For decades, if not centuries, people's lives had a fairly predictable pattern: you went to school, learned a skill, entered the work force, and made a good living repeating the same skill over the course of your career. We are conditioned by a culture of consumption and conformity and compliance.
But modern-day machines do virtually anything that's repetitive. And the rate of change, combined with the urgency of some of today’s biggest problems, cannot be addressed with obvious solutions from obvious sources. This new world requires a different kind of person, with a different kind of mind. Bill Drayton, one of the fathers of social entrepreneurship, calls this person a changemaker.
This new economy takes a special kind of leadership, a creative contribution, that not just anyone can produce. It is about doing good work that is not guaranteed to work, but is nevertheless worth pursuing.
You are called to change something in your life, your family, your neighborhood, your community, your country, or your world. And it’s possible. The people who came before us have managed to speak up, stand up, and make a difference. And while each journey is unique, each follows a pattern. And once you see it, it’s yours.
The Changemaker's Journey
1.Recognize Suffering or Injustice
The social entrepreneur’s journey begins with a personal, and often painful, recognition of a deep pain, injustice, or suffering.
2. Tap Into Personal Assets
This recognition inspires or drives you to tap into your own inner resources, talents, insights, and experiences.
3. Define the Problem
You employ empathy to understand the root causes of the injustice; learn from those who are most affected by the problem, and prioritize stakeholders, not merely shareholders.
4. Envision a Better Way
You challenge old assumptions, embrace new attitudes, and envision a better way forward that shifts existing equilibriums.
5. Build a New Model
You work alongside those you seek to serve, build on the wisdom of those communities; bring your unique expertise, combined with an apprentice mind. Then you create, iterate, a model for change.
6. Share Solutions at Scale
Once you develop a framework for solutions that work, you’ll share those solutions and learnings at scale, to be used and adapted in other contexts.
Social entrepreneurs move against the grain to initiate and lead change. They can see patterns around them, identify the problems in a situation, envision a better way, create new solutions, lead collective action, and continually learn and adapt as situations change.
Consider the people who have found their own voice and made a real impact: their paths always differ, but their journeys are the same. Embracing this journey will open the door to the change you were made to make. Each of us has two lives - the life we live, and the unlived life inside of us. And at the heart of the social enterprise is trust: the difficult journey to trust in yourself, the often hidden self, the unique human each of us lives with.
We've been conditioned by a culture of consumption and compliance. But if we choose to look for it, there’s a different journey available to us. It’s a path less travelled, defined by service, resilience and generosity. Embracing this journey will open the door to the change you were made to make.
This is for people who want to create, innovate, and solve interesting problems. For people on a journey to be teachers, healers, writers, peacebuilders and trailblazers. This is for those who seek change, who want to make things better. This is for people like us.
“It is better to follow your own path, however imperfectly, that to follow someone else’s perfectly.” - The Bhagavad-Gita