Creating a social impact is one of the greatest missions to accomplish in the world. Building a business that makes a social impact is one of the prudent ways to achieve this. However, many entrepreneurs end up quitting because they don’t know where they are headed, and on a deeper level, they don’t truly understand why they are doing it.
As social entrepreneurs – aspiring or existing, you want to have a better world, and that’s by helping people to change. But as you create your business goals to make a change, do you wholeheartedly know why you’re doing it?
To create change most effectively, the best place to start is to gain clarity.
What does that mean? It means understanding who you are. Because action without clarity is like running a marathon with a blindfold, you may end up in a ditch. Clarity is opening your eyes so that you can see the path you’re on.
In January, we’re going to step back from our typical deep dive into social entrepreneurship and take a moment for introspection. Because before you create change in the world outside, you first need better clarity and insight into who you are.
In December, I took some time to reflect on different phases of my life – looking at major events, both the uplifting and the challenging, and reviewing my own growth. I read “The Road Back to You,” a book on enneagram types, and explored my own enneagram-9 / peacemaker type.
The book reminded me I’ve always wanted to leave the world a better place because that fills me up.
I know my strength is to understand different perspectives and ideas intuitively. And my weakness lies in avoiding conflict. But the book helped me articulate this underlying motivation I have to keep the peace. This makes sense to me, and seeing how it ties together with my strengths and weaknesses provides me with clarity and helps me recognize what actions are serving me better and which ones are getting in my way. And that awareness is the clarity I am speaking about.
This is what clarity means – understanding who you are (your strengths and weaknesses), what behaviors lift you up, and which ones hold you back. It is being aware of how you are engaging in the world from moment to moment.
As I work with the youth experiencing homelessness, it has been made so clear that we don’t change the world by changing other people. We have no such power. People choose when and how to change themselves. However, collectively, many of us want to grow and change; we just don’t know how. So, we look outside ourselves for inspiration to see how others are growing. When someone is successful, we pick up on that and incorporate that into our own journey.
Gandhi is attributed with the quote, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” As a (technical disclaimer)[https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/10/23/be-change/], it went more like this:
We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.
People Helping People started as a way to share stories that would inspire social change. In my own journey, I’ve recorded 80 podcasts with some incredibly inspiring people. It led me to an event called GiveBackHack (a weekend launchpad for social enterprises). There we developed an idea that became Wild Tiger Tees, a work program for youth experiencing homelessness. The podcast and Wild Tiger Tees have been one of the best educations I have received. Last year, when COVID caused me to slow down, I started a life coaching practice to coach others in the social impact space. But that’s taught me something very important.
My dream is for People Helping People to be an inspiration for you to create change more effectively in the world, as well as my own education on how to make a better impact. As we grow and share what’s working with each other, our internal change will be reflected in the world outside.
This year, the podcast will have a different theme each month. In January, we’re going to explore finding clarity and possibility. And we’re going to start with knowing yourself. So take a deep breath because this is how we’re going to change the world.