There are many people living and working in environments every day, where they are exposed to situations and opportunities to create more sustainable and beneficial outcomes for themselves, their families and communities.
In this series of five blog posts, taken from our book ‘The Future Makers’, we look at the key excuses the many social innovators who we interviewed from across the world faced on their journey to creating a better world.
You can find out more about The Future Makers also on our online portal, where we have continued to seek out inspirational social entrepreneurs and tell their stories.
Excuse 4: ‘I am already successful with what I am doing’
You’ve made it. Whether you come from a background of privilege or poverty, your skills, talents and determination to succeed have served you well.
There are many successful people in the world – defined by their accomplishments in their professional or socially influential fields. That is all well and good, but what if that success doesn’t feel like it should? The recognition and material possessions are not the only outcomes you seek to reach in your life?
You can reach that point at 30 as a successful entrepreneur, or aged 65 as an established professional where that thought that always played at the back of your mind becomes stronger: it’s just not enough.
Don’t ignore it. Creating change for the good of others and your own future generations needs people like you. People who know how to make things happen and often have the financial means to dedicate the time and effort to solve real issues and actively shape the future. Are you one of those people? Read on.
Making more of your success
Why would you bother making a change in your life now? Because your values and your passions lie beyond what you have already achieved.
Take Erin Keown Ganju. Growing up in a successful family on the west coast of the USA, Erin developed a passion for languages, culture and business which led her to a successful career in investment banking then entrepreneurship. And all that came with that.
At barely 30 years old and in the hub of the Silicon Valley, following an insightful career at Goldman Sachs and Unilever, Erin recognised the power and influence of private business on the lives and cultures of many people worldwide. But how could this be leveraged? Who would be the facilitator that not only cared enough, but had the knowledge and experience to use that influence well?
She wanted more than a life where decisions were driven by pace and profit and were often unconscious due to the pressure of the business environment. She wanted a better world for her own children. So she decided to start a new chapter. She teamed up with a fellow professional and shared stories – they had similar attitudes and questions born out of the world they had occupied for so long.
Together, they embarked on a journey to lower the statistic of 120 million children worldwide who were not able to attend elementary school. They had the experience of how to run successful organisations and had worked across the world extensively, understanding markets and cultures. ‘Room to Read’ was created in 2001 to found schools and bilingual libraries across the world, working closely with the local communities Erin had come to understand in her previous work.
They have opened over 3,600 libraries, built over 280 schools and improved the lives of over 1.2 million children across Asia and Africa.
The work you do now serves as part of your journey to create change in the future. Every experience you have is a building block for the next and a foundation for future success.
What have you achieved so far? And how could you use that in an alternative way to create change? Do you have an understanding of how to interact with diverse groups of people to drive projects, know how to influence governmental change or see how to raise finance to fund impact projects?
Look at your background and map your skills and achievements. Then map your values and your passions against it. Use that to see the opportunities where you can add value and create impact. Go beyond the obvious – talk to people working in the impact space and see what interests you the most.
People might not understand why you would make your life more difficult, but these are all of the reasons that you should. The challenge of succeeding is never an easy path – it always took hard work and effort on your part. The difference is, you won’t be doing it for generating revenue for investors and shareholders, but to change the lives of others and satisfy your personal values and goals.
That is true success.
Resources to help you
- For more inspiration and to read the stories of David Bussau (The economy of ‘enough’), Ines Sanguinetti (The wake-up call: uniting passions), Ashok Khosla (The power of temptation) and Jordan Kassalow (Using your own potential) . You can purchase The Future Makers book in both English and German.
- Read part 1 ‘I don’t have the right professional background’, part 2 ‘I’m too young, or too old’, part 3, ‘I’m not financially secure’ and look out for part 5 of our blog series: ‘What will others think of me?’ next week.
- Sign up for our next workshop ‘Career Confidence: Business Model You’ to explore your values and skills and plan your meaningful career (register your enquiry here for the next date), or contact us for one to one consultation on how you can create a more meaningful career
- Visit the Impact Hub Network – a global network of collaborators focused on making a positive impact in the world.
- Read about Social Intraprenuership to learn more about how to create social value from inside your current or future organisation.