Have you ever read over somebody’s bio or résumé and been completely intimidated, only to meet them in person and say to yourself, “Wow, they’re really cool?” I’m sure that happens to Candace Faber all the time. I won’t go into her accomplishments here. For that, I recommend you check out her LinkedIn profile. I met Candace only a few months ago, just after she returned from serving as a foreign diplomacy officer in Afghanistan. What captivates me most about Candace is how comfortable she is in her own skin. Additionally, our conversations always leave me with substantial food for thought. It is my honest pleasure to introduce (or reintroduce) you to Candace Faber. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.
Who Inspires You?
Artists, adventurers, activists, researchers, entrepreneurs—basically, everyone who dares to create something new! I seek out their stories. They serve as excellent counterpoints to the bigger narratives in our society, which often treat the world as a static place in which all games are zero-sum. I am inspired by people who create space for change, who explore new frontiers, and who, in economic terms, “grow the pie.”
What is the most interesting question you’ve ever been asked and how did you respond?
A friend dared to ask me, “What would you do if you were not afraid?” That question is really deep. I could not answer him until I dug into myself and identified what I was afraid of and why, a largely involuntary process that took a year and a near-fatal car accident to get through. Now, I can finally answer: “This is what I would do.” I still have my fears; I’m just choosing every day to overcome them.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I write short stories.
If you removed all constraints how would you spend your time?
Exactly as I am now.
How did you get to where you are today?
Many, many leaps of faith. For example, when I was offered a fellowship from the Department of State, I was just 19. I could not even picture what a diplomatic career would be like. It was terrifying. The same thing happened when I decided to go to Afghanistan. These steps into the dark led to incredible experiences and friendships with inspirational people all over the world. I felt equally uncertain about the future when I launched my business this spring, but I hope to look back once again and feel that it was worth the risk.
What are you doing to be the person you want to be?
Immersing myself in new knowledge—I have a lot to learn from those who’ve been down this road before. Living in the city where I want to build my life—I believe in Seattle and am committed to being part of its future. Surrounding myself with people who inspire me—because none of us can do this alone.
What can you do today to improve someone else’s life?
The question is the answer. It requires a shift in attention away from our own needs and toward others.
We really never know when we’re going to have the opportunity to make a difference. Sometimes it’s easy. The other day when a man on Bell Street asked me for food, I happened to have a fresh bag of chips and salsa from Mama’s Mexican Kitchen right there in my lap. Often it’s harder, requiring us to sacrifice something—time, energy, resources—that we would rather keep for ourselves.
In many cases, our individual interventions are small, and we may not even realize that we have made an impact. When I worked in policy, I had to come to terms with the fact that I could never take credit for the big changes I helped to advance. But the cumulative effect of all our positive interventions is profound.
What is the toughest decision you ever had to make, and what did you learn from it?
After ten years with the U.S. Department of State, I decided to resign from my career as a diplomat. This choice was heart-wrenching. The Foreign Service is more than a job; it is a tight-knit community of people with unique experiences. It has been hard to let go.
This transition has taught me that change is painful. I have had to rely on others in ways that made me deeply uncomfortable. I have been humbled; I have had to sacrifice wealth and status, knowing that I may never get it back. But I have changed my definition of success. Whatever comes of this latest step into the dark, I know that I am living an authentic life.
What do you think is the most fascinating subject/concept in the world?
I am amazed by the power of stories to shape the way we behave.
What makes you smile?
Any expression of wonder, delight, or understanding. That means I melt a little around children and puppies--who doesn’t--but what’s really satisfying is when adults like me are changed by a fresh idea. Anything that helps us overcome cynicism is worth a big open-mouthed smile.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am collecting interviews with inspirational women, which I hope to publish as a book. I am also building my company, Whoa!, a brand strategy and creative communications agency. Basically, I strive to create powerful positive narratives that lead to action.
What question did I not ask you that you wish I had and how would you answer?
What idea has had the biggest impact on my life? Two years ago, my friend Suzanne gave me a book by Martha Beck that articulated the idea of an “everybody committee.” When we say, “Everybody thinks I shouldn’t try this,” or, “Everybody thinks I’m not capable,” who is this everybody? Usually, the only person on that list is our self. Beck challenges us to populate the word “everybody” with people who know us, love us, and have our backs. Now, when I experience a crisis of confidence, I just think about my everybody committee. Their faith gives me courage.
How can we support you?
By letting me know how I can support you!
How can we contact you?
Reach out through the contact form at whoaseattle.com or on Twitter @kingushia.