The Struggle Part 2 – We Need Help

The Struggle Part 2 – We Need Help

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Last week, I talked about ‘The Struggle’ and the fact that it happens to many of us at times. I mentioned that I was in the very centre of a personal struggle right now, how my mind is playing tricks on me, and the techniques that I use to keep going and to release myself from that struggle.

What I didn’t talk about was what I am struggling with. I was challenged a few times about this, and I am willing to accept it. I must reveal what it is that I need help with.

Most days, I believe that anything is possible. There are some days that I don’t. Right now, The Dandelion Project is in the toughest phase of any startup: that phase after the initial noise and momentum has gone. That phase when your mind tests you and the doubt creeps in.

The start up curve

The truth is: it is a ridiculous mission for a small group of people to start a project to reimagine a country, by 2020. We are just 6 people who decided over coffee to try something bold. Just 6 people who took a huge social risk within a conservative island community where apathy and negativity reigns. 6 people who started something that they could never do alone, and with no idea how they were going to achieve what they had started.

Over the last 3 months, I have to honestly say that I have been struggling with the enormity of this project. It started out as something fun and lighthearted; as a large amount of mischief. But now I am starting to feel the burden, as I learn more from individuals’ stories of the systems that are failing us. The project is becoming more and more significant and challenging with every human story I hear, and the gravity of that reality weighs heavily on my mind.

It is joy and fun that will make this project successful, but it is joy and fun that this project is taking away.

It is easy to say ‘The education (or health) system is not working!’ from the comfort of an easy life, but when you are faced with the shocking human reality of it, it is not easy to reconcile at all.

I live in a country that is one of the ‘wealthiest’ on earth, and yet:

We are a microcosm of the Western problem. And this is where the real opportunity and importance lies.

Yet, I have to say that I am overwhelmed by the size of this problem. I live in a place small enough to pilot initiatives that will solve the problem for everyone else, yet there are days when I can’t see a way through. I am overwhelmed by how entrenched our systems are, and I just don’t have all the answers and the resources to resolve these issues.

Through global communication and technology, all our problems are becoming solvable. And yet the real challenge is to take what is possible and make it happen on the ground.  Especially when the human mind is so biologically wired against change.

Although this might seem like mission impossible, we have made significant progress. We are building community, and finding future changemakers to develop our society from the ground up. We are inspiring people to get involved in projects, large and small, to make our island a better place to live.

Coffee by coffee, we are encouraging people to take action and be the change that they want to see. Coffee by coffee, we are building the global connections necessary to make our goal a reality.

With every successful action, more and more people are inspired to take action themselves to help create a remarkable community. The movement is growing, and we are making a difference, but it will be the ultimate David and Goliath story when we succeed.

Over the long term, we aim to attract more funding and resources, from within and outside the island of Guernsey, to allow us to pilot and scale new ideas and put ineffectual, traditional infrastructures and systems out of business. This will happen much faster than if we depended solely on persuading government to effect a step-change.

In the short term, we require resources and funding to help us build our internal infrastructure, to market and promote the mission, and to catalyse more of the community and the world into action. Yet none of us have experience in fundraising – least of all in tapping into the high-risk, high-reward philanthropy that we need.

We need to spread the message and significance of what we are trying to do in the world. This will help both our local population to support the project, and give us access to more global resources. We know that producing positive media works well to engage and inspire people to take action on improving where they live. Yet we have limited time, money, resources and expertise to do this effectively and at scale.

From what we have done so far, we know that events that share ideas from around the world catalyse change. We know that if we cross-pollinate those ideas and people with our local population, we radically speed up innovation in improving quality of life. We know that we can be a regular destination for some of the best minds on the planet, through major events and through partnerships. We know that we can get the world’s best minds working together, focussing our collective efforts on curing the Western condition in one small corner of the world. And yet we do not have what we need to make all that happen.

We need help to make it happen.

The bottom line is – we cannot do this alone. We are struggling to get from where we are now to where we need to be. Sure, we started it, and we are in it for the long haul, but beyond that, it could all come to nothing, unless we get the help we need.

We have a lot of support and goodwill – which has given us the initial momentum to get going. We are now at the stage when we need more than that. We need to convert that support and goodwill into the resources necessary to operate on a far larger scale.

Even though, at times, it feels like a lonely and impossible struggle, it has greater significance in my mind each and every day. I know that this seemingly impossible challenge can be done – and it will be done, somewhere, someday. I just have to be honest and say that I have no idea how. I have to be honest – this is starting to take its toll on me personally, and consequently, is taking a toll on my family.

To be honest, I really need your help.

So, if you know a way to unlock a door for us, please do.

If you can contribute ideas, resources, expertise, connections, time, love, or belief – to help me personally, or help The Dandelion Project – please do.

