Uncommon Interview With Abby Feinberg

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To get to know Abby, it helps to pull out a map. She’s lived all over the U.S. and travelled around the world to better understand and fully immerse herself in people, communities, and cultures — how they behave, how they think and what they do. She’s fascinated by human behavior and passionate about creating experiences to make people’s lives better and communities thrive. Abby’s patronus is Leslie Knope (from the show Parks and Recreation), bringing her same signature chutzpah, humor, and enthusiasm for great work, great teammates, and of course, great waffles. Abby brings her curiosity, creativity and penchant for problem-solving cultivated from employee experience roles at EA, Renovate America and Asurion to a range of projects at Bulldog.

Abby joined the Bulldog Drummond team as a Senior Strategist a few weeks ago and we found it proper to welcome her with the obligatory series of getting acquainted questions.

GET TO KNOW ABBY

BD: What value, phrase or uncommon truth do you live by?
AF: I live by a few values: Love Everyone, Serve Everyone, and Tell the Truth. I take no credit for these! Ram Dass, my (and many others’) extraordinary teacher, teaches to these values. Over time and lots of meditation and care and ego in-fighting, I’ve internalized them and feel that they are my own, too.

BD: What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
AF: I don’t think there’s a specific goal I’ve accomplished or status I’ve hit — mainly because I’ve consciously been unwrapping myself from the need for external validation. I lived that way for a long time, and I thought that hitting milestones and achieving things (like marriage, or having a certain title, or living life in a certain way, or having a status symbol of some kind) was fulfilling. What I’ve learned about myself is that the “fulfillment” was really a mask for distraction. My ego likes to distract me from looking inward for fulfillment, so there’s a sense of unlearning those behaviors to get back to zero.

UNCOMMON IDEAS

BD: What gets you out of bed in the morning? What’s your purpose?
AF: To contribute to making the world a better place. Leaving this place better than I found it.

BD: What’s the most useful question you ask often? Why?
AF: “Tell me more” — it’s a command or an invitation versus a question. And mainly that’s because I feel like, without getting permission, we’re all sharing about 10–20% of what’s inside. And so, by asking for more, I hope I can give permission for the people around me to go deeper and get a little bit more vulnerable.

BD: What makes you uncommon?
AF: Seeking the things that are true in all of us.

BD: Can you tell us about an experience that made you who you are?
AF: I took an incredible trip to Nepal two years ago. I spent a week solo, and a week with JDC for their annual Global Young Leaders trip. During our trip, we drove in Jeeps on one lane roads down terrifying dirt paths and mountain passes to a remote mountain village hours from Kathmandu. We stayed with a beautiful family who lived on the top of a mountain, spoke no English, and lived off of practically nothing. And having nothing (not a piece of furniture, a couple of pairs of clothes, doors that hardly shut, windows with no glass), they showed us incredible hospitality, kindness, and care. They were content, happy to host and share food and the beauty of their lives. We woke up to the most glorious sunrise. That experience shook me to my core.

UNCOMMON ACTIONS

BD: What is the most important decision you made in the last twelve months?
AF: I have 2:

  1. Moving back to San Diego for this incredible opportunity
  2. Going to Hawaii in December to be on retreat with Ram Dass, which turned out to be his last, as he passed away less than a week later.

BD: Tell us about a positive daily habit that you have:
AF: I have a daily meditation practice that I cherish and mentally fight about almost daily, and I will talk about meditation and consciousness and your inner spirit ad nauseum to whoever will listen. You’ve been warned.

UNCOMMON WORLD

BD: Considering the state of the world as result of the pandemic, what is your biggest observation about humanity / society:
AF: Kindness and love and service are everywhere, in everyone, and it’s much easier to find that space in your heart when the rest of the noise is stripped away.

BD: Have you learned anything new about yourself during the pandemic?
AF: I’m even more adaptable than I thought I was. And I really miss hugs.

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