“But you are not Bill Gates”. Those words were uttered by Arlene, my wife, three years ago in April 2013 when I told her that I wanted to give up a successful life in the corporate world and pursue my new-found burning passion to work on “creating brighter futures” for others by working on social and community causes. Arlene followed her first statement with “And you do realise that you are now 60 and social and community work is a low paying industry”.
And so true Arlene’s words were.
We did not have wealth nor enormous savings, had all the mundane expenses of a normal household, four kids, and needed a flow of funds in order to meet the daily expenses of life. Added to this, although I had undertaken management and leadership programs in the social and community arena, I was still an unknown in that area.
Yet the desire to launch into this unknown but needy space defied logic. I considered the definition of “having enough” was relative. After all, I had lived in Africa and India, and remembered that wealth is a state of the mind. Material wealth can open doors, but if I was to make an impact in this new endeavor, I would have to improvise and think differently.
My measure of success would not be the well trodden ROI, but a new one – EPL (Enriching People’s Lives). Not dipping into savings would be a bottom line indicator – my KPI. The Business model and activities for the company I created (Business Transformation Solutions) would have to be self-sustaining with a growth target in order for me to continue on the mission. I quickly thought of the need for an “Earning, Learning and Giving” model as volunteering (“Giving”) my expertise in management, leadership, risk and strategy in the social and community field was going to be a key plank of the new life. “Learning” had to be an integral part of the offering as currency of expertise is critical. “Earning” had to ensure that the business was self sustaining.
I also knew that lifestyle had to be a key ingredient of the new career.
The emergence of the 3+1+1=10 Prosperity Model ( http://www.climpacheco1.com ) was the way I would conduct my newly chosen vocation and career.
Fluidity in thinking and adapting to the challenges that have to be confronted has been a wonderful learning experience and this shows that small business is deep into the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity- US Army War College, 1990’s ) world. The entrepreneurial skills that are gained through operating at this level has been phenomenal.
Social media is such a boon to small business and has enabled spread of the purpose well beyond what was possible in past years. Networking (both e-networking and person to person) has been expanded through use of social media and technology and these are relatively low-cost investments for small business. Creativity and lateral thinking is facilitated through the new contacts made and the innumerable conversations over a cup of coffee, as there are so many people with brilliant ideas and also looking for new models of work and life.
Volunteering has amply nurtured the primary purpose of working in the social and community and been such a spark as well as lit new secondary purposes. This is a low-cost venture with phenomenal benefits. The gratitude from the organisations has been uplifting and the impact of giving ones skills to organisations doing extraordinary work globally means that your contribution to strategy, leadership and management is an enabler for the organisations to focus on their core purpose and excel in it. Learning through volunteering has been a two way interchange. In many ways, volunteering has enabled a one-person business to spread its contribution to the global environment through the organisation being served.
Earning will always be the key pain point for small business. Having a portfolio of offerings has ensured the revenue pipeline to be sustainable. Thus consulting, lecturing, and mentoring are key to gaining new business. The networks created through volunteering, social media connections and one-on-one meetings has enabled word of mouth marketing.
The 3+1+1=10 model fits so neatly into the Japanese “Ikigai” concept on the “reason for being” as it is the confluence of doing “What you Love, What the World Needs, What you are good at, and What you can be paid for”.
The 3+1+1=10 model is also an attempt in finding the “sweet spot in work and life” and in a microscopic way seeking a new work life paradigm in line with the “Gross National Happiness” concept that the former King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, proposed in 1972 and promulgated for the State of Bhutan.
Indeed, it is a case of “But you are not Bill Gates..” but minor steps to make the planet a better place can be made by anyone with minimal outlays.
Our purpose needs to be “enriching the lives of others because we cared and did something about it” – even if is a tiny drop in the ocean. That must be our legacy.