I know that each and every one of you reading this can help me in some way. I just don’t know exactly how you can help – yet.

What I do know, is that I need you.

So, please let me know – how can you help?

Let me know in the comments section below or e-mail me at



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  1. I’d love to help if there’s a way I can Marc. I’ll have a think. But I know you’ll find a way to make this work. x

  2. Marc, welcome to my world – we too risked a lot to try and help people with an inventive and potentially world changing concept, and we spoke to a lot of people who were all very enthusiastic and were full of ideas on what we should do but in the end its actions that count – and finding people who do “actions” as well as “words” is very difficult indeed – its what separates the doers from the messers and thus we are right at the bottom of your graph. Good luck with finding some people that “do” and when you find them point them in my direction please. D.

  3. I don’t know if you intend to be a politician, Marc (perhaps the politician’s coffee buddy), but I couldn’t help but think how awesome it would be if US politicians ran for office with big, hairy goals (rather than policy proposals). The political system here lacks a well-communicated mission with common values.

    You’re doing amazing work and I think you’re right where you need to be.

    • I actually don’t believe that political representation is necessary given the technology that we all have at our disposal. It was designed in an era when transport was by horse.

      If you look at someone like Obama he arrived with a huge change agenda. His main weakness is that he tried to rebuild from the inside rather than the outside.

      Thanks for your support Nick.

  4. I admire what you’re trying to do Mark, but you are aiming high. I tried for many years to impact the design/delivery of education, but ultimately was unprepared to devote my whole life to/sacrifice my family on the altar of this ambition (which is what it seemed was needed). My sense is that laser focus is required to tackle tangible issues one at a time, whilst keeping an eye on the big picture. Unfortunately I’m too tired and broke to offer anything but admiration at this point in my life – but hope this will change reasonably soon… Good luck my friend.

    • Hi Henry,

      We stand on the shoulders of those who have tried before us. No doubt others will do the same from what we learn.

      Thanks for you admiration. M

  5. Raising funds sucks….unless you’re making potato salad! Forget it if you want to do something real, I’m only joking. I try to change the world one person at a time too but I doubt my efforts will go anywhere, but I will keep pushing on regardless. Best of luck!

  6. I’m currently helping Marc and the Dandelion Project by getting them in the same room as some of the world’s most influential, high-impact individuals at the WorldFIX Congress ( in order to knock heads together and get projects like this happening. Why? Because I believe that it’s in our collective interest for this to succeed. So to reiterate Marc’s post, I’d urge anyone reading this to offer some tangible help to the project, no matter how small, or big.

  7. ArgyBargy says

    Dear Mark,

    Anything worthwhile is never easy!!

    Forget the big picture, In fact, develop big picture blindness. Just keep chipping away and occasionally look back to see how much progress you have made 🙂

    I have no idea how I can contribute. I am an analyst and software trainer by profession, with entrepreneurial spirit. I love the Dandelion Project ethos and would love to get involved, but I have no idea how. I would love to do something for the community, but have no idea what I can help with or where to start!!


  8. Mark Astley says

    Read “Suddess Against the Odds – Five lessons in how to achieve the impossible” by Brett Wigdortz about his journey to build Teach First – inspirational stuff to show you the way!


  9. Mark Astley says

    …that was “Success…”

  10. Thank you Marc ! You did it! Now I really get it and I really relate. I can’t write too much right now but since I was one of the people who said “please share more” I just wanted to give kudos and thanks to you for doing so. Good for you for finding ways to keep the faith and keep on moving forward coffee by coffee, step by step, asking for help and for challenging limiting beliefs as they arise.

  11. Michelle says

    When we spoke in Fargo I was delighted to hear you guys were going at education the way you were. However, as your post so eloquently states it is exhausting and you don’t know where to turn and you are feeling frustrated and at times beaten. We have found that our group of committed educators just stick together and create meaningful projects for our students we have the privilege to work with time and time again…regardless of what others say. Over the course of five years we have impacted our students and ourselves and the education we are providing our students. Over the course of the next five years we will double/triple that impact. In time we will transform education in West Fargo. We felt the need to do it from the inside out because we don’t have the desire or passion to do the things required to make our own school yet…probably all the frustrations you are experiencing. We want this type of education for everyone and slow and steady is winning the race for us. We may not be going as fast as we like but it takes a while to turn the “big whale” of education. You know we are always willing to share our projects ideas with you and your committed 5 or 6…so continue to reach out and just keep taking that next step…the path will rise up and meet you. Michelle

  12. Susanne Ramharter says

    Unfortunately, I have no funds to give. But what I do have is empathy, academic training and experience as a Systemic Coach and that I offer gladly.

  13. You know that anything you need – I am here. I have been with you for the last 3 years and intend to be around for the a few years more! There is NEVER a time that I do not believe in you and what you do.

