May 5th, 2011
Making Two Huge Leaps
Within 24 hours I made two pretty big leaps: one metaphorical, one quite literal.
On Friday I made the commitment to leave my full-time job to focus all of my energy on StartSomeGood. The next morning, I was 11,000 feet in the air jumping out of a plane, my first time ever skydiving.
On Friday, the door closed on my previous position — as a project manager for non-profits — at an absolutely wonderful organization, PICnet. On Saturday, the door of the plane flung open, and I made my way to the edge.
On Friday, I received well-wishes from my co-workers as I made the transition from working two jobs to one. On Saturday, I gave the thumbs up to the pilot, indicating I was ready to make my jump from the plane.
On Friday, I turned away, leaving my previous office, knowing that from here forward all of my energy, attention and focus would be channeled towards StartSomeGood. On Saturday, I hurled my body through the air, my cheeks flapping in the wind, doing a free-fall for a good number of seconds before the parachute was pulled and we gently glided down to the Earth below.
Making the jump out of the airplane was nothing if not a leap of faith: it meant trusting my life to the combination of a man whom I had just met 15 minutes ago, and a big piece of cloth. Making the jump to full-time work on StartSomeGood is also, in many ways, a leap of faith. But I do so bolstered by a ridiculously talented and passionate team around me, and the belief that we can help social impact initiatives do good in the world.
While the direction for skydiving was readily apparent — straight down until we hit the ground — the path for starting a social enterprise is far less delineated. We will no doubt take a route that has unexpected turns and lots of ups and downs, but the goal is clear as can be: to build a platform to empower people to become social innovators.
The decision to focus on StartSomeGood full-time was one that built throughout the two months that our site has now been live, and was a wonderful feedback loop oscillating among necessity, inspiration and motivation.
It’s become increasingly clear that to really make a difference with StartSomeGood, it is impossible to do so with both of the co-founders balancing other full-time jobs. Both of us are dreamers with no shortage of big ideas generated, but to actually implement them takes time and focus which is nearly impossible while spending 50 hours per week on another gig.
It’s not just necessity though. Back in February I had the honor of attending the StartingBloc social innovation summit in Los Angeles, where I met 90 other people dedicating their lives to improving the world. There, one the speakers, Rafe Furst, gave a passionate talk about “jumping off the ledge” and going 100% into whatever it was we wanted to do in order to make a difference. I like to think that I took Rafe’s advice to heart (and hopefully I get some extra credit for the fact that my ledge was over 2 miles up in the sky)!
Similarly, the motivation to keep pushing and building StartSomeGood comes to me daily as new ventures find success in starting their own good on our site. I remember speaking with Jack McDermott of Balbus Speech back when StartSomeGood was little more than an idea and a few lines of code, and thinking that he is exactly the type of person I want to empower with the site. So to fast-forward 7 weeks and find that he leveraged our platform to successfully raise the capital he needs to launch his social enterprise is wonderfully motivating —especially knowing that there are many more Jacks out there with brilliant ideas waiting to come to life. At the same time, I’ve been equally inspired by the community that is building around StartSomeGood. From our mobilizers who support us from various corners of the world, to the people that have written such supportive blog posts and notes of encouragement, to our team who has forgone a good amount of sleep to make this happen. StartSomeGood is without a doubt one of the most exciting things I’ve ever been a part of in my life, and I’m so thankful to everyone for their role in bringing us to where we are today.
24 hours. Two leaps of faith. Only one of these huge jumps comes with a parachute, but I’m even more excited about the metaphorical jump than the literal one. Both are scary. Both are exhilarating. And I can’t wait for what’s next.