I recently finished reading The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz. It is a tremendous book. The following are five lessons I gleaned from her quest of entrepreneurship, social impact and human dignity.
(1) We Are All Connected
If you learn only one thing today – heck, if you learn one thing this year – learn that everyone and everything is connected. In The Blue Sweater we learn how she discarded a sweater to Goodwill in Virginia and then found it many years later being worn by a young boy in Rwanda. How is this possible? Coincidence? Not likely. Rupert Sheldrake, a PHD and leading researcher on consciousness studies, shows how this happens through Morphogenetic Fields. Our connection to each other isn’t new age fluffy anymore. It’s science.
(2) Synchronicity and Flow
Morphogenetic fields give rise to what we commonly call serendipity and synchronicity. From the events of Jacqueline’s life, we observe that once we start living our passions and purpose in life the meaningful coincidences unfold around us. Keep in mind, these moments of synchronicity are not just us ‘getting lucky.’ They are products of connected consciousness driven by similar intentions within morphic fields. You can create more of these special moments and maximize your impact by living in the state of flow.
(3) Listen More
How do we help others and make an impact? By telling them what to do? Where to go? What to think? Of course not. The first step to show someone we care is to listen to them. And I don’t mean the kind of listening where you nod your head to agree, and at the same time are busy thinking about what you’re about to say next. Creating impact requires the kind of listening where we enter another’s world, engage in another’s problems and find a solution, together. Jacqueline recommends listening to local leaders and working with them to help others in their circle of influence. In doing so, you’ll develop deep trust and be ready to take action, together.
(4) Action > Measure > Repeat
To create change in your life (and the world) it requires the willingness to take massive action and measure your results along the way. As Jacqueline explains, compassion isn’t enough. “Empathy is only our starting point. It must be combined with a focus and conviction, the toughness to know what needs to get done and the courage to follow through. The world will not change on inspiration alone; rather, it requires systems of accountability and clear measures of what works and what doesn’t.” Making an impact in today’s world requires a soft heart and hard head.
(5) Exercise Your Moral Imagination
Playing small, working a dead end job and settling for a life that is less than the one you’re capable of living doesn’t serve you. We are on this planet to Play Big! But playing big doesn’t just happen. It requires imagination, convictions, morals and a philosophy of life that comes from studying great thoughts, people and most importantly, yourself.
So, ask yourself, given your highest values and morals, what can you do to make an impact in the lives of others?