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Challenging established norms and conventions


Shake it up! Let’s throw out the baby and the bathwater

Sometimes Known As

Mavericks, Rebels, Game Changers, Revolutionaries


Disrupters are the bold challengers of the status quo, relentlessly breaking conventions and questioning established norms. They serve as the engines of societal transformation, propelling us toward new ways of thinking and doing.

Jobs a Distuptor Might Hold

  • Education: Alternative Education Program Developer

  • Legal: Policy Reform Advocate

  • Healthcare: Health Tech Innovator

  • Technology: AI Startup Founder

  • Construction: Modular Construction Specialist

  • Science: Climate Change Researcher

  • Art: Experimental Artist


Disrupters are audacious, innovative, and unyieldingly persistent. They have an inherent desire to challenge and an appetite for risk. They are not easily deterred by setbacks and are often resilient in the face of opposition.


Known as the rebels in change work, disrupters possess unique skills when it comes to social transformation:

  • Critical Thinking: Effectively analyzing information and forming a judgment.

  • Persuasion: Influencing others’ beliefs, decisions, and actions.

  • Courage: Taking risks in spite of fear or danger.

  • Resilience: Adapting to and bouncing back from difficult experiences.

  • Leadership: Guiding teams towards a common goal.


The Traditionalist: Those who resist change and are unwaveringly committed to preserving the status quo, thereby limiting the transformative potential of the disrupter.


  • Builders: Will disrupters, who challenge existing structures, conflict with builders, who actively work to create and maintain them?

  • Keepers: While it’s important that disrupters look to innovate, will it clash with keepers, who are dedicated to preserving what already exists?


Disrupting the norm comes with its own set of risks:


  • Underestimation: Disrupters may overlook the potential value of existing structures or underestimate the importance of securing buy-in from others.

  • Agitation: They may push for rapid change that others find hard to adapt to.

  • Contention: They can shut down a dinner party in 15 seconds flat. It’s hard to stop debating, even when it’s clearly time or the “battle” has been won.

Why They Are Essential For Transformation

Disrupters introduce fresh perspectives and challenge complacency, stimulating innovation and progress within organizations. They help push boundaries, opening up new possibilities for growth and adaptation.

Focus For The Disrupter’s Inner Work: Moral Congruence

Disrupters challenge established norms and paradigms. This inherent drive can often lead them into moral quandaries where they clearly see the ethical path but are constrained by institutional or societal boundaries. One crucial inner work for disrupters is to foster moral congruence. This doesn't necessarily mean always doing what is conventionally right, but aligning actions with personal values, beliefs, and feelings. Such alignment offers disrupters a sense of peace and authenticity. By grounding their actions in personal moral consistency, they can navigate the complexities of their role with integrity. Building or belonging to a like-minded community can provide additional support, offering solace and shared understanding in their quest for impactful change.

On The Disrupter’s Bookshelf

To bolster their pursuit of moral congruence and their disrupter role, the following books are recommended:

About the Disrupter

Disrupters are changemakers who think outside the box, aren't afraid to question established ideas and beliefs, and always look for new and innovative ways to solve problems. They're often met with resistance because they challenge existing systems and patterns. While they sometimes seem unorthodox or even rebellious, disrupters are deeply rooted in a vision for a better future.

It's important to understand that disrupters aren't about being contrarian for the sake of it―they're about recognizing inefficiencies, inequities, or stagnations so they can feel compelled to initiate change. They drive conversations many avoid, bringing light to overlooked issues or untapped potentials. Embracing their spirit means acknowledging that progress often requires discomfort and the courage to step into the unknown. Their fearless dedication to transformation reminds us that every status quo was once a novel idea, and every innovation begins with the spark of disruption.

In many instances, the world's most transformative innovations and revolutions have emerged from disrupters' willingness to dismantle outdated structures and beliefs. From technology to social justice, these changemakers often foresee the potential for evolution long before others. They possess an innate curiosity and resilience, constantly seeking knowledge and understanding to fuel their disruptive endeavors.

Disrupters in Real Life

The following are trailblazers from diverse backgrounds who have challenged norms and fostered transformation with their groundbreaking initiatives and fearless questioning of the status quo


United States


United States

As the founder of the 'Me Too' movement, Tarana Burke has been a disrupter in the realm of social justice and advocacy against sexual violence. She sparked a global conversation that disrupted the silence around sexual harassment and assault, empowering survivors across the world to come forward with their stories. Her activism has challenged societal norms and created a paradigm shift in how sexual violence is discussed and addressed.

A teenage environmental activist, Greta Thunberg has disrupted the global discourse on climate change with her blunt, unapologetic calls to action. Starting with a solitary school strike, her movement gained worldwide momentum, forcing international leaders to take notice and address the urgent need for environmental reform. Thunberg's fearless advocacy has mobilized a generation of young people to demand change in policies affecting the planet.

As one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patrisse Cullors has been instrumental in disrupting the conversation around race relations and systemic injustice in the United States and globally. Her activism has prompted a widespread reevaluation of policing and equality, sparking demonstrations and conversations on racial issues worldwide. Cullors' efforts highlight the power of grassroots movements to challenge and change ingrained societal norms.


“What could they be but stardust, these people who refused to die, who refused to accept the idea that their lives did not matter, that their children’s lives did not matter” - Patrisse Khan Cullers”

― Patrisse Khan-Cullors

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all."

— Oscar Wilde

“I began to ask each time: "What's the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?" Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, "disappeared" or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.”

— Audre Lorde

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