Rachel Cargle is an activist, entrepreneur, and philanthropic innovator. Cargle is a regular contributor to Cultured magazine, Atmos, and The Cut, and her work has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. She is the founder of The Loveland Group, a family of companies that includes literary spaces and learning platforms that celebrate marginalized voices and the teachings of BIPOC thinkers. She is also founder of The Loveland Foundation, which offers free access to mental health care for Black women and girls.
Below, Rachel shares 5 key insights from her new book, A Renaissance of Our Own: A Memoir & Manifesto on Reimagining. Listen to the audio version—read by Rachel herself—in the Next Big Idea App.
1. Our best selves are our highest service.
Oftentimes we have the idea that deep self-sacrifice and martyrdom are the only ways to show up and give back. But I tend to disagree. I found that when we really care for ourselves and pour into our needs, we’re able to nourish the ground that gives us the opportunity to go out, to serve, to be in a relationship, to show up. So, make sure that you remind yourself that it is only when you are your best self that you are in your highest service.
2. KEA: Knowledge, Empathy, and Action
I teach from the framework called KEA, or Knowledge, Empathy, and Action. It’s a three-pronged approach to ensuring that when we are looking for opportunities to be in community and allyship, we do just that.
Knowledge means actually hearing from the voices that are looking to be heard. Empathy, also called radical empathy, insists that we not only say “I hear you and I see you,” but that we also say within ourselves, “How does who I am play into the pain that you are experiencing?” Finally, action means it’s not enough to just intellectualize these issues. We must go out and do something.
3. Discover our own highest values.
My highest values are encompassed by the words: ease, abundance, and opportunity. These are the lens through which I move through the world. This is the lens through which I make my decisions.
“There are ways to gain goodness from most of what we approach.”
I have found that when you take the time to really explore and discover your highest values, you are able to move through this life without questioning yourself so much, without explaining yourself so much, and without having to wonder whether what you are doing is truly for you and truly fits into your values or is something that society is putting upon us.
4. Be in a relationship with your younger and older selves.
Often, I look to the courage of my younger self to teach me how to show up now. I also put in a lot of work, from small things like the way that I lotion my body, knowing that my older self will still be living in this skin. There is something really grounding in being thoughtful of and in relationship with who we were before and who we are becoming.
5. Learn how to keep the meat and throw out the bones.
There are so many books out there, so many lectures, workshops, and gurus, who are offering us information that is supposedly the answer. But I want to encourage you, as you go out on this journey of self-development and self-exploration, that you really are thoughtful—you don’t have to take in everything that everyone gives you.
You can take the meat and throw out the bones. You can take what’s applicable, what fills you, what changes and moves you, and let go of something that might not be applicable. There are ways to gain goodness from most of what we approach, as long as we offer ourselves the discernment to know what is the meat and what are the bones.
To listen to the audio version read by author Rachel Cargle, download the Next Big Idea App today: