2019 has been a big year of learning and the source of much of what I have learned has come from starting my business, Pure Love Sustainability Inc. Running a business has been way harder than I imagined – way harder. I moved to Boise, ID from NYC, I had no connections where I lived, I needed to develop a service that my customers wanted, I needed to become proficient at social media marketing, I had to test to see what people would pay for my service and had to figure out how to be a salesperson, implementer, designer, planner, marketer, networker, accountant and more in order to be successful.
While many of these things are challenging in their own rights (implementing and designing solutions come naturally to me, the rest do not), the biggest things that I had to learn was to believe in myself, to trust myself and to be ok with failure. These are the real challenges to me in starting a business. I am nowhere near perfect at any of these things and here is what I have seen in my business.
I know that not everyone may experience these challenges and I know that some people have success off of the bat in their business, and for those of us who are struggling with these things, I offer a message of hope as I have struggled tremendously with the business and I am just now starting to see my efforts pay off 10 months into the business. I still have more work to do and am still working my butt off to make it happen and the following things have moved the needle for me as I was about to quit after 9 months because I was so frustrated, disappointed, beaten down, and defeated after working so hard and producing very few tangible results in that time.
I am starting to see that it all comes down to your mindset and with that said, here is what I have learned over the last month in my business that has helped me start to succeed:
I have wanted to start my sustainability consulting business, Pure Love Sustainability Inc. since 2015 and I was too afraid to do so. Over the last 4 years, I paid two business coaches almost $10,000 in total with the hope that they could help me to work through my fears of starting the business and get into action and I finally started Pure Love Sustainability Inc. in October 2018.
I started the business because I got laid off from my job and the coach that I was working with said something to the effect of, “Being an employee is not the right move for you and you will continue to produce the same results. It’s time to control your fate and start Pure Love Sustainability Inc.” I listened to him and we went to work on starting the business. After taking close to two months to work through some of the fears that I had about starting the business I got into action and starting having consultations with clients. A few clients hired me to work for them and I made some money. But, I barely made any money and was so afraid of messing up that I often messed up. After 8 months of doing things the way that I was doing them, I realized that I had only made a few thousand dollars and couldn’t continue doing things the way that I was doing them. Thankfully, I realized that my fear was causing me to not be successful and realized that what was behind my fear was a conversation that I cannot do it (be successful in my own business) and I kept on trying to prove to myself that I could not do it. I saw that trying to prove to myself that I cannot do it led me to convince myself that I cannot do it.
I worked through this fear and realized that I can do it and once I started believe that I could do this, the results that I wanted started happening in unexpected ways from unexpected sources.
2. Leave the panic at home
I don’t know about you and I am someone who panics when they feel like they don’t know what to do. I would call people in panic, send panicked emails and cause myself to get so panicked that I paralyzed myself. I am also someone who is used to winging it and winging it does not work when you own your own business. I realized that winging it was causing me to make mistakes and appear unprofessional to my clients and I started to make sure that I planned my work in advance. This helped alleviate some of the panic that I was facing and not all of it. What I am realizing that I need to do is not communicate with my clients or a prospective client until the panic has settled as when I panic, it leaves other people feeling panicked.
3. Stop doing it on your own
Ah the American ideal of doing it on your own and being self-made. I can’t speak for everyone and in my experience, the worst idea ever for a business owner is to do it on your own. From the age of 22 on, I have had powerful and extremely successful people tell me that I have to stop doing it on my own. It would have been wise to listen to them and I took that piece of advice as a challenge because when people told me to stop doing it on my own, I interpreted that to mean that the person who was telling me that was weak and incapable and I made it a personal mission to prove to all of the successful people that told me this that I am stronger than you, tougher than you and more capable to you and I will do it all on my own.
I’m a stubborn a-hole and my stubbornness hurt me so much in this business. For the first 8 months I did everything on my own and wasn’t willing to have anyone help me. I had to prove to others that I could make it on my own and man did I fail. I failed hard, I failed strong, I failed so much. It took a lot and I finally started to let people help me and I also quickly saw how foolish I was to try to do it on my own. I have three awesome people on my team whom I am looking to launch a residential recycling campaign with, have partnered with a school and am about to partner with another school to kickstart the work that I tried so hard to do, but couldn’t do on my own.
