Amid the day-to-day insanity of running a startup and changing the world, we do a lot of big-picture thinking at Inspiring Capital, including a designated portion of time set aside each week for daydreaming about what our company could and should become, affectionately known as "What If Wednesday." The rest of the week, we're back to the busy work of recruiting talented professionals for the purpose-driven work of our social impact clients, so it's important to stay motivated and driven by a larger thought, dream, and objective.
We asked our internal team, and some of our program alumni, to take a second to tell us what quotes are stuck in their brains this week, that motivate, inspire, and make them think.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead (apparently the origin of this quote is disputed, but widely attributed to her)
As I graduated undergrad and started a not-for-profit organization, this was a quote that drove me because it was so overwhelming, at 23 years old with exceptionally little experience as an adult on my own, to think of actually achieving the mission we had set out. It has since been motivation for me in every stage to create authentic community with others across the world who believe in the power of doing the small things that make the world a better place. Most recently, this is how I see our MBA’s, undergrads, women, and client partners, who all exemplify “thoughtful, committed citizens” who believe so wholeheartedly in creating change - through this pursuit alone, they already have, and together we will.
“Sometimes the people with the greatest potential often take the longest to find their path because their sensitivity is a double edged sword – it lives at the heart of their brilliance, but it also makes them more susceptible to life’s pains. Good thing we aren’t being penalized for handing in our purpose late. The soul doesn’t know a thing about deadlines.” – Jeff Brown, excerpt from “Love it Forward”
This quote resonates with me especially now as I am starting to build my career. It is never too late to pursue your passion or take a leap into the unknown with the hope of identifying your purpose.
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." - George Bernard Shaw
I love this quote because collectively, we spend too many hours trying to identify which off-the-shelf, linear life path fits best. Inevitably, none of them feel quite right. But it's easy to study smarter, work harder, eat better, exercise more, or do other contortions to try to fit in. Or to switch paths and try to make a new one fit.
But really, what we need to do is create the path that feels right, that turns us on, and so makes us function at our best potential. This path isn't always easy or fun, but it's satisfying because it's ours.
“Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” Steve Jobs to then-Pepsico executive and early Apple CEO John Scully. (Video)
It isn’t easy to go to work with everyone else. Plenty of people work hard—really, really hard—in roles that are clearly defined. But it’s harder to take a chance on something that you think will change the world, as changing the world usually means breaking things that work for most people. Yet, sometimes someone comes through with a clarity of vision that makes the world-changing mission seem obvious and doing what is safe and expected seem ridiculous.
"Almost every successful person begins with two beliefs: the future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so." - David Brooks
This quote embodies the work of social change-- even on the hard days, it reminds me that what we're working toward is a better future, even incrementally. It's motivating to remember that we have the power, and the responsibility, to do what we can to accelerate that change. At IC, I love that I'm able to empower others with the knowledge that they have skills, knowledge, connections, and potential to leverage, and then connect them with lots of important ways to use those resources for good.
Here's one of my own original quotes: Don't count the minutes, make the minutes count.
I came up with that as I transitioned from the corporate sphere to the social venture sector. I used to count the minutes until the weekend, now I make every minute count by trying the make a positive impact on the lives of my clients.
“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”- Jacob Riis
How many times have you felt discouraged when, despite giving your absolute effort, tangible results eluded you? This is my view on persistence. Do what you believe in, and do it over and over again. Someday that rock will split in two.
“Little by little, one travel’s far.” - J.R.R Tolkein
As I near graduation, and think about the journey of the last two years, I am grateful for the growth and excited by the idea that I have so much further to go!