“There are alternative paths” for reaching your social justice dream job, says change agent Jessamyn Lau. She should know. Her social change career began with dropping out of high school, then moved to enrolling in art school, teaching elementary school in China, earning an MBA and finally landing a plum job as the first program officer for the Peery Foundation.
In the real world of social change, life is messy. Social entrepreneurs with a diverse life experiences have distinct skill advantages: They are less absolutist and more nuanced in their problem-solving. They are better at adapting to unexpected situations. They are more resilient and able to anticipate future consequences before, rather than after, making a decision. They have more benchmarks against which to measure their own potential and real contribution to economic and social justice.
Lau’s circuitous route to social justice work is not atypical for powerhouse change-makers:
In Good to Great, Jim Collins reports that a nearly consistent attribute of successful CEOs is disciplined focus on the single thing at which they are really accomplished and then truly push towards excellence. In contrast, school teaches competency across a wide and varied curriculum.
Social entrepreneurship requires that you pursue a single passion with unbridled focus and superior execution. However, the path to professional competency as a change agent is yours to customize.
– Jonathan C. Lewis, Host/Founder, Café Impact (original blog at Huffington Post)