4. Stop downplaying your accomplishments
I hate to say it, but I used to be someone who thought that anyone could accomplish the things that I have accomplished. I thought that what I did was nothing special and that I had no real abilities or skills. You could call this humility and I have been praised many times for my humility and this was not humility, this was actually lack of confidence, lack of belief in myself, and an inability to see how great I am. It’s weird for me to say it and I also call this the curse of being gifted. I am really smart, my IQ is 130, I started reading when I was 4, I was so far ahead of my class in elementary school that my teachers wouldn’t call on me (which frustrated the hell out of me), I never studied for a test until 7th grade, figured out a proven trick to squaring numbers on my own, and I remember seeing the world differently since I was six years old and taking a test for a gifted program at my Schoo. Actually the teacher of the gifted program was amazed at how differently I saw the same images that the other students that were taking the test for the gifted program saw. Which made a lot of things easy for me and extremely high expectations came with my intelligence. After not living up to them a number of times, I started to feel like a failure and starting to think that I had nothing of value to offer to the world. Yes, I still succeeded in life and I would always downplay my accomplishments because I felt like I did nothing special and that anyone could do what I did.
I also saw how this really hurt me as a business owner as I would be so humble that people would think I had nothing special to offer them and I lost a lot of business because I did not properly present my value to my clients. I had to do a lot of work on this and I now see that I have done amazing things in the world and I communicate them to my clients and my clients are responding to me in a very different way.
5. Just because you failed does not mean that you are a failure
I’m hard on myself. Actually I’m really hard on myself. I hate letting people down and am someone who quickly gets down on myself when I fail and I have failed a lot in the past 10 months. When I fail a lot, I start to take my failures as evidence that I am not good enough. Well I tricked myself into believing that I was not good enough and almost quit my business for good in July. I am so glad that I have been able to separate a failing at something from convincing myself that I am a failure and am now in a place where I am creating opportunities from situations that I perceived to be failures.
While this article may make it sound like I have it all figured out now and that I am crushing it, honestly I am not and I am starting to produce some of the results that I want for the first-time since starting this business. I am still struggle with my doubts and fears and probably will for quite some time and working through these five things has opened up the space for me to attain greater success. We all have our own individual challenges that we need to overcome to succeed in our business. The last thing that I will leave you with is that working through your fears, doubts and worries is difficult, scary and confronting and it is worth it.
I would like to talk with you about how it is more effective to communicate about climate change from a solutions-based perspective than it is to communicate about climate change from a problem-based perspective. So much of what we are currently hearing about climate change talks about the problems – polar ice caps melting, the rainforest in South America is on fire, the challenges that we’re having with reducing CO2 emissions below the acceptable level, the fact that we may only have twelve years left before climate change runs a devastating impact over the planet runs devastating impacts over the planet, and more dominate the talks about climate change. Yet with all of this information, why are we not taking any action. Is the information incorrect? Do people just not care? Or is something else going on here?
All this information is true and it’s valid. And so much of the focus with climate change has been on you. You are the problem. You’re the problem. You’re the problem. You’re the problem. You’re the problem. You’re the problem. You’re the problem and I’m the problem too. Let’s think about this from a different perspective So if we are talking about everybody is the problem, she’s the problem, he’s the problem. Yes it is accurate that climate change is a man-made problem and at some level we are all contributing to climate change in our own way. Here’s the thing though. There’s no one person that’s responsible for climate change and there is no one company that’s responsible for climate change.
A lot of climate change has come as a result of CO2 emissions, methane emissions, and greenhouse gas emissions and for so long we didn’t know how harmful all these things were. The U.S. built its economy around the principle that we have all the resources and because we have all the resources we can just keep on wasting them. This has been the model of economics since Adam Smith wrote his book, “The Wealth of Nations.” in the late 1800’s. With this said, this model doesn’t work anymore and it’s clear that that doesn’t work anymore. Global warming is showing us that there no question that the extraction/use/burn/slash/destroy/blow up model of our economic principles doesn’t work anymore.
Business are definitely equally or possibly more responsible for climate change and coming at climate change from a blame someone else model that is solely focused on the problems that are happening starts to create a situation where we don’t know what to focus on. There are so many problems happening! There are so many issues happening! What do I do? Aaaagggghhhhhhh!!!!!
