Ashoka Induction

Remember how a while back I was raving about this book called How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein (I first talked about it in this post from July 2005)?

Anyway, the book details different stories of Ashoka Fellows, how they are located, screened and selected, and how they grow their change-making non-profit organizations throughout the world. From Ashoka‘s website:

Ashoka is the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs—men and women with system changing solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems. Since 1981, Ashoka has elected over 1,800 leading social entrepreneurs as Ashoka Fellows, providing them with living stipends, professional support, and access to a global network of peers in more than 60 countries.

I am proud to say that my very own CEO, Suzanne, was elected into the Ashoka Fellowship, and last week I attended the induction ceremony of the North American Ashoka Fellows. I caught the tail-end of the inspirational event (because I had work until 7:30 as usual), and even got the chance to hear Bill Drayton, Chairman & CEO of Ashoka, give a keynote address.

Some of the BUILD staff attended to support Suzanne, and I realized that this is such an amazing organization to work with, and it is such a privilege to be part of the org as it grows. I feel like BUILD is poised to grow, and I am lucky enough to get the opportunity to play a huge role in making the growth of the organization a success. In addition, it also gives me something to strive for. Way before Suzanne was inducted, or even interviewed for the Ashoka Fellowship, I had set my sights on it.

As Bill Drayton said, “Every citizen can be a change-maker,” and that’s what I intend to be.

Sweet Stop

Did I tell you that I have an assistant now? I must be movin’ on up in the world. Now I have a supervisee, Alison, our new Incubator Program Assistant. This is a brand new position that I have been advocating for all year long, and finally my wish has come true, and she has been a delight.

One of her duties is to observe and chronicle a brand new incubated business, Sweet Stop, as they are learning the ropes of entrepreneurship. You can read about their entrepreneurial journey at the Sweet Stop blog (click me!)

For those of you who have no clue what I do for a living (you’re probably thinking what the hell is an Incubator Manager?!?!), reading the blog would be a great way to see, not only the young entrepreneurs I work with, but the Youth Business Incubator program that I am shaping.

I never want to let that happen again

Last week I literally put my whole entire life on hold for work. I somehow got it in my head that my program would not work unless I devoted my whole entire week to it, night and day.

What a mistake.

But to my own credit, I didn’t have a choice. It was either let the program suffer or do the work necessary to make it work out. I chose the latter because I am dedicated to my students and my only reason for being at this organization is for the students.

However, recently I have been confronted with a new concept: work/life balance. I don’t really understand what this means, but slowly, since some of my coworkers are all about it, I am learning more about it. See, I come from a working culture where everyone works 100% all the time to accomplish a goal no matter what the price, and on top of that people were not paid, it was all volunteer. And now I am getting paid for doing what I love to do, and although it is pretty much in the same vein of what I have done before, it is different because I have to take staff work/life balance into consideration.

And to top it all off, I have to take my own personal work/life balance into consideration. Being surrounded by libras (my parents, Jo, Jed), I know all about balance, but need help in achieving it.

This was my last 2 weeks:

8/7-8 – 2 days of Business Boot Camp for our juniors
8/9 – 1 day of working on logistics for the week after
8/10-13 – off to 4 days of College Summit (days that started at 7 am and ended at 2 am)
8/14 – right after that I had a training day for our Executive Leadership Circle
8/14-18 – followed by 4 days of Business Boot Camp for our sophomores.

My last 5 days started at 6 am and ended at midnight. I was on all day long with no breaks, barely any time to eat because I was supervising 45 students every minute with barely any help. When I got home, all I wanted to do was vegg, but I had to prepare for the next day or the day after that.

What suffered:

I didn’t get to go to the gym at all
I was eating horrible food
I wasn’t replying to work or personal email
I was barely replying to phone calls
I came home every day emotionally drained
I came home defeated after listening to staffmembers give feedback about how to do it better (and all I could hear was “This sucked,” “It was bad, this is how you can do it better,” etc.)
I broke down, not once, not twice, but yes, three times

This is the first time in a whole year that I’ve ever felt like I couldn’t do this job, and that’s not right, especially since 11 out of the 12 months that I have worked there, I have rocked at it (to put it humbly).

Moral of the story: It’s OK to love your job (because I still do love my job). But when your job and you start to have a codependent and hurtful relationship, it’s time to change something up.

So I’m going to change it up a bit. How? I don’t know yet. But I will.

A fortune from a fortune cookie

I got this from Eric’s Chinese Restaurant:

Reasonable people endure; passionate people live.

How appropriate.

I just interviewed 8 candidates back-to-back for our Incubator Program Assistant and E1 Program Assistant positions through Public Allies (an Americorps program), and I swear… if you don’t have passion, you need not apply. Passion is so important when you’re applying for a job and for when you’re actually working in the job.

I don’t know how people can live life without being passionate about what they are doing. It would eat away at the very core of me if I were to do that.