.  This has done wonders for me in a very short span.  Yet I still have a way to go - I'll still have a beer or two now and then.  And I'll still smoke an (usually organic) cig or or two a day.  It may very well be I'll phase these out - but we'll see.  We all have our vices.  We strive to be better than we are.  Or I hope we do.  

And I accomplished a few things too - I learned about the deep importance of organizational studies and sustainability, about core aspects of change agency and smart social networking and activism, from some of the best in the field as I picked up a Weatherhead MBA with a solid GPA and strong impressions left with my OB and ENTP faculty - to learn from David Cooperrider, Hilary Bradbury, Diana Bilimoria, Scott Shane, Richard Osborne, Robert Slonim, Sayan Chatterjee, Bob Hisrich and so many talented others is an immeasurable experience.   I learned about Gestalt and Open Space methods as well as Appreciative Inquiry - and now intend to combine all of them in my future methodological approaches.  I've met great people and yes, Cleveland can be a great place if all those connect now and do great work.   I served on the founder's board of the Cleveland Bioneers,  Sustainability Coordinator for two years at Ingenuity, Currently on the Founder's Board of the Northeast Ohio Citizens League, and, of course, 5 year partner of once realneo.us, and REAL.COOP.

I have proof of many past transgressions against me, thanks to a terrifically complete register of emails.   But none of that is as important right now, as the opportunity and the need to help make Cleveland the greatest city on earth.   A city where people deeply respect and honor one another regardless of background.  A city where networks are shared, and where trust and collaboration are deepened over time in mutually beneficial relationships.  A city where every man, woman, and child is trusted and honored for the great ideas they have to offer.   Where all stakeholders are respected and cared for - and inspired to activate what passion they have for the work they truly want to do and have a gift for.    And when a new friend recently told me 'these are the harsh realities of Cleveland's closed networks and wealthy unenlightened' I wouldn't have believed it.  Yet now, I have to say (especially after revelations at this weekend's Open Roads Conference) - I'm starting to believe.  And the only way to absolutely be sure, in my opinion - is what some suggested at the conference (and Norm has astutely called for for some time) - conduct a ten-year, detailed audit of everything Cleveland - open all the books, for all the city's stakeholders - to identify the likely grievous misallocations that may have not been happening just with Fannie and Freddie and AIG and worse.   They happened here in Cleveland, too.   I'm fairly certain, as time passes, much of this will come to light.  

A very Wise one - (some say way more than human, some say a prophet) once said:  'the Truth will set you Free'.

So now my life begins anew - in a pure mission, in pursuit of the truth.  I won't act on rote hearsay, by anyone - but will strive to learn for myself - who the pure of heart and purpose are in this town.  I won't judge anyone, I have no right to - I have always worked very hard to temper and transcend ego and maintain a most-special level of humility and an ever-expanding worldview.  You can't imitate it, you have to be it.   I have radically reduced consumption of any addictive substances because it sets a good example, not because it is something others have to do.  I have found a newfound peace and purpose away from the direct influence of others who have undercut my credibility and sullied my name.  And I will act as an independent thinker and doer but ever-welcoming of others team player as well.  As for the illusions presented by others and rumors spread I can only move forward from this present moment as a change agent fighting for quality of life for all stakeholders.   Actions speak louder than words and the proposals I've put forth to serve centers for the underprivileged in the most meaningful way possible are being heard.   I've been criticized for being easily distracted, or too much of a generalist, on and on and on.  But the ongoing struggle for us all is to maintain the purest and bravest of hearts, and deepest respect for others, regardless of the wrongs they did.   Let them confess, and move on.  Collect reparations in the form of dedicated service to those you have wronged.  Violence only begets more violence.   These aren't new maxims.  They are truth.

I am involved with many individuals and networks - I'm not sure exactly why but certain members of nearly each have repeatedly taken, (to some degree or another) advantage of me.  I'm not sure the best venue in which to tell this story or whom to tell what.  But I know this - the tradition of 'divide and conquer', of advancing by trying to pit team members against one another, misinforming each one are the worst kinds of ways of strategic doing.  I refrain from naming names but will only speak the truth.   Breeding divisiveness within organizations and between them is the worst kind of activity.  And as I and many others, like those of the Open Roads Institute believe - community development and engagement is only meaningful when work is constructively collaborative rather than destructively competitive. When work is co-created, rather than blueprinted and forced by a close-minded or corrupt few.   When individuals temper and strive to transcend ego in the process, everyone benefits.

I feel, sometimes, that I may be one of the most misunderstood individuals on earth - perhaps at times we all do.   Perhaps members of this city and community have not appreciated the revelations I've honestly made about past mistakes in my life - much like Obama did in his memoirs.   Perhaps for these five years, when so much I've tried to do for the good of others - always trying to help others, trust others, share with others - I've misinterpreted the way my efforts have been historically received by members of closed, cold, corrupt networks as hurtful - perhaps not.  The point is, we should always treat one another with authentic and deep respect - as kindred beings, and spirits of a shared system.  Why certain societies have chosen to continue manipulative, hurtful, slanderous actions is often beyond me.   A wise person once said 'We mock what we do not understand'.  So try and understand this, brothers and sisters of One planet, One system, One community.   It's about connectedness, and respect, and love -  in this oft-harsh, bitter, real world.   Its about reaching out to those who need help the most - and helping them.  It's about letting go of old beefs and biases and bullshit.  Its about a cultivated collective mindset of hope and prosperity for all.  Simply put - the outer manifestations we see on our planet are a result of our inner, collective mindset.   These times of uncertainty contain the seeds for the greatest of hopes.  So I'll continue to absorb accusations of 'crackpot', 'kiss-ass', 'rabble-rouser', 'zealot'.   This is called positive-change agency - and it is the most vital thing on earth.

Its about creating prosperity for all stakholders, regardless of stigma, or failure, or past.  Its about doing that quickly, by applying the core concepts in local foods, local economies, traditional neighborhood development, under frame of deep respect for one another as people and partners.  My name is Sudhir Kade Raghupathy.  And today, March 22, 2009, I dedicate my life to serving others in the most meaningful ways imaginable.  Ways that combine economic prosperity with workforce development opportunity, with environmental stewardship and uplift, in artistic forms, that deeply value all people and leverage best-of-breed technology.   Lead by example, they say.  And now I shall.   We shall - by co-creating together, listening to our local foods and local economies experts.  And demonstrating new levels of authenticity, trust and transparency.  

Its time to raise the bar and up our game.  I for one declare I'll do so.  Now.

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I for two declare I'll do so. Now.

Always keeping it real.

It is interesting how little we actually know about each other - especially in virtual networks. I believe it is valuable to share oneself as well as one's ideas, and appreciate your openness.

Its time to raise the bar and up our game.  I for two declare I'll do so.  Now.

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