Social entrepreneur and founder of Acumen Jacqueline Novogratz calls for a revolution to reimagine how we are living on this planet in this century. We need to start focusing on how we can make each other’s lives better and leave the planet in better shape than when we arrived here.
We need to own our problems and help each other to drive for change – no matter how small and insignificant it may be in the beginning. Everything massive starts with something very tiny in the beginning.
This is the holy grail behind every scaling startup, too. You need to first listen to your customers, be humble and focus on the solutions that the customers want. Not what you think is good for them.
First, you start small. So small that it does not interest the traditional investors, donors or more established players. When you know your model works and you have happy customers, and more importantly, when you know you’re doing the right thing and in the right way only then you will start to scale.
This is the lesson that is hard to learn for everyone. No matter whether it is third sector bleeding heart do-gooders trying to help people in less fortunate situations or countries or anyone trying to find the strength and resources to start doing things yourself no matter your circumstances or starting point, and become the leader you have been waiting for.
Novogratz tells through her discoveries, vulnerabilities, failures and successes the stories of many persons that have become the leaders themselves against all the odds. The inspirational stories and examples show that moral integrity and grit are necessary components when you’re disrupting and being the controversial example of dragging your society through the change by your example.
Often, it is neither pretty nor fun but it is necessary. People change by practical examples and courageous acts by ordinary people in difficult situations. Institutional change is possible but it takes support, empathy and many trials before success happen in many cases.
It is easy to tell others what they should do but it’s much harder to accept that sometimes what is needed is not a better light but a simple fan no matter how ridiculous it may sound to you at first.
Humility requires courage to take the blame or the criticism even though you’re doing the right thing. Others are just not yet seeing it that way. The vindication may take years or it may never happen at all. What matters is that you have the right kind of impact and you can make people’s lives better with your actions.
The book is about how to elevate each other individually and together to achieve a better future in every aspect and domain of our lives. Novogratz calls us for embracing unity, seeing past our differences and appreciating the fact that we are interdependent. What’s your impact in this decade?