Permission Slip to Be Imperfect

Hi Friends,

Last week I poured all my creative energy into completing the third draft of my book. It’s taken me over a year to complete this project that I thought would take six weeks and it’s been way harder than I imagined. 

Reflecting on my process with writing the book got me thinking about two related ideas that I want to share with you today: the power of commitment and permission to be imperfect. 

My all-time favorite author, Annie Dillard, advises authors to write a “shitty first draft.” Just get your ideas down on paper, even if it’s messy. I’ve been thinking that I can bring that embrace of imperfection to whole swaths of my life, far beyond writing. Just get it out there and do the best I can,  while bearing in mind Maya Angelou’s instructions: “Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.”

Today I want to give you a permission slip to lean into your own imperfections. To look at the aspects of your own work for change where you have perhaps submitted a shitty first draft, and ask yourself, do I know better now? And now that I know better, how can I do better? 

Inertia will keep things going in the direction they’re going. It takes a willful, conscious effort to shift our choices and actions into a new direction. It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to be imperfect. We all are. The magic move is in catching ourselves and making a new choice.

I’ll give you a concrete example.

Most of the time my day-to-day life with my partner, Christine, is a textbook version of living happily ever after. But every now and then we get caught in a little bit of a rut. Maybe there’s some criticism back and forth. Maybe one of us is feeling misunderstood or unappreciated. Who knows exactly what it is. The key isn’t in the precise diagnosis, it is in the ability to catch ourselves in that dynamic and interrupt the pattern. 

One of our favorite hacks is the do-over. Here’s a recent example. We were both in the kitchen, cooking dinner, and things just felt off. Christine declared, “I think we need a do-over,” which is our code word for this hack that always works. Even knowing that it always works, I will confess that part of me was like, “No, let’s just stay here and keep being bitchy a little longer.” 

But I’ve learned to discipline myself to ignore the adrenaline junkie in my head that wants to land one more zinger for the win. So I agree. At which point, Christine literally stops chopping vegetables, heads out to the driveway, circles back to the front door, swings it open with dramatic flair, and announces in a cheery voice, “hey family, I’m home!” At which point the kids get all excited and greet her at the door, I join in, too, and we all enjoy a good laugh and a big family hug. We don’t go back and relitigate whatever was the cause of the spat. We just move forward. We knew better and we did better. 

You can get a do-over at work, too. The key is that someone has to call the do-over and everyone has to be in on the game. But it’s entirely possible. Just decide not to go down that rabbit trail of blame and criticism another minute. Because there’s no prize at the end of that trail.

What enables this do-over hack to work is a commitment to something bigger than being right. In my relationship with Christine, it’s our commitment to a conscious loving relationship. In my work, it is a commitment to helping social change leaders make their big dent in the Universe. The do-over is a reliable way to recommit ourselves to the bigger picture. 

I’m curious if any of you have attempted a do-over before – at home or at the office. Or if there’s anything that’s wanting a do-over right now. Maybe this is a message from the Universe to call it. 

When you know better, do better.

Need some help finding a starting point? Take our free course “What’s Your Big In The Universe”. Have fun with this one!

– Becky

p.s. If you’d like to be notified when the book is published, sign up here!

Three of Influence Waitlist

Impact with Integrity (formerly Three Feet of Influence) 2021 Waitlist

We are so excited for the first cohort of 2021 to commence! Enrollment will open at the end of January and the course will begin February 9th, 2021! In the mean time, please let know us a little bit about yourself. Talk soon!

Some Fun & Good News!


We interrupt this nail biting election season for some good news!

Selena had her baby!

We would like to welcome our newest member of the extended Billions Institute Family!

Eliya Tomis Liu Raphael
Born at 10:41AM, October 28th 2020
6lb 15oz & 19.5 inches long


We also realize you might have Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” stuck in your head



Hi Friends,

If you’re not up on TikTok or this viral sensation you might be wondering “Why am I hearing this song?” Well, the whole world is hearing this song right now. And while I’ve been humming along, I had some thoughts about how something like this can happen.

