We love labels. And identity. Humans go apeshit for it.
So, maybe you call yourself a founder, an entrepreneur or just a plain old human being with hopes and dreams of a world where people and planet thrive.
But could you be a changemaker too? Let’s find out, shall we. And discover another snazzy job title to slap on your LinkedIn profile.
Changemakers see something wrong in their world
You see a problem or injustice – something that needs putting right. And chances are it’s happening right on your doorstep. Maybe you’ve struggled with it yourself, or seen others close to you struggling with it too.
Ole Kassow, social entrepreneur and founder of Cycling Without Age, is an inspiring example of what it is to be a changemaker (and from where I draw most of this definition). In his fireside chat with Happy Start-up School, he shared his story of an elderly relative facing social isolation, and many others in the same situation.
It needn’t be a social or environmental injustice – these just happen to be areas I coach individuals in. It’s just something that fires you up and gets you out of bed in the morning. It wicks at you.
Put plainly, it’s where you want to make a difference in life.
Changemakers connect ideas
With a clear understanding of what’s important in life, you make connections (conscious or otherwise) between problems and possible solutions.
You might not have the right answer (yet). But you follow your curiosity, your intuition. And sure enough, something simple and elegant (eventually) comes along – a flash of genius pairing one idea to another.
For Ole, it was the Danish love of cycling (especially in cargo bikes): as is often the case, the best ideas are the ones that stick around, often right beneath our noses.
We call them experiments, but really it’s just learning and f*cking up along the way. And you love it (well, most of the time). Because it’s a very natural, human way of tackling a problem. It’s often long-winded and clumsy but it’s served us well over the last few hundred thousand years.
Your setbacks and triumphs spur you on.
It might feel complicated and overwhelming. Especially when the problem you’re tackling is systemic. But complex problems don’t always need complex solutions. They can be simple and elegant. Like a bicycle.
And people love simple, accessible ideas. They’re drawn to them. That’s how you might recruit people to your cause.
So part of your job as a changemaker is to break down what’s complicated into something more easily digestible.
And one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is the humble story. These painful and enlightening experiences you’re putting yourself in front of – take note. They’ll help you spread your message to other like-minded supporters.
Changemakers are on a quest
OK, it might not feel like it when you’re smashing your head against a wall, but secretly, deep down, you suspect this might be your life’s calling.
You know that because you sometimes feel sublime moments of joy, happiness and surprise. They might be fleeting and infrequent. But they’re there.
You can see a path ahead of you. It’s daunting. And long. You might even be fearful of choosing it. But you’ve a strong suspicion it’ll change you (and the people you rope in along the way) – for the better.
Maybe you’ve already chosen your path. You’re well on the way. But you’re distracted, pulled in too many different directions and sometimes demotivated. That can happen too. Sometimes we need to juggle priorities, and find focus by saying no instead of yes.
Changemakers achieve more with a coach
You knew it was coming… At every stage of this journey, a coach’s support is invaluable. Whether it’s defining the problem, bouncing around ideas for solutions, knowing your principles, designing (and surviving) experiments, telling your tale, or coping with triumph and adversity – coaching is all about personal growth.
And in my coaching practice, it’s about serving others too. Yes it’s about you, but you’re a catalyst in a bigger chain of events. Let’s not forget that. If you’re my kind of human you’re saving the world.
Put simply, coaching is space with someone who gets you – a cheerleader, trusted confidant and accountability buddy. Someone with whom and somewhere you can be yourself, focused and fired-up to make change happen.
Are you a changemaker?
Here’s the thing – we all are, or at least changemakers in-waiting. The distinction is are you ready to turn some thought or aspiration into action?
If so, maybe you’d like some help with that?