There are so many things happening all of which are catastrophic potentially. I get that. And yes it’s very very easy to run around run around and feel like you need to go crazy because of all of the problems that are happening in the world. Yes they’re all happening. Yes they’re all catastrophic. But one when the focus is on a new problem every day it becomes very tough for you to focus your energy on anything. And here’s the thing – in my opinion, to be able to solve climate change we need each human being out there in the world focusing their energy on one or two solutions to climate change that they can implement easily, quickly, and effectively and engage another 10 people to join them on this on their work of reducing the environmental impacts that they are committed to reducing in the world.
So if your passion is solar, then pursue solar solutions. If you are passionate about reducing the amount of food waste that gets sent to landfill,then go work on that. If you are passionate about reducing agriculture’s impact on climate change, then go work on that.
Find another 10 people who are passionate about what you are passionate about and start a community-based project. Let’s look at agriculture as an example. Agriculture is the largest emitter of methane and carbon dioxide emissions and also one of the largest emitters of nitrous oxide which happens when nitrogen interacts with the soil and produces a harmful chemical called nitrous oxide that is 300 times more dangerous than methane emissions and carbon dioxide emissions for the environment. What if you could collectively work with farmers in your area to use organic practices and biofuels that can significantly reduce their methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions?
We all need to be taking focused clear action to reverse climate change and global warming. The action that one person takes may be completely different than that actions that another person takes and that’s fine, as long as we are all taking some action on a daily basis to reverse and eliminate the impacts of climate change from being as catastrophic and devastating as they can be. If everybody is focusing on one or two areas that they can put their time, energy, and effort into then that is a huge win for the planet.
When it comes down to the finger pointing the blaming the etc etc. Think about it like this. I’d imagine that a lot of us have worked in companies and/or departments that weren’t perfect. Actually, I’d imagine that every single one of ushas worked in a company or department where things weren’t perfect and I can imagine that every single one of us has been blamed for causing a problem at work. And when we are the problem, when we are the cause, we frequently get mentally paralyzed
Think about if this was happening every day in your work environment, “John what did you do wrong. Sarah what did you do wrong. Courtney what did you do wrong. Michael what did you do wrong. Caitlin what did you do wrong.” And your day to day job becomes a finger pointing process. Wouldn’t you get paralyzed and start to not take action because we feel so badly about ourselves being the problem, being the reason why this didn’t work, and being the reason why this failedMentally it’s very common for us to get paralyzed mentally when we feel we are the problem. So it’s the same thing when it comes to climate change. When you’re the problem and you’re the problem and I’m the problem and she’s the problem then we get paralyzed and we decide not to take action because by doing nothing we don’t have to deal with the guilt of being the problem and we hope that we can scathe by unnoticed to live another day.
Rather than focusing on the problem or problems, let’s focus on the solution and talking with others about the solutions to climate change. This is something that I’ve been experimenting with lately when I have been talking to people about climate change. I used to focus on the polar ice caps are melting. I used to focus on greenhouse gas emissions are at this level. I used to focus on food waste having such a huge impact on climate change and now I am looking at it from a solutions-based perspective. People know these things. People are well aware that carbon emissions are at a level that is not safe anymore for human beings and at a level we’ve never seen it that before. People are well aware that we are wasting too much food. People are well aware that there are too many cars, buses, and trucks on the roads submitting methane gas into the environment.
Look, we know this. Knowledge is valuable and without clear solutions that people can take action on, not much is going to happen. I also know that a lot of people are going to want to participate in something and not everybody is going to take that initiative. Not everybody is going to lead a project in your community and a lot of people want a path they can follow. If you approach somebody and you say “Hi Rita, I am really concerned right now about the amount of food waste that we’re producing in our city and here’s a solution that I have to it” you have just opened up an opportunity for Rita to step into it rather than another problem for her to deal with. Rita may start to see that she can participate in something that can help her solve a problem. If you say to Rita, “I have a solution and here’s my solution. I’d like to start a community composting program. Would that be something you’d be interested in?” You have now offered Rita an opportunity to participate by focusing on a solution.
