Spoken by The Tribe: Week #9 Social Enterprising and Wet Socks.

Last week, our evening began a bit earlier than usual with some general catching up amongst our accountability groups. Having missed the previous week, it was sure good to be back amongst my fellow Tribers. To me, week 9 felt a lot like weeks 7 and 8; cluttered with too much work, not enough time and way too little sleep. I’m currently travelling between Slackerville and Crazyland- thankfully Tribing always steers me back on track. It’s been so awesome hearing that so many around me are making great progress, committing to quitting their jobs and engaging in new adventures.

Jack Graham: ‘The inside track on social impact careers.’

The focus for the evening was about making it in the world of social enterprising. Jack Graham of the YearHere Foundation joined us to provide insight into the world of a social entrepreneur. I’m sure many of us have asked ourselves in the past few weeks, months or even years whether social enterprising or charities are where we should be heading next. It’s definitely been on my mind.

I worked for an educational charity for two years at the start of my career, but back then it was just a job, a way of life. I came totally unprepared to Jack’s presentation, but his talk quickly reminded me of just how great it feels to help others, and contribute to the development of the world. I had forgotten just how valuable those two years were for my own personal development. 

Regardless of what we all end up doing after the Escape journey ends, social enterprising is everywhere around us and I believe it is important to gain knowledge in both the public and private sectors. The best thing about this kind of work is that anyone can get involved.

Here are some of the main points I took from our evening with Jack Graham…

– Don’t worry about finding your cause, it will find you.

If you’re interested in making a positive impact, just start with something. When I worked for the charity, I never thought I’d care so much about the development of the ‘next generation’. But the more I got involved, the more it mattered to me – and it still does. I doubt I’d feel the same about education today if I hadn’t spent my time at that charity.

– You’ll never be ready.

The social enterprising space can come with some great personal challenges and you may find yourself in situations that you’re simply not, and never will be, prepared for.

– Everyone’s winging it.

No one is an expert in launching a new business, charity or social enterprising venture. You may not have all the skills you need, but don’t let your insecurities hold you back. Especially if you aim to change the world!

– Don’t assume that your skills are transferrable.

You have to accept that processes and organisational cultures may vary from one organisation to another, so be prepared that you may simply not be the perfect fit for a particular role or organisation.

– Likewise, don’t assume that you don’t have any transferrable skills.

We all have something to give and we all can make a difference somehow.

– Action is key.

The aim is to make an impact, to change lives, a community, the world. So if you’re looking to slide into another (safe) office job, the social enterprising business might not be for you.

– Be professional.

Some people walk into a social career with the misconception that it’s a semi-serious job. It clearly is a lot more than that.

– Surround yourself by great people.

Once you have the right ‘characters’ in place, a story will unfold and success will automatically follow. Having great, creative minds around you will unlock many doors. Make sure you hire people who are in it for the right reasons.

– Don’t worry too much about the sector, but focus on the impact you’re making.

– Do your research.

Your idea needs to be desirable (do people want this?), viable (will it make money?) and measurable (what impact does it have to have for it to be a success?). Also, make sure that you are comfortable with the type of social enterprising initiative that you’re committing to (corporate, public sector, independent charity etc.).

– Just do it.

When it comes down to improving the world, there are no boundaries. The world needs us and we need the world. There is loads of support out there – no matter how big or small your cause is, you can make it work.

– Measure your impact, both short & long term.

You want to be sure that you’re making an impact and how to adjust your goals in order to stay relevant and ensure funds/resources keep coming in.

– Getting paid is not a bad thing.

We talked a little bit about whether getting paid for working as a social entrepreneur is wrong. I think the consensus was that we shouldn’t feel guilty about receiving a salary or making a profit. As long as your aim is clear, you are making an impact and do a great job at achieving your goals, there should be no shame in receiving a cheque at the end of the month.

OPEN MIC: Wet Sock Philosophy.

Gareth was brave enough to hop onto the stage to tell us about his hiking adventure with his girlfriend in Wales. Along with his fear of wet socks, it was the weather conditions on Mount Tryfan that made him think of the Tribe, our wobbles and all the challenges we have encountered so far on our journey.

His message: “Despite the clouds surrounding us and not being able to see where we are going, we have to keep going, taking it step-by-step, having faith that we will eventually find ourselves doing amazing things.”

I don’t know about you, but I SO needed to be reminded of that.

This is a guest post by Tanja, a current member of our Escape Tribe.

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