“What business entrepreneurs are to the economy, social entrepreneurs are to social change. They are the driven, creative individuals who question the status quo, exploit new opportunities, refuse to give up, and remake the world for the better.”
As Simon Sinek says: “There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.” This quote resonated with me as I recently read an article on social entrepreneurship by Jonathan Lewis titled: “Rescue Yourself before Rescuing Others.” What jumped out from the article was Jonathan quoting an interview he had with the Founder of Shine on Sierra Leone, Tiffany Persons, who commented that when people jump into social entrepreneurship or the non-profit field and experience life from an unhappy and unfulfilled place, they will encounter the same in their endeavor. She states that you have to be able to find happiness in your current place otherwise you won’t find fulfillment in your pursuit of making a difference (that’s me paraphrasing her comments).
I work with a lot of aspiring and up and coming women entrepreneurs who are dedicated to making a difference through their business. I love this work since it feeds my soul mission of making a difference and impacting animal welfare, environmental awareness and women’s empowerment. However, I’ve been quite guilty of what I see a lot with my clients – thinking that my “help work” and seeing ourselves as “saviors” would bring about happiness. Also, after all my years with working with women who desire to become entrepreneurs, mindset is the biggest obstacle. A business isn’t the solution to general unhappiness in life.
What is the solution then?
Well, you first off have to come from a place of fullness in how you build out your activism and your business. Feeling grateful and happy is key to creating a movement. Your commitment to bring about change through your venture needs to be positively focused and full of possibility-thinking. You’re not here to fix wrongs, make yourself feel better or to lift up others to appear as a hero/heroine.
Your movement comes from a tea cup that is overflowing. You inspire others and don’t need to manipulate with guilt, shame or fostering hatred. When you genuinely show love, enthusiasm and excitement for your life and mission, people will come on board. You’ll rally the troops with positive activism.
Now, changing your mindset does require practice and a daily habit change (unlike some of the popular personal development gurus espouse). So, I wanted to share with you my own little “life approach pyramid”.
I personally believe that before you get to a place of service, you have to commit to living with gratitude to moving into a place of love for what is to experiencing joy. Then service comes easily and is from a place of inspiration.
Some ways I foster my daily practice to help with those mindset shifts are:
- My morning mantra is: “Something amazingly awesome is going to happen to me today.” I borrowed this one from Pam Grout’s book E-Cubed.
- I listen to uplifting music that makes me feel good. The top 3 songs on my playlist are:
- I made a commitment to surround myself with beauty. I drink my water in my crystal wine glasses. I get “dressed up” even though I work from home most of the time. I take notes with a gold metallic pen. I’m not saving anything for special occasions. Every day is a special occasion.
- I nourish my body with lots of homemade meals, vegan in my case. I eat lots of nutrient dense foods and hydrate well.
- I take a nature walk daily, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. While walking I look for the beauty in nature.
- I write down 3 blessings for the day and the one amazing thing that happened.
These are practices that you can easily integrate into your life to help form new habits. The important thing to remember is that most of our current mindset is programming that you might not be aware of or haven’t even formed yourself. However, repetition of new ideas and habits can trigger the change you’re looking for.
My hope for you is that you create a great business movement through positive activism. However, it all starts with you and your approach. Come from a joyful, fulfilled and grateful place before you commit to creating change in the world.