Becoming a social entrepreneur is an unconventional career path
Six years ago I co-founded and build up a startup with the aim of engaging people for sustainability by offering fun team experiences powered by a gamified platform. Despite the struggles of providing a very innovative offering to corporate clients to engage their employees, we somehow “made it” and WeAct today keeps implementing projects and developing new formats.
I did not think much about what I was doing when I started WeAct. For me, having a positive impact just came first. I found out that dreaming of a better future was a natural process for me. And I found that getting things done, together with an interdisciplinary team, was almost as exciting as climbing a 4’000m peak.
When I started WeAct I was the only one, among my friends to move into entrepreneurship. Over time I met several entrepreneurs. They were mainly male software developers dreaming about the Silicon Valley. Being a woman and focusing on a social cause with a business approach was a rarity. Sometimes I felt like an exotic fruit in a basket of apples and pears.
Today, luckily, a lot is happening and moving into (social) entrepreneurship is becoming an increasingly common career choice.
We all have tricky professional choices to make
Somehow as a social entrepreneur pioneering an unconventional path, I attracted many friends thirsty for a career change. We talked about their wishes, dilemmas, and doubts.
For example, there is my Mexican friend. She studied engineering and management and works for a large company. She has a demanding job putting more and more pressure on employees, but which also provides a good pay, security, and the possibility to do home-office and have flexible time schedules. However often she was wondering: Is what I’m spending most of my day meaningful? I’m sure. I don’t want to stay in this company forever, but I have many advantages. Should I be happy about my job and life or should I look for something better?
I was also talking with this Dutch friend that build a successful e-commerce and just has to work a few hours per week. He makes a good living and has a lot of freedom to live and travel all over the world. However, he is also aware of the huge challenges our society is facing, for instance in relation to climate change. He was asking him self: “How could I contribute to solving the environmental challenges I care about? How can I make my living while moving into a totally new field? And what can I do that really will have an impact?”
This other Swiss friend was working for several years as a software developer. He joined this 20 people company working on an interesting technology. But after a while, he realized that he wanted to have more time for his passions: climbing, yoga, cooking, meeting friends. He wondered: “How could I work 60% if I’m not a dad? How can I tell to my boss that the business model of our company is not going to work anymore in 3 years? Should I try to change my company or rather move to a new company? Or maybe start my own business?”
I heard many more stories during the last few years. I’m extremely fascinated by each one of them. I felt that I would like to find a way to be more helpful, than just by meeting over a cup of coffee once in a while.
Career with impact mastermind breakfast
During the last months, the pieces of the puzzle started to come together. A new piece appeared this spring. As I was spending a month kitesurfing in Tarifa, a small town in the South of Spain, I met old digital nomad friends and made many new ones.
After a few meetings I realized that 4-5 friends were struggling with similar career questions: “I’m financially alright and have a lot of freedom, thanks to my entrepreneurial or freelance activities. I am a “digital nomad”, but I miss a meaning in what I do. I would like to contribute to the social and environmental challenge I see around me through my professional activities. But how?”
So one morning we organized a mastermind session, during which besides having fresh orange juice everyone shared the own story: where one stands, what does one dream about and why does one feel stuck. I moderated the discussion and all together we opened up options, shared experiences and brought in many new perspectives. Everyone could find the own next mini step to do. The energy in the room and the results from the session were amazing!
Later in June, a new piece of the puzzle found its place as I went to the Swiss Alps, where I love to hike, mountaineer and ski tour. I participated in a 10 days Vision-Quest in nature. It was an amazing time during which once again, I experienced the regenerating and inspiring power of nature, which when combined with well-moderated sessions and sharing with a group can make us leap frog on our personal development path.
All these pieces are adding shapes and colors to the picture. I’m starting to recognize a landscape: it’s the personal “CAREER PATH” picture. It is a picture displaying the career journeys many people are doing, everyone in its own unique way, but guided by the same stars in the sky.
Next Autumn I would love to create a new piece to the puzzle. That will combine the mastermind session, with my beautiful experience in nature. The idea is to be three days in the mountains with a group of people wanting to progress on their “CAREER PATH” journey. Together with my friend Helene Roselstorfer we will organize a longer and deeper version of the mastermind session, while participants will have plenty of time to come down and let the beauty of the surrounding environment regenerate oneself.
We are planning to hold our first “CAREER PATH COMPASS” retreat on the 27-29th of October 2017 in the Swiss mountains. Does it sound interesting? Have a look at our flyer and at the description in HELENE.MOVES. Simply get in touch with me per email (majka(at)alifequest.com) to learn more about it.