Rita may yes, Rita may say no, Rita might come back and say, “Hey Michael you know I’d love to get a proposal from you. I think this is something we’d be interested in” or Rita might come back and say, “Hey you know I don’t think we can start a community composting program as it is going to be too expensive this year and we have been talking about some ideas to bring in more sustainable practices. Can you help us with that by providing a different solution?”
And if you said to Rita, “You know, I’m really concerned about our environmental impact as a company and as you’ve seen manufacturing companies have one of the highest environmental impacts because we use a lot of electricity and we are we have an assembly line which uses power 24 hours a day. You know we’re causing a lot of problems here?” You may get a defensive response from Rita or shut Rita dow
There are a lot of people out there who want to do something about climate change. There’s actually been a very interesting study done showing that shows where everybody stands on climate change. And it showed that about 15 percent of people are 100 percent yes, I want to do something about climate change. I am passionate about this. I love this. Tell me more. I want get to work!
About 30 percent of people believe in climate change. They think that it’s a problem but aren’t really going to be taking a lot of action. They might sign a petition, they might go out and rally some support to at least engage people, and they may talk to a few people, but they might not take action on their own. There’s another 30 percent of people that are kind of iffy about climate change. They think it’s real but they’re not sure how it’s going to impact their lives. They’re not sure they can do anything about it. They’re really not taking action, but could be moved to action if an opportunity arises. And then there’s another 15 percent of people that are going to deny climate change and global warming and will fight with everything they’ve got to deny climate change. It’s ok, truly as denying climate change is part of their identity and you shouldn’t spend your time trying to convince them that climate change is real.
It’s much better to focus on the 30 percent of people that believe that climate change is real and will take small action and the 30 percent of people that won’t may take action if you can provide a solution that they can jump in to. These are the people that may go from being somebody who’s on the fence or somebody who’s taking small actions to somebody who’s taking big actions because you have something for them to do.
So let’s start focusing on solutions and if you are unsure about how to solve the issues that you are concerned about reach out to me as I would love to help you, or your company get into action to reduce your impact on climate change and global warming.
Michael Forman is the founder of Pure Love Sustainability Inc, a sustainability company that is focused on reversing and eliminating climate change.. Our website is www.purelovesustainabilityinc.com and our Facebook page is also Pure Love Sustainability Inc. I am also always available via email at email@example.com.
I look forward to having more in-depth conversations with you about climate change and how we can have effective conversations with people about how we can start taking action and moving forward and getting getting work done here.
On Friday August 9th I presented at the Project Green Boise Sustainability Summit for Teachers about the impact that fashion has on our global water resources and climate change. The aim of this two-day summit for Boise and West Ada School District Teachers is to provide lesson plans and lessons that teacher can use to bring sustainability education into their classrooms, and to provide teachers with the knowledge that they need to educate their students on climate change and the sustainability challenges that we will be facing in the future.
My presentation focused on Fashion’s Impact on Global Water Resources. Research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and from Fashion Industry magazines show that fashion is one of the most unspoken of and most impactful industries in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon emissions, and water use as it takes 10,000 gallons of water to harvest the volume of raw cotton that is needed to develop one pair of jeans and another 750 gallons of water to produce the same pair of jeans (https://unfccc.int/news/un-helps-fashion-industry-shift-to-low-carbon). Eventhough fashion is not my background, I was inspired to learn more about fashion’s impact on claim change after attending a Project Drawdown workshop in Boise and hearing a documentary filmmaker talk about the work that he is doing documenting nine Boise high school students to learn about how they believe climate change will affect their lives.
These students were very concerned about fashion and its impact on global warming and after researching fashion’s impact on climate change. I started to see that educating students on the environmental impacts of the fashion industry may put enough pressure on the fashion industry to cut its carbon emissions and resource use, while also creating students who are global citizens that take action to inspire new solutions and actions towards reversing climate change.
The Fashion industry also contributes to climate change as conventionally produced cotton, of which 99% of the world’s cotton is conventional produced and is typically fertilized with nitrous oxide (https://www.commonobjective.co/article/can-fashion-stop-climate-change). Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Our goal at Pure Love Sustainability Inc. is to reverse and eliminate climate change and is determined to educate and inspire and lead movements where students, adults, communities, businesses and local governments take action to reduce their carbon footprint and their impact on the planet.
