I want to be able to confidently call myself a social entrepreneur, and even more than that, a World Changer. Both of these titles are terrifying to me. They sound so big. And yet, both of them intrigue me greatly and are exactly what I want to be. They are not titles that someone else is forcing upon me. They are not something I feel that I should be. But they are instead something that I want to be. The day that I can say I am a social entrepreneur or a world changer and truly mean it, then I am the confident person I have always wanted to be. And that in itself, would change my world.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Insight into the mind of a crazy person...I mean Social Entrepreneur

"Well, it's done. This is the best day ever!" These were my thoughts for the first 24 hours after I'd handed in my notice at my stable, full time job. I WILL be a social entrepreneur.

What is it like to have made this leap? Well, here's a little look inside my thought process:

"Woo! Finally my dream achieved!
What was my dream again?
Yeah for leaving a job that I was getting bored of!
Oh, you've decided to make a much cooler job for the next person. Thanks.
I was born to do this.
How the hell am I going to work for MYSELF!?
I'm so going to love working for myself.... I can sleep in.
HA! You will be so busy that sleep won't be an option!
I am so glad I have a group of people to work with that are on the same page.
Are they really on the same page?? What page?!
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
OMG I'm an idiot, I can't do this.
Just keep swimming....
This is going to be the best project ever....
Is it?"

And that's just in the first 10 minutes of my day....

So does being a social entrepreneur mean that you are a super confident person who knows exactly what they want? So far, I am thinking not. But they might be good actors :)

Friday, 7 January 2011

Peek-a-boo where are you?

One of the most interesting things that has come about since I starting thinking about, writing about, and talking about social entrepreneurship is that I now notice there are so many people that I know already or meet that are entrepreneurs and don't even know it. That is, if we are thinking of a social entrepreneur as an attitude, an approach, or a way of thinking as oppose to a job title. So, if every organisation has at least one social entrepreneur, how is that I don't see amazing social enterprises everywhere I look? Or amazing social enterprise models within bigger organisations? Don't get me wrong, there are some amazing things happening out there already. But theoretically, this whole Big Society model should already be happening. We should be overwhelmed with creative people doing creative things. The people who have the passion, ideas, and approach are there. They get excited about an idea and are keen to change the world, in whatever way is most appropriate to them. And yet, so many aren't doing it. The words that I hear so very often are 'But I don't have enough experience or business skills to start something'. These are the words that I have also said for years and years. But are the words true? Is it that we don't have enough experience? The right skills? Enough confidence? Perhaps it is a mixture of all of these things. If we really truly are going to change the world, then it seems that starting by empowering these people is the place to start.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Being a Social Entrepreneur

So what is a Social Entrepreneur? I am still deciding on my definition. My first step in becoming one is to find a definition that fits well with me. With a little help from my partner, my father bought me a great book for Christmas, 'How to Be a Social Entrepreneur make money & change the world' by Robert Ashton. In it Ashton describes the aims of a social entrepreneur as being for people, planet and profit. While I do agree with all 3 of these, I am not sure that they will always all be balanced within a project. But then, we are talking about a social entrepreneur as a person, not their projects. Ashton does have a few sentences that bode well with who I want to be. "Qualified by personal experience, they are driven by a desire to right a social injustice or simply to make the world a better place. What they may lack in enterprise skills they make for with doggedness and relentless energy. Give them the skills and you can see world-changing results."

In other words, a social entrepreneur is someone who is determined and won't take no for an answer. If there is a problem, they will find a solution. But more than that, they will find a sustainable solution. The type of social entrepreneur that I want to be is one that doesn't find the solution on my own, but that supports, enables, and builds the confidence of others to find the problems, solutions that will work for them, and then to achieve the change they want. Most importantly, it's not me that assumes the problem and thinks of an amazing solution, it is the people that know themselves and their lives best.

The titles of social entrepreneur and definitely of World Changer may sound conceded to some. It may sound like I want to do everything, that I want power, or that I simply want to do too much and am unrealistic. But to me, when one day I can call myself either of these terms I will be confident and humble. I will change the world by working with others to change their own world. It is important to me not to have a charity approach where I am helping the poor (or whoever the group may be), but instead to have an approach that empowers individuals to achieve amazing things. I want to be the person in the background cheering them on.

So can I write one sentence describing what I mean by these terms? No, not yet. And I am not sure if I will ever be able to. The definition is likely to be ever changing, just like me. What would you define them as?