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3 Ways to Stay the Course

Instead of making resolutions for the New Year, we’re taking a look at where we’ve been, what we’ve learned, and applying those lessons as we move into the future. In this spirit, we’re returning to our archives to revisit some of the powerful lessons we’ve learned from the Echoing Green community. What do most of our favorite lessons have in common? Trusting in your commitment to helping make the biggest positive impact on the world. Read on for three of our top lessons for staying the course on unpredicatable journeys.

“If you know your idea will help someone, somewhere…just do it. Just start. Risk is a part of change.” – Lauren Burke ’14

Lauren Burke shared a few of our favorite lessons about perseverance – not for the sake of leading, but for the sake of knowing that the work was too important to leave it by the wayside.

Lauren, reflecting on how she kept moving forward to launch Atlas: DIY after multiple funder rejections, had this to say: “I wasn’t on payroll and had to borrow funds from a board member to make sure my one employee got paid. That rejection wouldn’t be our last. But even after I heard a no, I knew that what we were doing was important and needed.” Lauren put the work at the center of her focus because, in her own words, it was bigger than her. It was no easy task, but Lauren and Atlas kept creating, fueled by a deep-rooted belief that the work must go on. Check out more advice from Lauren.

“As leaders, often you find yourself at the front. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look around to understand what else is happening in other lanes. Be open to alternative avenues to addressing the problem you’re committed to solving.” – Cheryl L. Dorsey ’92

When Echoing Green President Cheryl L. Dorsey’92 was asked to share her leadership tips, she drew upon her relationships to relay powerful lessons learned in her leadership journey. “No doubt, there are common qualities true leaders have that help them inspire people to support them in their work or passion. That support – the ability to learn from and lean on others – is what allows leaders to stay in the game.” One of the most powerful philosophies she shared was to be open to reinvention. Read on for more on this and other lessons from Cheryl.

“Stay the course: while the milestones may be far apart, persistence, resilience, and commitment to your vision will help carry you to the finish line.”

In 2015 the Echoing Green community gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa to reconnect, share ideas, and consider new alternative ways of thinking and problem solving. It’s not easy for anyone to launch a new organization. On top of figuring out the logistics of running sustainable organizations, social change leaders and their communities are also working bring justice to systems that are failing. One of the critical takeaways from that week was best illustrated during a panel featuring women leveraging entrepreneurship to increase opportunity in post-apartheid South Africa. Learn more about the panel and other lessons learned in Joburg.

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