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MAKER

W H AT T O DO WHEN YO U WA N T TO GIVE U P HOW TO STAY COMMITTED AFTER YOUR DREAM GETS DIFFICULT

B Y J E NA L E E N A R D E L L A

hen I was in my early twenties, I dreamt of making a dent in the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa. As a young founder of a new nonprofit, I received the fanfare associated with being a social entrepreneur. I was lauded for what I had started. We are enamored with newness; launching something creates a splash on the news feed and tempts the imagination of what can be. But starting an organization is not the hard thing; building the organization and sustaining yourself in the work is the hard thing.

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CREATE. INNOVATE. LEAD.

The real question is what happens once the startup loses the new shine? What do you do when the cause feels too daunting, or attendance is low, or the work is unfulfilling, or the blog visits are scant? How do you persist through a great endeavor when it just doesn’t feel as great anymore? We had the audacious belief that we could bring clean water to millions of people in Africa and bring health care to thousands of families in HIV-affected communities. Imagining those goals was not the hard part. Following through on vision, persisting with grit despite the self-doubt— that has been hard. Only 10 years later have

I realized how difficult it is to keep doing a good thing in the world, to set something in motion that will last. Here are some of the practices I have learned in order to stay with something, especially when it becomes difficult:

FIGHT AGAINST THE CULTURAL UNDERTOW We live in a culture saturated with expectations of expediency and disposability. We hardly have to wait for anything anymore. We microwave our food, download our books and Google our questions. We can send messages across the world in a matter

RELEVANT - Issue 72 - November/December 2014  

RELEVANT - Issue 72 - November/December 2014

RELEVANT - Issue 72 - November/December 2014  

RELEVANT - Issue 72 - November/December 2014