For more information about Pure Love Sustainability Inc. and the work that they do to reverse climate change, please either visit our website or email me directly.
Pure Love Sustainability inc.
Boise, ID 83712
Being a business owner is scary. In my experience, it takes a willingness to constantly step outside of your comfort zone, a willingness to put yourself out there over and over again without knowing if you will produce results, a willingness to try new things that you had not been open to prior to being a business owner, a desire to learn new skills so you can attract customers and putting your heart on the line over and over again.
One of the new things that I am doing as a business owner, which is way out of my comfort zone, is writing my own press kit. Writing is well within my comfort zone and something that I do extremely well, what is outside of my comfort zone is self-promotion. I have had a disdain for self-promotion for quite some time, partially because I feel like talking about my accomplishments makes other feel like they are not doing enough and partially because I downplay my accomplishments at almost every chance that I get.
I am typically really good at producing results and producing them quickly and for almost all of my life I have thought that the things that I have accomplished require no special skill, no talent, and are things that anyone can do.
To make this a real example – I have worked with over 60 hotels, restaurants, commercial kitchens, stadiums and grocery stores in 7 different cities and states to help them divert over 5,000 tons of food waste from the landfill and prevent 4.2 gigaton of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere and until 2 months ago I would never share that I produced these results with people. I have also helped these same 60+ clients cumulatively reduce their waste hauling bills by over $600,000. I also conducted food waste audits, labor audits, designed and presented ROI reports to my clients and have trained over 1,000 kitchen staff members of the clients that I have worked with.
Yet all I would tell people about the work that I have done in this realm that I was working with over 60 hotel, restaurant, grocery store, commercial kitchen and stadium clients throughout the country to help them reduce the amount of food waste that they send to landfill. I would hide my accomplishments because I thought that I did nothing special and produced nothing out of the ordinary and 2 months ago I realized that I have done amazing work that not everyone could do successfully. I also had no prior experience in this field, created the food waste audit and labor audit processes and reports from scratch with zero outside influence.
My previous uncomfortability with self-promotion has kept me from reaching my business goals and while I have worked through some of this fear over the last few months, the thing that is pushing me over the edge is having to write a press kit. As I learned from a friend who has been in PR for 15 years, a press kit is just a massive self-promotional package where you talk about your accomplishments, speaking engagements that you’ve had, breakthrough results that your business has produced and more. I was so uncomfortable doing this and I committed to going past my fears and writing the press kit. It took a few tries and not quitting and the work has been worth it as I already am more comfortable talking about the work that I have done and am less afraid to share it with people.
If you were just as scared as I was about self-promotion I highly recommend that you write a press kit. It will push you past your comfort zone, which is so crucial for a business owner. I have been pushed so far out of my comfort zone in founding and marketing Pure Love Sustainability Inc. It honestly has been tough and it also has been worth more than its weight in gold.
Michael Forman is the founder of Pure Love Sustainability Inc. Michael Forman is a native of New York City who moved to Boise in Jan. 2018 because he wanted to be able to help Boise citizens, communities, businesses, organizations and local governments reduce their environmental impact and reduce their impact on climate change. You can schedule a food waste audit and/or energy-efficiency audit for your home, business, building or food establishment with Michael by either calling (208)584-1492 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m going with something different today. There’s a lot of crazy s*** happening in America today and very few people in “positions of power” are addressing the inequality that has happened in our society for decades. While I did not watch the Democratic Presidential debates — partially because I don’t own a tv and partially because I decided to do other things that evening — I read the recaps on CNN and MSNBC and there is one candidate who is speaking to the inequality that exists in society. This candidate is also really winning me over, although I know that they have no chance of winning, because this candidate is talking about healing the divides in our country and is addressing real issues that are continually swept under the rug.
This candidate is not Bernie Sanders, is not Joe Biden, is not Kamala Harris, nor Elizabeth Warren, it’s actually Marianne Williamson. Here are some things to know about Marianne Williamson:
She’s Oprah’s spiritual advisor. Whether that means anything to you or not is your opinion and at the very least it means that she’s connected to Oprah who is one of, if not, the most powerful woman in the world.