This is Nathan Apodaca aka @420Dogface208 and on September 25th he made this 20 second video of himself riding his longboard drinking some ocean spray and listening to Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. This video got more than 65 million likes in the middle of a heated election and debilitating pandemic. In this time of huge division we can all agree that for some reason we really like this video.

The neat thing about the TikTok platform is that it enables adaptation. All you have to do is push one button on the app and you can be making your own TikTok with the exact same song – but your way. There are literally thousands of TikToks that are a variation on Nathan’s theme. I even saw one of a kitten being pulled on a skateboard with some ocean spray. Stevie Nicks even joined in, lacking up some old school roller skates. We don’t know why this took off, but it definitely did and the repercussions extend beyond TikTok.

Today, the record label’s catalog division reported that in the past two weeks, “Dreams” has been streamed 36 million times, a 212 percent increase from the pervious two-week period. Meanwhile, downloads were up 1,188 percent. They estimate that across social media. streaming apps, and radio that the song has been heard more than 230 million times, thanks to the “Dreams Challenge” Apodaca’s video spawned.  – LA Times


Here is another example impressive impact – Ocean Spray Stock.
On the 29th of September, the stock value doubled in price from $12-$13 to $25 – and held.

Also, stores are out of Ocean Spray.
Forget the toilet paper –  it’s cranberry juice that’s hard to find.

The whole world is in on this one great big joke. Has it ever happened before that a song hits the charts twice, but separated by 43 years? It was top of the charts in 1977 and now again in 2020. So what’s going on here? I’m going to give Nathan credit, what he did was awesome, but what that have to do with you – someone who is working to advance social justice and make the world a better place? What can we learn about spread and scale? Here are a few lessons for you to have in your brain next time you hear ‘Dreams’.


There’s something about making it really easy for people to adapt your thing. The fact that any TikTok user can easily make adaptations – effortlessly, really – is a factor that enables rapid spread/scale. Contrast that with the social sectors where we sometimes see people being kind of precious about fidelity. Nathan doesn’t care if you copy him – he wants you to. And he wants you to make it your own. To the extent that you can make it easy and fun for people to adapt your innovation, you enhance the odds of achieving spread/scale.

Fan The Flames

When OceanSpray saw this was happening they showed up at Nathan’s house with a truck – filled with Cran-Grape Juice – and encouraged him to keep going. So how can we acknowledge and appreciate the people who are trying to do our thing?


2020 has kind of been a shit storm right? Here is something fun and light that can bring people together. It’s a small thing but it’s a big thing. Is there some small way you can inject a little fun, joy, light-heartedness, and music into whatever it is you’re doing?

If you’ve been thinking about this too I’d love to hear your thoughts! Hit me up, write me back on why you think the Dreams Challenge went so viral. I’m fascinated when this type of thing happens and just really appreciative towards human beings – how much it is in our nature to create and play and find joy in the small things. So I wish this for you and I hope this was a fun interruption in a very serious, very important week in United States history. I’ll be thinking of all of you!

– Becky

Skid Row School 2021 Waitlist

Skid Row School 2021 Waitlist

We are so excited for our 2021 Skid Row School to commence! We want to get you signed up asap. As soon as we have the dates finalized we'll reach out to let you know how to enroll. In the mean time, please let know us a little bit about yourself. Talk soon!
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Reminder Of Open House And Three Feet Of Influence

Hi there –

I’d like to interrupt another week of shitty and heart breaking news to remind you that next week we’re launching our new course called Three Feet of Influence. This is for leaders who are ready and willing to work through your biggest fears and challenges. In four weeks. We’re going to get ‘er done. Together.

We’re going up our game because the world needs us right now.

And it’s really ok for you to do something just for you.

Now is the time to enroll because we only meet four times and then it’s over. The first live coaching session is September 2nd at 10:30 AM Pacific Time. Then the next three Wednesdays, same time, same place (zoom). You’ll get access to the self-paced course materials immediately upon enrolling so you can get started right away.

If this has been calling to you, you know what to do. Click here to learn more and enroll.

Let’s do this!

p.s. Congratulations to Deborah O’Nyons and Rezwan Razani who received the Barbara and Bill Packard Scholarship. And huge thank you to Barbara & Bill for your generosity in enabling them to attend!