Meet The Disruptors: Nancy Bologna Of The Lives of CC Mercy On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry
An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Be yourself, nothing else works. Go ahead, fake it now and then. Might last for a while. But all you really have is you.
As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Bologna.
Author and creator Nancy Bologna, of Rockford, Minnesota, is a Clinical Psychologist by profession but has had many other positions such as a senior executive in large corporations, an executive business coach, and a “behind-the scenes” writer. She created a new and exciting way to “consume content” — — a digital interactive novel where people can contribute to the ongoing story, expand or invent new characters, draw, paint, make music and so much more. Welcome to The Lives of CC Mercy, an inclusive place where artists from around the world can collaborate, let their creativity flourish, and receive the recognition they deserve.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I have always loved to read and write, and have been drawn to the human experience from a young age. I’ve worked in several different fields, including the entertainment industry, retail and executive coaching. As a psychologist, I’ve been privileged to understand on a deep level how people think and feel, share their dark moments and their joys. But there are so many stories that are left untold, and I wanted to find a way for people to have their own voice in this noisy world.
So I created a digital, interactive novel called The Lives of CC Mercy. This is a place where creators have the freedom to express their creativity and get recognition for their work. This is a living story that will become a visual medium as more creatives join the community. I’m starting it with five seasons already, each with ten episodes, and more than a hundred unique characters already!
The story starts with 16-year-old CC Mercy who commits a murder. But the story quickly moves beyond her. Drama, action, love, and all the human elements emerge. The story is broken into episodes and seasons, much like a TV series. I hope this becomes a visual medium where artists and writers can create new characters, expand on established characters, move the plot forward, go back into someone’s past, or dig deeper into their present. Every month, we’ll ask for artists’ renderings of what characters look like and the winner’s work will become that character’s image.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
I’m creating an inclusive space where authors, artists and other creatives can do just that… create. To my knowledge, there isn’t a website or novel like this out there that is strictly developed by the everyday person. This is a concept that is gaining momentum. We see it with YouTube and streaming services like Netflix. People have a desire to create something new and to shake up how audiences interact with media.
We see this disruption in other industries like Uber. Instead of calling a taxi service, you use an app on your phone to find a driver near you. People go directly to other people. The Lives of CC Mercy transports content, rather than passengers. Person to person without an intermediary.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I certainly have made a string of big mistakes so it’s hard to pick one! I underestimated the complexity of creating a compelling website that gets the story out there and gets attention. Luckily, I chose an excellent website design and development company, and they have been a true partner to me. I wouldn’t be this far without them. I learned that writing the story and bringing the characters to life is what a writer does. Social media, not the covers of a hard copy book, is what brings life, attention, and people to a medium.
I had to learn to lean on people who work with these materials daily, and so many good people made this what it is today.
I also underestimated how much of the story there is to tell. I was concerned when I started that I wouldn’t have enough of a story for people to work with. Now that I’m writing everything, it’s all coming out — — characters, action!
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I had great parents who believed in me. I have a great husband who believes in me. I am moved by ideas, so great writers and great philosophers have been my mentors. I’m a voracious reader of both fiction and non-fiction.
I’ve been honored by the sheer number of professional supporters I’ve had over the years. While working on The Lives of CC Mercy, I have had old colleagues find the website and reach out. I’ve seen so many of them show up for me with this project, including following me on social media and sharing the website with their friends.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
Great revolutions in science, art, and technology usually don’t occur solely on incremental change. Often it takes a very disruptive concept, theory or idea to force profound change. Newton, Picasso, Mozart, Einstein — — the list goes on and on — — challenged and disrupted existing beliefs and practices.
In the artistic world, you have artists pushing boundaries and challenging “What is art?” You can see writers and filmmakers diving into subjects that others see as taboo. You have services like Netflix and Hulu challenging how people consume content. That is my goal with this novel, to push the boundaries of how a novel is written or a film is made. I’m creating an immersive experience where the community tells the story and drives the characters.
Failed disruptors aren’t always visible to the rest of us. Disruption that fails to stand the test of time can be seen as negative. This type of disruption can lead people astray and doesn’t move an industry forward. There is a sense that time, money and energy were wasted and companies can fold. However, from the ruins of this disruption, there is usually someone else who finds a way to innovate that idea and bring it to life.
Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- Do what you believe in. In my life, I have left several high-paying jobs because I found no purpose in the work. Purpose is very personal and no one can define it for you. The simple act of reducing someone’s suffering — — one person’s pain — — matters to me. My clinical practice has given me that avenue. I am fortunate indeed.
- Have some fun. Life is short and long at the same time. Better find some joy along the way. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to spot the little stuff along your way. Laugh at yourself and with others.
- Don’t expect to be understood. People are busy trying to figure themselves out, trying to live their own lives. If you are different from those around you, don’t expect them to understand you. Understanding is an advanced relationship state, and doesn’t happen often.
- Be proud of the little things you do. Count your invisible victories each day. Overcoming a hurdle, being kind when you’re tired and irritable, just do it. This is what hope is built on.
- Be yourself, nothing else works. Go ahead, fake it now and then. Might last for a while. But all you really have is you.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
I plan on disrupting the consumption of content. Giving people their voice, an outlet and platform to display what lies inside, their writing, their art, their music, their ideas. Tapping human potential, there it is. Perhaps loosen the controls of entertainment by the powerful intermediaries and take the reins ourselves. There has to be a structure for this and discipline. That’s what I’m here for.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
Writers, poets, songwriters, and philosophers have moved me and still do. Bob Dylan, VictorHugo, Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy, Lewis Thomas — — this list goes on and on. I live in my head and am influenced by ideas.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Mother Teresa — “Do not do great things. Do small things with great love.”
This quote resonates with me. I believe in the power of little things because you have no idea how big they can get or what impact they might have. These days, it seems to be about the next big thing. But there is infinite power in the little things we do.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The greatest gift I could give this world would be for people to believe in themselves and have the courage to express their own voices. It’s so easy to be torn down by everything that is going on in the world and, often, other people. It’s amazing the power we really have to be part of this world as it is and as it could be.
How can our readers follow you online?
We’re just getting started, but we have big dreams for this platform. We are looking for submissions on our website, ccmercy.com. I don’t want to stop growing, so we are planning to have a newsletter and much more as we continue to build this community. You can also follow us on Facebook at @TheCCMercy and Instagram at @theccmercy. I’m reaching out my hand and asking for help on this creative endeavor because this is meant to be a community. Your work doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be you!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Meet The Disruptors: Nancy Bologna Of The Lives of CC Mercy On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.