Is ‘local’ the answer?

I’ve been thinking about local vs global for a while now. I think there’s a clear crossover between my midlife crisis (five years and counting?) and this growing sense that the most important thing we can do – as individuals – is pay attention to the local vs the global.

There seems to be a template:

  • -> As young kids into teenage years, we are focused on the hyper-local
  • -> Sometime in later teenage/young adult years we start to consider the global impact we could have (fame, fortune, politics, leadership, big titles, whatever ‘impact’ is to you)
  • -> At some point, we realize that at the local is actually the most meaningfully impactful we can be, no more how much fame, fortune, titles, awards we’ve amassed.

The first time I said this out loud was last year, at an outdoor event we held for 50:50 Startups. I was mentoring one of the teams and finally meeting them in person after months of Zoom sessions. It was lovely to ‘click’ in person, too. One of the team members asked me how I stay so positive in this hectic world (it was before the horrific Gaza ‘operation’ but in the middle of a ton of local conflict and of course, pandemic).

I found myself responding: I focus on concentric circles of ‘local’… making an impact on my family – my partner and kids, my extended family abroad; my friends, my physical community, my town; my professional life, my tech ecosystem; my country, my region; and so on.

Maybe I didn’t even realize until that point I was doing that; more likely, I knew but felt unsatisfied because for so long I believed true impact ought to be ‘global’ – meaningful = quantity.

And then the more I think about it, the more I see it in the majority of people who have experienced way more than me. Like I’m joining yet another community, and this one is a community of experience, of gaining more years and more understanding of true impact. A less tangible local, but one that empowers me to keep making an impact in my circles.





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