Commiting to something bigger than yourself

publishedover 2 years ago
4 min read

Hi Friends

There are times when I see the wealth around me and I start thinking of how I want more...

  • Some of my kids' friends live in bigger houses, so I think maybe we need a bigger house too.
  • That re-designed MacBook Pro would make my work so much fun and faster.
  • My friends drive big executive cars and maybe upgrading to Tesla's super eco-friendly car is the right thing to do.

Do you ever do this?

So I look at myself and think why don't I focus on making more money? I could work longer hours; I could go into a higher paying industry and be done with all this changing the world crap.

So it was at the right time that I listened to the interview with Jacqueline Novogratz on the Tim Ferriss podcast. They talked about how when you commit to something something bigger than yourself, you find a freedom and layering of life you never really understood you had.

It reminded me of my decision in 2002, after several years in the lucrative marketing world of London, of committing to the global water and sanitation crisis and going back to University to retrain.

As they said in the interview, the secret to a meaningful life is not wasting your time, keeping your options open or forever chasing more material wealth. But committing to a problem bigger than you are and dedicating your life to it.

And through this newsletter, I'm committed to helping people like myself, putting purpose before profit, so we can make the world a better place by being more effective in our roles.

So if I can recommend only one of this week's links, is the interview with Jacqueline Novogratz. Occasionally we need to reaffirm why we do what we do.

I've love to hear your perspective on the whole purpose-before-profit-in-your-career thing. Does this relate? Please hit reply and let me know.

Now onto the links!

Have a great couple of weeks.


✨ Personal Growth

"Help this person": Despite being about self promotion, the message behind this is a good one. By thinking 'Help this person' in each encounter, we can help make the world a better place whilst converting annoyance or frustration into satisfaction and contentment. It will also improve your daily interactions and relationships. Try it!

"Help this person" (2 mins)

Habits: I like to regularly feature articles about Habits into my newsletter. So this is a great cheat sheet of some of the best actionable takeaways from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. It’s wrapped up in a new site called Mentorist that takes popular non-fiction books and turns them into actionable steps. It’s a nod to the fact that knowledge is useless unless it’s put into practice. I’ve downloaded the app and am hesitantly giving it a try.

Atomic Habits on Mentorist

👔 Professional Development

Collaboration: This is beautiful article reminds me that when I tell people what I do, they imagine swashbuckling action in remote countries. But I tell them it's about meeting with lots of different people to coordinate, listen, plan and negotiate. Solnit captures this so well, likening it to the movies, which portray a hero at work rather than the reality of people talking alot and working things out. Change happens through movements and coalitions not individuals acting on their own. As changemakers, we need the ability to coordinate, inspire and connect with lots of other people and create stories about what could be and how to get there. "Outstanding figures get others to act willingly, not by command. We would do well to call them catalysts rather than leaders." Amen to that.

When the hero is the problem (14 mins)

Storytelling: It comes up time and time again as the ingredients to successfully growing your startup, business or non-profit. This article stands out because of its step-by-step approach to help founders develop their own story. I've picked out some useful tips for when I need to tell my own story, like when giving talks or in my writing.

How to craft your story (13 mins)

📡 Tech and Social Entrepreneurship

Crypto and NFTs: I've been curious about crypto and NFTs recently, after finally accepting this isn't a passing fad. As a social impact worker, I'm exploring ways we can harness smart contracts and token issues to help the disadvantaged. Like how decentralised community-owned collectives might sell NFTs of impact to donors, challenging the existing global philanthropy model. I found these slides a useful primer. Let me know if you want to chat about this exciting new sector.

Crypto fundamentals and NFTs (5 mins)

Afrofuturism: I was intrigued to read about Afrofuturism from the team at New African Renaissance. I love the vision, of how the continent takes a technology jump without the legacy influence of the global north, where they build new communities, institutions and markets committed to advancing African society. It paints a picture of a Wakanda-like future and I love it. It's a thesis of a read, but do have a skim.

The Kilimanjaro Manifesto (1 hour)


Virtual Vacation: Many of you liked the VirtualTrips from a previous issue, so I suspect you'll like this. It's a game that plops you into a random city and forces you to guess where you are. Couldn't stop!

City Guesser

By Andy Narracott

I'm a consultant in water, sanitation and hygiene and love all things social entrepreneurship and tech. How can I help you? Hit reply and let’s set up a call.

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