This term gets a lot of airtime these days. Most people have a concept of what it means but how it applies to life, not just business, is of particular interest to me.
I have always been most comfortable thinking of myself as an island. I actually think of everyone as little islands floating around in the same sea. This is more than just a pretty image, it informs everything about my mindset. For a long time I attributed this orientation to being the youngest and the only daughter in my family. Then my mom passed when I was 22 and my island drifted further away from the others. I was truly alone in a way I had never before been.
The truth is, my parents raised the three of us this way by design. They commended independence, encouraged the questioning of authority, and waited until we asked the golden question, “Why?”
“Why?” is at the very heart of disruptive thinking. Challenging the status quo, forgetting about the opinions of others, becoming comfortable with discomfort, welcoming failure and being brave with wild abandon are the pillars of a true disruptor. How forward thinking of my parents to shape our formative years the way they did.
When I told my mother I wanted to invest money I had made as a child model and actress into a band I was friends with in high school, she reminded me to do my research and then told me I had worked to earn that money and it was mine to do with as I saw fit. When I told her that I was going to take leave from Brown to pursue a career at Epic Records working in the A&R department, she said, “First, make sure this guy who’s hiring you has integrity and once you’ve confirmed that, GO FOR IT.” Her trust and belief in me imbued my younger self with confidence at a time when many of my peers were struggling to find their true north.
My father. Well, a more brilliant man you would be hard pressed to find. I could go on about his beautiful mind for an eternity and not finish the story. There are innumerable examples of his wisdom and counsel but the one that comes to mind most often was his favorite question, “Are you sure?”
There is nothing quite like a genius micro-engineer inventor asking you if you have done the research to make you go back and check your work. I knew I had to be completely steadfast in my hypothesis if I were presenting it to him. That was the rhythm of my childhood. Ask why, do the work, and go for it.
So I mean it when I say I hit the lottery when I was lucky enough to be born to Eva and Gerry Tucci. I was raised in a veritable think tank for disruptors. It has served me well. Once I embarked on my adventure as an entrepreneur, I knew I had found my proverbial home.
Disruptive thinking is a cool way to say make your own rules. It is at the heart of everything I care about, and each year makes it that much more apt. I feel the weight of society dictating to me its heavy handed suggestions that I recede, sit down, find some lovely gentleman and live a quiet and content life.
Except I’m not wired for that.
Certainly not in that order, and not because that’s what’s expected of me. The little tiny disruptor inside me, the one with pink ribbons around her braids that chased her older brothers, bit them hard, and then fake cried so they would get in trouble, rears her head up high. I will make the rules thank you very much. I do not need permission or approval, just the fire in my gut I was lucky enough to be born with and the audacity to truly speak up, loudly.
Come this way, ladies. Be brave with me.