Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of “EAT, PRAY, LOVE” in her book about Creative Living called “Big Magic” says the universe is filled with ideas. “Ideas spend an eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners” she says. Unlike we usually think, we don´t create them, they find us. Sometimes an idea will catch your attention, and sometimes it won´t.
When it does, it feels like butterflies on your stomach, like chills going up your arms, exactly like when you fall in love. It will wake you up from the middle of the night and stick to you like gum to your sole.
Before coming to serve as Atlas Corps Fellow, I have to confess, I fell in love.
It was March 2013.
I was reading “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. You know… that book that everyone who dreams to get rich someday reads, once in their life time at least. Now, please don´t judge. I may be an Atlas Corps Fellow with social service as my North, but entrepreneurship has always been part of my DNA and if it comes with some extra “bucks” well… why not? I am a big believer that money is good as it frees you to do what you love. And the truth is, if what you love is to do good then what a better and more sustainable than to do it through a business of your own?
The book kept me thinking: what can I do to make money? But also, what can I do to change the world? My selfish little bourgeois in me battled internally with my socially conscious thoughts.
It made me wonder about the many social entrepreneurs who come across the same dilemma and what they do in response.
It reminded me particularly about Alfredo Zolezzi, a Chilean industrial designer and social entrepreneur who invented a water purification system which promises to give potable water to the 780 million people around the globe who currently only have access to contaminated water. Zolezzi could have perfectly sold his invention for millions of dollars but instead, he established a nonprofit organization so that the water can get to the poorest people. Now, that is a noble cause!
Zolezzi’s smart move though, was the fact that he can still earn a fortune by selling other uses of his invention. That´s where the key is. At the end of the day, social innovation is the best of the two worlds: it´s ideas with a cause.
Before I continue, you should know this is not a story about me and an idea. This is a story about my Atlas Corps Fellowship and what I did with an idea. The truth is, a big part of my motivation to be part of this fellowship was also to wonder into the unknown. To become part of something bigger and greater that could take the best out me and get me out of my comfort zone. To come to a place where I could not only be challenged but where I also could challenge myself to do even bigger things. And making this idea a reality was the big thing for me.
At the end of the day we are all complex human beings. We are here not only as professionals but also as women and men, with dreams and hopes. The beauty of this country relays on the freedom its know for. The freedom to do and to be, whatever and whoever you want.
I just felt I had to honor this freedom, and the idea the universe in Elizabeth Gilbert’s words “swirled around this available and willing human partner” – and that’s what I did 🙂
The name of this startup idea initially was: Oportunidades a la Medida (“customized opportunities” in English) – an online platform to match people’s profile and interests with opportunities around the world.
Welcome to beginning of a series of blog posts about how I decided to use my Atlas Corps Fellowship to embrace the two things I love the most: social entrepreneurship and “connecting the dots” by providing people without access to opportunities a tool to design their lives with what they love most.
(TO BE CONTINUE)