While we’ve had the opportunity to review thousands of business plans of those applying to our Fellowship Program—addressing as many social issues, communities, and geographies—what holds consistent across the most successful applications are the qualities and traits of their leaders. We’ve learned to turn our attention to providing investment and support in dynamic individuals with unique perspectives, clearly and deeply felt purpose, and the unique abilities and talents to execute on their goals.
In fact, the most influential, and happiest, agents of change have a valuable lesson to teach all of us, even those not necessarily pursuing entrepreneurship: self-awareness and self-concern are as essential as your desire to help others. There is sometimes a misconception that when you are working on behalf of others, you must sacrifice everything and place others’ needs above your own. On the contrary, we know that this actually leads to burn-out.
Three of our ten principles of Work on Purpose highlight ways in which our Fellows have prioritized discovering what’s right for them to make them better advocates for others. Looking into your past and uncovering your own unique contributions to the world are the first steps. Then gather the support you need, and go.
Heart + Head = Hustle
Find ways to work from both your heart and your head, collapsing the divisions between these two aspects of yourself in your work as often as possible. It is the only way to achieve what we call hustle.
Know What You’ve Got – Know What You Need
Uncover your unique contribution(s) to the world. In the meantime, either develop the skills, strengths, contacts, experiences, insights, or education you still need, or prop yourself up by surrounding yourself with people whose gifts complement your own.
Mine Your Past
Reflect on your history in order to understand what motivates you, both positively and negatively. This reflection will help you create a career that is connected to your core.