Jonathan C. Lewis, Host/Founder, Café Impact


Are you seeking fulfillment and happiness in the social change world? At this point in your life, are you called to give back? Ready to change careers and become a social entrepreneur?

Only 47% of Americans are satisfied with their jobs, a sizable drop from the 61% who expressed satisfaction 20 years ago, according to Don Joseph Goeway in Mystic Cool.

“I’m idealist. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way,” laughed the 20th Century American poet Carl Sandburg. If that describes you, the social change movement doesn’t need your unfocused help, and neither do the communities or causes which might have captured your compassionate glance.

“I receive an email a day from an amazing person who is pouring their heart out about being unhappy about where they are in their life and wanting to do something with meaning. My message to them is: If you don’t find happiness where you are right now, you’re going to come into the social sector and be just as unhappy,” cautions Tiffany Persons, CEO, Shine on Sierra Leone.

She pointedly adds, “It’s not about you getting into the social sector so you can feel good about helping people. That’s a void that you’re trying to fill for yourself. Be careful with that.” To summarize, before you inflict your unhappiness on others, don’t!!

When judges are picked, we want judicial temperament. When we vote for a president, we want a steady hand on the nuclear button.

In a social entrepreneur, we want tenacity and a stubborn commitment to stand up for the underdog. Social change hobbyists, no matter how well-intended, don’t make the cut. Good people to be sure, but a necessity for social entrepreneurship is stick-to-itiveness.

Playwright and social critic George Bernard Shaw gave voice to the social entrepreneur’s creed: “You see things as they are and say Why? I dream of things that never were and say Why not?”
What existentially matters to you enough that you are willing to make a significant sacrifice for it? “What do you care about? What is your story?” asks Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, CEO, Akili Dada (Kenya).

In our hearts and souls, change-makers are outsiders – questioning, challenging, agitating. Social entrepreneurs need thick skins, spines of steel and bionic visionary abilities.

Change agents are, by definition, status quo circuit-breakers — warriors for economic and social justice. Revolutionaries without rockets.

Whose side are you on? What enemies are you willing to make? When you are at your very happiest fighting for your convictions, then you are ready to enlist in social justice work.

– Jonathan C. Lewis, Host/Founder, Café Impact (original blog at Huffington Post)

Editor’s Note:

This video and article first appeared on Café Impact and is reproduced with permission.

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