Millions of people look to Marianne Williamson to guide their lives and help them do the spiritual work to live the lives that they want to lead.
She is also the co-founder of the Peace Alliance, a nonprofit grassroots education and advocacy organization supporting peace-building projects.
Marianne Williamson is a powerful woman who creates and leads massive, life-altering and society-altering work. She is bringing a spirituality, compassion and healing to politics, all of which are needed and missing. I know that she has zero chance of winning and it’s sad that she has zero chance of winning because her fresh, self-expressed, compassionate platform could lead to intergenerational and intersocietal healing which could break down the structures that keep most people stuck where they are and prevent only the top 1% of all Americans from benefitting.
I just had a very interesting conversation on Facebook with the founder of the Climate Change: Adaptation, Mitigation, Resilience Facebook group about how we cannot actually reverse climate change as the law of thermodynamics states that things can never reverse to their previous states. Instead of saying that we are going to reverse climate change we should be focused on mitigating and/or stopping the adverse effects that climate change will have.
This conversation turned on a light bulb that had never existed for me before as I have always used the term reversing climate change and have actually always meant mitigate and/or stop the adverse effects that climate change will have. This really clarified my vision and I hope that it will clarify yours as climate change is here, it’s happening and while it is alarming, we must act. We must act more than we ever have.
In the spirit of action, I highly recommend that you read the book “Project Drawdown” by Paul Hawken. Project Drawdown reveals the scientifically-backed top 100 solutions to climate change. Hawken provides a refreshing perspective of optimism, an equally refreshing view that the power is within our hands and the message that we can make the difference in mitigating and/or preventing the harmful effects that climate change is having and will have. Some of the solutions to climate change that “Project Drawdown” has concluded are no-brainers such as transportation, renewable energy and reducing food waste and some are shocking as science shows that the number one solution to climate change is refrigerant management 🤯 and the number 6 and number 7 solutions to climate change are educating girls and family planning 😲.
If you are reading this message I am confident that you care about the planet, so I recommend that you read “Project Drawdown” and start taking action to make a difference on the solution that matters most to you.
Michael Forman is the Founder of Pure Love Sustainability Inc., a Boise, ID based sustainability consulting firm whose mission is to mitigate and prevent the harmful effects of climate change. If you would like to speak about what you, your community, your business, your family or any other group that you are a part of can do to reverse climate change send me an email at: email@example.com
Climate change is already in effect as global temperatures in many parts of the U.S. are already rising, seas levels are rising, ocean acidification is happening and we are seeing the impacts of these changes in the climate. I have been doing a lot of research lately on the local impacts of climate change and wanted to bring some interesting data to people.
The first link that I found shows the fastest warming cities and sates in the U.S. Some of the cities and states on the list may not be a surprise and other may be total surprises, I in fact was quite surprised that Boise, ID (my home city) is the 13th fastest warming city in the country with temperatures having risen 3.9 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 48 years. Yet Idaho is not one of the fastest warming states in the country. The link to this article is below:
Another interesting one is that in 2016 the EPA released state by state data on the potential impacts that climate change can have on each state. I read the Idaho data because I was curious to see how my state would be impacts dby climate change. Water is going to be the biggest challenge in Idaho as climate change continues to wreck havoc. I was really surprised to see that due to decreased water flows that Idaho’s hydroelectric power generation would be reduced. This is significant because 51% of the state of Idaho’s power is generated by hydroelectric sources. The link to the impacts that climate change will have on Idaho is below and there is data for each state as well. I found Idaho’s info my typing “how climate change will impact water in Idaho”.
Each state will be impacted differently by climate change and we all need to be on the same page and take the same actions to avert climate change. Local action is going to be the key to this process as the federal government currently denies climate change and state and local governments are making efforts to reduce their carbon emissions by 2035, which is great and 2035 is too late as the effects of climate change may be too strong to reverse by then. So local action is the key.
I know that I’m normally a make a big point and veer you in a direction. And I won’t do that this time, what I will do is ask you to think of an action or actions that you can take to make an impact locally on climate change. Once you think of an action or actions that you can take find a group of people whom you can share them with and start taking action on a local level. Every action does make a difference no matter how big or small.