...what became clear was that Rae is a problem solver willing to stretch and reach into difficulties to help an entire community.
I found myself conversing with a truly amazing and inspiring person today that shared thoughtful and fresh perspectives on learning and approaching life through the lens of solving problems. Rae Warren is the founder of Co3xistant, Ralene’s Worlds and the starter of many impactful groups and conversations within the Impact Theory University Community. While taking on the essence of the learner, in today’s conversation, what became clear was that Rae is a problem solver willing to stretch and reach into difficulties to help an entire community. We are going to look at her approach and thought process to solving problems, how she has transformed her mind into becoming “the learner”, and in what ways you can apply these principles in your own business or career. We will also look at the techniques she has found successful to overcome social anxiety and the value of measuring your milestones from your own internal framework.
“I wanted to know what does it look like to be well and fulfilled and have a great life while also having your neurological differences” -Rae Warren
In their book, Bold, Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler say that to become a billionaire, focus on helping a billion people. I did not explicitly ask Rae if becoming a billionaire was in her plans, but she is definitely looking to solve problems for potentially millions of people in the neurodiverse community. Starting Co3xistant was inspired by her desire to solve a problem. She was looking to bring a more positive narrative and wellness into the neurodiverse community where she saw a lot of sickness. Her approach to building her platform is built around keen observation of the community, what their needs are, where their needs are not being met and what potential solutions could create wellness for the people in the community. This circle of observation, questions, learning and potential solutions is only part of her approach to solving problems. Being successful in building your business, career or any platform you choose must build on a willingness to learn, step back, be open and willing to see where you may be wrong. Why Co3xistant is going to be enormously impactful is that the outcome is not tied to Rae’s ego and beliefs, but rather, it is tied to providing value and real solutions for an entire community.
If having a successful business and career is your desire, start looking at how you can solve problems. Zoom was positioned to step in and provide a solution amid a crisis when Coronavirus brought the entire world to its knees. Their platform enabled teachers and students to continue lessons, allowed businesses to communicate with employees and just as importantly their platform provided a way for everyday groups of friends to enjoy a digital happy hour and group meetings to stay connected.
“great companies are those that dedicate themselves to a problem that matters. When they solve the problem, they exit the stage triumphant. And companies that survive, do so because the problem they exist to solve (their purpose or mission) is so big that there is still work to do” -Kaihan Krippendorff (Fast Company)
Solving problems involves tackling challenges and overcoming struggles along the way. For Co3xistant, challenges are multilayered and presented from many angles. Rae discusses some of the challenges she’s found around language, groups with contradictory beliefs, medical communities and practices that exist to force changed behaviors not seen as neurotypical, as well as ideologies that systems are built from because of the size of their platform not the validity of their ideas. The size and complexity of the problem she is looking to solve seems insurmountable. Rae is a young lady from the sunny coast for California that has her own personal struggles and challenges, like many people, and yet, she is breaking this problem down and tackling challenges bit by bit with a determination and openness to understand, learn, grow and progress forward by any means necessary. She is not backed or funded by major corporations, she is an Impactivist on the move. The sheer weight of the struggles that she is looking to overcome within the neurodiverse community makes most people shrug and look away with sadness, feeling defeated and overpowered. Her openness to learn new perspectives, embrace ideologies and beliefs that she does not share, and facilitate in a way that is inclusive for the overarching goal of solving problems for the neurodiverse people in her community has Rae operating from a place of total humility and compassion for the sake of others.
“You have to understand for those who do not understand and you yourself need to understand.” -Rae Warren
Becoming the Learner
Solving problems requires learning. Learning about the problem by immersing yourself in that issue is to know where to look for solutions. Having an understanding of the issue in addition to an open mind willing to learn what is necessary to create real solutions is the other part of the equation most fail to reach. Rae knows that she wants to help gather more resources for the neurodiverse community, so for her, machine learning, A.I. and coding are skills that “help have better data... with better data we can have resources and better answers that can help all of us grow.” She shares that how she approaches Korean and machine learning, while seemingly difficult, is to view it as time-consuming rather than hard. There is a time commitment involved with learning that when coupled with the belief, I only do that which moves me toward my goal (Impact Theory Belief #19) keeps you focused on what is functional.
“All I care about genuinely is can I use this stuff, will this get me further… can I utilize it.” -Rae Warren
Learning also requires being open-minded, and for Rae, her willingness to be open, to be wrong, and seek growth through real-time feed-back loops has helped her evolve as an individual and as the facilitator for the neurodiverse community she looks to serve. In his book, Principles, Ray Dalio discusses the connection between open-mindedness, radical transparency and learning.