  14. Rock on Marc! Thanks for sharing, again.

    You’re not alone. We’re all part of this. I think my only real encouragement to you is; don’t take it too seriously — certainly not to affect your health and family life! You are being an valuable catalyst to many people. Keep at it, just don’t try to do it all yourself.

    Please come round for a coffee.

  15. Marc,

    Don’t lose faith…

    As Henry Playfoot says above, it takes dogged perseverance to effect even small changes. I can understand you being frustrated by the political system but the fact remains that it is our democratically determined system and that’s the rules we have to play by. To bring about permanent change requires you either to build direct political influence or to drive public opinion. For now, take comfort that there are brilliant, honest, hard working people, many of whom who you will rarely hear a word about, who have passed up much bigger money elsewhere so they can spend every day trying their best to make things better in this island.

    The reality is that Dandelion is a political movement. Even if you say it isn’t, even if you neither field nor endorse election candidates, even if you do not lobby politicians or government authorities directly, what you are doing is the purest form of political engagement: engaging directly with the people AS PEOPLE and not just as voters. That is ten or a hundred times more powerful than popping a slip in the ballot box – and you know it of course which is why you are doing it!

    Guernsey is and must remain a democracy, so although you might have a vision, and there might be a lot of people who share that vision, there is a heck of a lot of devil in the details, and nothing can be forced upon the island if the majority do not actually want it.

    But why doesn’t politics seem to deliver ANY vision?

    I think a key part of the problem is a perceived lack of engagement of the visionaries (anyone less than 50!) in local politics, which in turn causes that group to be underrepresented in the political sphere.

    I say this lack of engagement is only perceived because this group is far more engaged than they are given credit for, and Dandelion proves it. Even if these people aren’t showing up on the electoral roll and at the ballot box, it’s only because that is simply not the route of political engagement they want to take. They are put off by the process, the negativity and whingeing: the noise that takes over in politics when all the signal is gone. They are engaged by wanting to volunteer, by being environmentally and socially conscious and connected, by wanting global justice and conceiving moonshot visions of how Guernsey could lead the world. We all fall short on delivery, but when it comes to political engagement, just wishing and talking about these things knocks a four-yearly stroll to the polling station into a cocked hat.

    So have faith that the simple fact of Dandelion’s existence can transform the island. It can replace the monotonous political drone of grey heads bleating about hedges and parking with bright minds offering a vision of the future they want to see.

    The tipping point will come when we realise that the only thing stopping visions from becoming reality is our reluctance to demand it. When that happens, what politician would want to be part of the noise when they can be part of the signal?

    • Wise words John. I really value this feedback.

      There is no real loss of faith. Much of it is mind chatter to be heard and ignored. I do have faith in what we are doing. That doesn’t mean we don’t struggle in doing it!

      As for politics. I agree we are a political movement in its truest form. I also agree there very good people at every level that sadly work within systems that aren’t designed to get the best out of them.

      Personally I would like to see Guernsey become more of a pure democracy. I don’t really think turning up to a ballot box every 4 years is actually that democratic given that we have the technology to vote on things like X-Factor every week. The bottom line for me is that political representation was designed in an era when transport was by horse. We are way beyond that now in terms of communication and transport capability and yet our systems are not changing to adapt to that capability.

      If the one thing that comes out of this is that we demonstrate to our community that the disengaged are in fact engaged but not interested in our current form of politics then I feel we would have shown the world something really interesting. It will be interesting to see how that information would shift innovations in the structure of political systems.

      Our job is to inspire a community to live its potential and really contribute to improving the world. If we do that job right then the whole political landscape will change in time. The system will evolve in time to get the best out of the population. And from that point of view we can have more impact from the outside at this point in time.


  16. Charls Friel says


    Feeling this way is part of the change/challenge/learning process. You’re diagram could also show a learning process, which involves risk. I guess I would say that its OK to feel this way and its OK not to like it….Also, Guernsey is really supportive of community and fund raising events. How can you galvanise this?

    Best wishes,


  17. Two quotes for you!

    ‘Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it’

    ‘Leadership – is the courage to cling tenaciously to a vision and the toughness to endure the blame for every difficulty along the way!’

    One practical ( obvious ) thought – the financial resources you need – and more – are on the Island

    One friendly invitation – a free lunch, breakfast, whenever you are next in Londinium

    a wave


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  19. Having doubts is all part of the process, just remember to take time for yourself. Turn off your iPhone after dinner most days, spend time with your family and replenish yourself. Then get back on it with renewed vigour and keeping ploughing forward. I will help in anyway I can, looking forward to meeting you.

  20. Attractive element of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to assert that I get actually
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  21. I’m in, where I can help I will. The doers are those of us who are our word. If we say we will help we will.
    You know who I am now and where I be. Thank you

    See you soon

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