Last week was a celebration of Social Enterprise in Columbus, Ohio – and it highlighted the key ingredient for any social change: community.
GiveBackHack returned with their signature in-person event, and it was exciting to watch new people come together from a variety of backgrounds to work on social impact business ideas over the weekend. As an organizer, you’re on the sidelines, but a lot of important conversations and connections happen there.
The reason I am so passionate about social entrepreneurship is because of this very community.
One of my co-organizers, Dwane, was talking to me about how it is easy to get siloed in our lives, spending our days talking to the same people – maybe they’re people who think like us or have the same beliefs, or education, or age group or social status. And what’s cool about a place like GiveBackHack is that it connects people across multiple dimensions. It’s an acknowledgment that we’re all human, and all struggling. When we can come together with our diverse ideas, then we can craft new ways to create a better life experience — because no one person needs to have all the answers.
All of this is pretty obvious.
So why don’t we spend more time connecting with our own community and having such transformative conversations?
Partly our daily lives are packed with work and family. But partly the barrier is routine. We thrive on routine. Routine means we don’t have to figure out how we’re going to get our breakfast in the morning.
Second, it takes effort to sit down and have a conversation with someone who might not think like us, talk like us, or look like us, where we don’t have an easy way to relate.
If you’re looking for a way to relate, just remember, almost everyone is struggling with some situation in their life.
You’re probably struggling with something in your life. And no doubt, you have magnificent stories to explain it, even though it still persists. Share these stories, and listen to these stories in others. Because what happens when enough people come together from different backgrounds? Someone hears your story, and offers a different spin, because of their own unique experience in the world. And that spin is enough to send your story in a new direction, forever changed by a possibility that just didn’t cross your mind.
Seek out these connections, and you’ll find your community. And before you know it, you will have changed your world. And as your world changes, so will the world around you.