Next week marks a professional dream come true: I’m joining the faculty at UC Berkeley to teach a course I’ve been envisioning for nearly a decade.
I’ll be teaching “Becoming a Changemaker” at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, inspiring, activating and enabling a diverse group of undergraduate Berkeley students to lead positive change from wherever they are.
We can look at the world right now and feel helpless and hopeless. Or we can find inspiration in some incredible teenagers.
As we feel less safe, we’re more likely to let our fear drive our actions; our fearful actions, in turn, make others feel less safe. Fear begets fear.
Let’s refuse to let this become the new normal.
A world that is changing faster than ever requires leaders and individuals who can not only adapt to change, but who are so comfortable in the face of it, that they can leverage, steer, and shape change to create a more just world
This past year has surely offered us copious examples of destructive leadership.
But it’s also given rise to a tidal wave of new, inclusive leaders.
The future of leadership lies in people who embrace and develop a mindset of humility, service, integrity and courage.
2018 will be the year in which this new model of leadership emerges and takes root — even in the face of all of the terrible leadership around us.
Instead of desperately seeking to "make an impact,” which is ultimately ego driven, seek instead to serve others in a meaningful way. Do it well and do it repeatedly and impact will surely follow.
I wrote this post one year ago today, predicting a rise in new, diverse and inclusive leaders in the Trump Era. I believe these words to be even more true now than ever.
This past year has surely offered us copious examples of destructive leadership. But it's also given rise to a tidal wave of new, inclusive leaders. 2017 brought fresh faces running for -- and winning -- public office for the first time. A Liberian refugee becoming mayor of Helena, Montana; the first transgender state legislator -- a 33 year old! -- elected in Virginia. A slew of everyday people who never saw themselves as politicians who felt compelled to serve, and found broad support to do so.
This is a call to action for society — both for current leaders in power, and for those who have never thought of themselves as leaders before — to realize that the solution to our problems rests not on a single heroic act of leadership, but rather the recognition that the world is filled to the brim with potential leaders.
We need one billion leaders. We need trillions of acts of leadership. We need the long tail of leadership to flourish.
Those of us working out were holding on to a traditional, hierarchical model of leadership where the one in a place of power and authority — the trainer — is looked to for guidance, answers and direction. We therefore found it incumbent upon him to motivate us enough to give him the energy that he desired. When he failed to do so, we failed to follow his lead.
One of the biggest mistakes I see leaders make, is overvaluing being “in control” and undervaluing being “under control.”
Understanding, appreciating, and even building upon this distinction is what separates the empowering, inspiring leaders — from the draining and fear-driven micromanagers.
We are facing a crisis of trust in the world today.
Edelman’s Trust Barometer, which measures levels of global trust in institutions, reached an historic low this year—hitting a level not seen since the great depression.
For the first time ever, the majority of Americans say they do not trust either leading Presidential candidate (55% for Clinton; 58% for Trump).
33% of workers don’t trust their employer, 70% of African Americans don’t trust the police, and 94% of Americans don't trust the media.
Trust has never been so low. Yet, all major trends that shape our world today—from globalization to social media, immigration to e-commerce, distributed workforces to fighting terrorism—sit atop a bedrock of trust.
We trust when we stay at a stranger’s house, after having only exchanged a couple of messages on Airbnb; we trust when we rely on a co-worker halfway around the world, to come through with a deliverable despite never having met them; we trust when we board a plane, enter our credit card information, swipe right on Tinder, when we drive, visit a doctor and vote.
Trust makes the world go round. But the world, right now, is lacking trust.
Being willing and able to solve this paradox—to trust, even in a world that’s increasingly untrusting, and to be trustworthy when many in the world are not—is the key to success in the 21st century.
From the Istanbul Airport to Baton Rouge; from Baghdad to Dallas; it’s been a difficult few weeks around the world recently with security tightening, fear rising and tensions boiling.
Yet as I turn 32 years old today (how did that happen?!) I am even more optimistic for the future of our world, not less.
I’m driven by the belief that anyone — and everyone — can be a changemaker. They just need the inspiration and tools to make the change I know they are capable of.
And if there’s one thing that these past few weeks have made clear it’s this: the world needs more changemakers.
Since changemaking comes in many different shapes and sizes, here is a list of 32 (in celebration of my 32nd year) ways you can be a changemaker:
This weekend I attended my first ever one-year-old birthday party (well, besides my own, I suppose).
Whereas most birthday parties up until now have involved discussions beforehand of where to get dinner and drinks, this one included discussions of feeding schedules and nap times. Also notable were the dozen or so adorable little kids filling the carpeted floor of the birthday girl’s home, crawling, waddling or wobbly-walking (finally a similarity to the end of some of the birthday parties I was used to!)
Also notable were the incredible parents sitting on the floor with their children, coaching them, cajoling them and supporting them as they fell down and got up again.
They showed such wonderful, supportive leadership to their children.
And I couldn’t help but wonder how many of them would bring this same mindset into work the next day.
Here are three lessons I think we all can learn from helping a baby take his or her first steps:
I’ve heard from a number of people recently who are at the beginning of their changemaker journey but stuck on how to actually get started. They are starting to adapt the mindset of a changemaker, and realize they can have an incredible impact of the communities around them. Yet they need a bit of a boost — both a likeminded community and some training — to get started.
Sound like you?
Fortunately, the changemaker clan is an incredibly strong and supportive one as long as you know where to look. And once you find your tribe of like-minded changemakers, their support and inspiration can make all the difference.
There are lots of fellowships out there, and I’m focusing here on a diverse selection of fellowships — US, non-US, millennial and baby boomer alike — all of which especially help people take their first changemaker step. Check them out, consider applying and then get ready to take your first big changemaker leap!
In 2009, Tom Dawkins and I first connected around our shared passion for how technology — used in innovative and empowering ways — can create incredible social change.
In late 2010, Tom and I began work on StartSomeGood.com, co-founding the crowdfunding site together over late night, caffeine-fueled working sessions in his San Francisco apartment.
From 2011 to 2013, we exchanged thousands of emails, logged hundreds of hours on Skype and communicated through everything from Twitter DMs to old-fashioned post.
And while we got a lot done, I always relished those moments where we would step back from our daily work and philosophise about the future of social entrepreneurship and creating a world filled with more changemakers. In these moments, Tom stood out as an absolute visionary, one of the very most exceptional people I’ve ever met for seeing what’s possible and how we might get there.
In 2013 I stepped back from daily operations and Tom stepped into the CEO role where he has brilliantly led the team in pushing the boundaries of social impact funding and supporting changemakers around the world.
So, when I wanted to look ahead to the future of the field of social entrepreneurship, I knew exactly who to contact. And after a Tweet, a couple of emails and a Skype, our conversation is below where you can get Tom’s astute insights for where we are headed. Enjoy!