R.I.P. SI: Do Good Better

I wish I could write a eulogy in place of this post.  SI: DGB, you will be sorely missed.

But alas, life moves forward!  With a handful of committed new social innovators ready to make a difference.

“How is what I learned in this class unique to me?”  Well, each of us already addressed this question in our final class period, and, as a result, I discovered that what I thought was unique to me wasn’t really that unique.  In fact, many of us cited the same things in response to this question. Go figure.

So, in addition to what we all learned about lifting where we stand, about framing the world around us as an opportunity instead of a problem, and about social innovation encompassing more than just creating a new social enterprise, I’ll focus on a crucial answer I gained to an incredibly simple question.  “Do I want to be involved in social innovation throughout my life?”

Spoiler alert:  The answer is yes. But before I get there, let me briefly explain why this simple question is so significant to me.

During the second-to-last day of class, we reviewed the core outcomes of the class.  I was troubled throughout this discussion; I didn’t feel confident about my progress in each of these four key areas.  But why?  Hadn’t I thought that I was experiencing immense progress throughout the semester?  Yes.  Wasn’t this my favorite class?  Yes!  So why wasn’t I confident about my social innovation knowledge, skills, and abilities?

I brought it back to the basics by asking myself that one simple question:  Do I want to be involved with social innovation throughout my life?  The answer:  Yes.  Of course.  Obviously.  I couldn’t imagine my life without it.  So I’ll ask YOU now, my fellow classmates; can you imagine your life without social innovation after having taken this class?  To me it would be sinning against the greater light.

This simple realization—that social innovation has become an irremovable part of my life—shed  light upon the growth I’ve experienced throughout the semester.  Before this class began, I had two potential career paths: social entrepreneurship or consulting.  Mutually exclusive.  Can’t do both.  One or the other… right?  NOT SO!  The greatest growth I’ve experienced in this class is recognizing that social innovation is a way of life, not a one-and-done career choice.

I simply cannot imagine my life in twenty years without social innovation being a part of it.

So what am I going to do about it?

Here’s one of my ideas for self-reflection:

Remove the pavilion.  I must keep my goals in check and stay flexible.  I’ve developed a very detailed life plan that will get me where I think I want to go, but I can’t let my plans get in the way of better choices that arise. In response to my plan (Final Part I), my brother said something I really like:

“So I’d counsel you to build in to your plans now the ability to be flexible in the future, as you don’t know what it will bring. That flexibility may be more mental than anything—just allowing yourself to let the plans adjust for whatever important things come up in your life without feeling like you’ve been derailed.”

I think that’s pretty good, simple advice to keep me on track.

And for layered learning:

Reading.  Pretty straightforward.  If I want to be smart, I must read.  And if I’m going to have a library in my house someday (which I am), I’ve gotta read some books to place in it.

Conferences.  I always leave conferences feeling so inspired (and no, I’m not talking about General Conference, although it certainly fits the same bill). Every conference that I’ve been to has renewed my excitement and raised my vision of what I can accomplish.  The learning, networking, and good experience are just added benefits to accompany the inspiration.

Book Clubs and Discussion Groups.  And thus the Ballard Center Book Club (BC2) is born.

Be an Improver.  Possibly the most important item on my list.  I heard this term from Tommy MacDonald (Sorensen Capital).  Similar to “adding value,” the idea is to make a difference in whatever I do.  Some people see problems and say, “Someone should change that.”  Other people actually make the change.  I will be the latter.  If I see a problem, I will do my best to frame it as an opportunity and do something about it.  I’m not content to wish that things would change.

Well, friends, here we go.