“Learning is the product of a continuous real-time feedback loop in which we make decisions, see their outcomes, and improve our understanding of reality as a result. Being radically open-minded enhances the efficiency of those feedback loops, because it makes what you are doing, and why, so clear to yourself and others that there can’t be any misunderstandings… Being radically transparent and radically open-minded accelerates the learning process.” - Ray Dalio
There are helpful techniques you can use to make learning anything you desire easier and most effective. Before sharing these techniques I feel a need to emphasize that your openness and focus on the outcome, not on your previously held beliefs, thoughts or concerns are of the greatest importance. Jim Kwik recommends the following questions in his book, Limitless which support an open mind: “how can I use this, why must I use this, and when will I use this?” Rae is always questioning everything, and it is through that curiosity that she has made such progress in her learning with everything being filtered through, does this move her further and can she use this. Tom Bilyeu always says, “skills have utility.” Utilizing resources that are easily accessible makes learning anything not only possible but attainable by nearly everyone. Using Google, platforms like Quora and Youtube are just a few resources that Rae says she finds helpful. The tool or technique she finds most helpful is using social media platforms to conversate within specific communities. Within communities you are able to create the “real-time feedback loop” that Ray Dalio refers to as a way of increasing your understanding, being clear on how this moves your forward and accelerating the learning process. Rae ties this all together with the reminder that, “you are the level of your training,” and using what you learn to make deeper connections will allow you to avoid pitfalls.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, social anxiety disorder includes “symptoms of anxiety or fear in certain or all social situations, such as meeting new people, dating, being on a job interview, answering a question in class, or having to talk to a cashier in a store.” Obviously, only you can judge how severe your anxiety is, and possibly it's not deep enough to be a disorder, but many can agree to having felt some level of anxiety, especially around building business or professionally. How is anxiety affecting your ability to perform with excellence and move ideas from your mind to a tangible reality? Anxiety holds many of us back on the sidelines watching everyone else play ball while we stand wishing we could make a move. In this interview Rae gets vulnerable and very specific about how she continues to deal with social anxiety. After being non-verbal for two years, Rae has pushed on and gone from social anxiety to social influencer with how inspiring her journey continues to be. Learning how to breathe in the moment and focus attention on being present is what she finds helpful and knowing that she's the type of person that does things that moves her towards her goals puts her in a position to practice social skills. Allowing herself the opportunity to practice gives her the chance to get out of her own way within the context community which in turn allows her to be more comfortable in group settings.
Many of us still struggle with the anxiety of being vulnerable and exposing our dreams and desires to grow and start amazing journeys. What if you took that feeling and could utilize the nervous energy and fear that tags along with anxiety and harnessed it to convert it into something for your benefit. Getting yourself out of the victim mentality of feeling defeated and sorry for yourself is a total power move. Stop seeing your weakness as something happening to you and start seeing it as something happening for you. Okay, so you may have to stretch yourself a bit to get here, but the journey to success is not trouble-free, pain-free or struggle-free. It is a journey of self-discovery and growth and that does not happen in the comfort zone. Rae has been able to find the positive attributes of her anxiety. It allows her to catch what most people miss because she is on such high alert. Making sure that she has enough variables before coming to a solution, and learning faster because she picks up on the small things are all possible because of her anxiety as well. As a bonus, she tapped into a superpower she found from having O.C.D. which is pushed by her anxiety, and her obsession over ideas and lessons allow her to innovate on her original ideas.
Building Your Internal Framework on a Solid Foundation
When it comes to celebrating your milestones or career highlights many things may come to mind or maybe nothing sticks out enough to feel the victory. However, building your value around your internal framework that rests on the foundation of your mindset, your belief system and rules that you have in place to move your forward in the direction of your choice is worthy of being the milestone marker for every one of us. When asked about her milestones Rae pointed to her mental stability first. Her being able to break away from negative thoughts and recognizing the havoc an altered state of mind can unleash gave her an opportunity to grow and admit she was wrong. After a bad day and publicly stating she was quitting Co3xistant she found the maturity and power to also state publicly that she was wrong and she was able to celebrate this as a personal victory.
“this is part of my lifestyle and that these things are going to happen but I will be okay, so I am proud of myself for being able to manage it at a way that’s functional and healthy”
Because she also values and has taken on the identity of the learner, another part of her internal framework she is celebrating is a new found love for learning math and technology and going into areas where she once failed consistently she is uncovering how nearly limitless her true potential really is. Lastly, an important part of her foundation, that we all could benefit to adopt, has been finding boundaries. Learning to say no to some things is a difficulty for many of us. Ryan Holiday refers to Seneca in his Daily Sotic Thoughts video, Why You Should Say No, that there is a cost to saying yes in the context of time. He also shares a question from Marcus Aurelius, “is this essential?”. He ends this very short video with one of the most effective question you should always ask yourself, what do you want your life or your day to look like? Boundaries by definition is a marker of some sort that limits an area, it protects something in most cases. For the focused and successful entrepreneurs and professionals, boundaries protect us from veering off course and also protect your journey from motives and agendas imposed by others that do not serve to move you toward your goals. As I mentioned before, Impact Theory Belief #19 is to do that which moves you toward your goal and belief #20 is to not do that which moves you away from your goal. Rae found boundaries and value in no longer feeling obligated or guilted into saying yes and that is truly a milestone worth celebrating.
“When you have a strong internal foundation you will fall cause you're supposed to it’s part of life, but being able to get back up... that anti-fragile mentality that everyone talks about, in order to do that you need to have a strong internal framework.”
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