It has been almost a week since I returned from Mexico and my first ever Opportunity Collaboration conference. The conference was a collection of 310 individuals all trying to make the world a better place. There were non-profits, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, impact investors, educators and many others all trying to address world poverty. It was the first event I have ever been to where I felt I could walk up to anyone and just say “thank you” for the work they are doing around the world. I plan on attending this event for many more years to come.
Toward the end of the conference I started to ask people what was the biggest lesson that they learned, and I heard lots of great answers. Then I asked myself the same question. I went to the event trying to figure out what my focus should be in this emerging world of social entrepreneurship and I did get some answers. I realized that I need to have a personal connection with the work I am doing, so just being a connector in the marketplace is not the best use of my skills, I need to get to know people and help them move along on their journey. So, during the week I realized that coaching young social entrepreneurs was my calling. We have a wonderful home in San Diego and after speaking with Ilise (my wife) when I got home, we have agreed to make our home a mentoring place for select young aspiring social entrepreneurs.
Now, this is going to be really cool for the whole family. The kids will get to meet some really smart, motivated young people trying to change the world! We have our first guest coming in December and I am hoping we will see at least one person per month, but this wasn’t my biggest take-a-way from the event. I was speaking with a gentleman named Tom Bird on the last day and I started to explain a project we are working on in Uganda and provided him with a ton of details and asked his opinion on the project. First of all, I was extremely passionate about the project and wanted to get Tom on board in some fashion. When the conversation was over I didn’t exactly reach my goal, but I learned an extremely valuable lesson.
Tom looked at me when we were wrapping up and he said that I had a ton of passion and energy but that I should slow down a bit. He said that I needed to take my time on this journey and that I wasn’t going to accomplish everything that I wanted to immediately so I should just take a breath. Now, I can be pretty pig headed some times, but this was the best piece of advice I heard the entire week. I know I want to change the world and make a huge impact, but everything big I have ever accomplished over my lifetime has come over time, not immediately. So, why would I think this would be any different? Having patience and slowing down during this initial part of my journey will allow me to see things that I might not see if I continue to have blinders on and running as fast as I can.
Now I realize that taking my time is the best thing for achieving my long-term outcomes, so it is time to breath a little bit. I will take the next few months, maybe years, to learn as much as I can about the social enterprise community and continue to look at the big picture. In the end speed will take care of itself!
‘Til next time ……..