We are inspired most by ordinary people who have done great works and made extraordinary accomplishments. Someone who has the ability, willingness and passion to be creative, selfless, innovative and confident enough to realize that our communities or nation need change. In the vision of Mahatma Gandhi, they become the change they wish to see in the world. While everyone might be aware of the extraordinary works and charisma of the great people history has written like Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, or Mother Theresa the world today has many more inspirational people that are only known to a few.
At the 2015 Social Innovation Summit in DC, I was privileged to listen to some of the amazing and life changing speakers like Mandar Apte of GameChanger, Lara Galinsky of Echoing Green, Aaron Sherinian of UNF, Jack Andraka, a teen inventor and cancer researcher among others. I was reminded that every one of us has potential to positively impact the world especially starting with people in our circles and communities as long as we take that first step to accepting that desired change is possible.
So often we struggle so hard to sell our “brilliant” ideas to people who we believe have more power, opportunities and extensive networks to help us achieve our dreams. In the process, we sometimes are ignored, criticized or supported, but whatever the case we should never give up our passion to better humanity in our own small corners. Borrowing from Mandar Apte, a social innovator and one of the speakers at the Social Innovation Summit, I was reminded that, our education background does not necessarily dictate our occupation. Though Apte was a qualified engineer with Shell, his passion was in helping people interface their fears, realities and successes through his meditation sessions hence the birth of GameChanger program at Shell. With the stiff competition in the nonprofit sector today, we realize the growing trend in social innovation. This transition compels us to be innovative, open minded and risk takers.
In order to best approach today’s challenging situations and competition, it is important that we sell our brand/self in the most appealing manner, but should also be prepared for all kinds of feedback. There are three reactions to expect when selling your brand; 1) Being ignored, 2) Being criticized and 3) Being supported.
While there is no order in what comes first of the three reactions, it is important to be prepared, confident, positive and strong-willed when presenting or selling your brand. Your passion to contribute towards positive change in society should never be threatened by criticism. Criticism is only intended to make us stronger, check and clarify our vision and goals, and set us on a path to achieving extraordinary accomplishments. Understand that you are an inspiration to others even when you feel you have not yet reached the endpoint. Take action, be true to your brand and be proud of what you have so far accomplished. In the words of Steve Jobs, “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Go get “crazy” and fly with your ideas!