I am a sucker for the Library book sale. For $1.00 per grocery bag you can have as many books as you can fit in. What kind of happiness is that!
The last book sale I went to I grabbed a book called "Start Something that Matters." I had no idea what it was about until months later I finally decided to read it. It's written by Blake Mycoskie, the man who invented TOMS shoes. It is kinda a memoir and kinda a book about making a difference in the world. As far as I know, TOMS was the first company of its kind. A company that was for profit, yet very charitable. There was a process that got Blake to think that way, but that isn't the point of this blog. The book also outlined points one needs to make a difference in the world and looking back were the ways that I started Blankets for Brianna. I thought the book was great, and really have been recommending it to everyone. And for now, I am going to share some of the aspects of his message.
Other people may want to start a non-profit, or even a for profit business, or just a project that makes a difference in the world and what Blake says necessary is to 1. Find your story, 2. Face your fears, 3. Be resourceful without resources, 4. Keep it simple, and 5. Build trust.
1. Find your story.
Obviously, for Blankets for Brianna that came easy. Without the story of Brianna, there would be no Blankets for Brianna. Blake says that having a story might be the most important part of your new venture." He says to find your story, find something that you are passionate about. If you can't immediately figure out what you are passionate about, he says to ask yourself if you don't have to worry about money, what would you do with your spare time? What kind of work would you want to do? And, What cause would you serve? Once you answer these questions, you will find your passion and once you discover your passion, you have the core of your story and the beginning of your project.
2. Face your fears.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do that by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark TwainBlake says "when you live your story, you don't have to pretend you're someone you're not. You can just be yourself." He also quoted Thomas Edison and said "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." Facing fears is important in every day. Life isn't easy. As you all know, I am a runner and that definitely isn't easy. Reaching goals is hard. If it was easy everyone would do it. Just dive in and get it done. If we wait until the perfect time, the time will never come.
3. Be resourceful without resources.
When I started Blankets for Brianna, I knew I had a couple friends who would maybe crochet or knit me a blanket or 2. I never even dreamed of meeting the people I have been in contact with or the groups who have donated to this cause. This goes a long with face your fears as well. Don't let it get in the way of what you want to achieve. Use your resources, no matter how little or nonexistent they are. People know people who know people and word of mouth goes a long, long way. I think I already said it, and I may say it again, but DON"T GIVE UP!
4. Keep it simple.
The mission of Blankets for Brianna is to donate blankets and other baby items to hospitals for stillborn and NICU babies. Simple right? Blake suggests to not only keep your mission simple, but to keep your life simple, own less, unclutter your office. In doing this, you are able to focus and think more clearly. Blake says make a simple plan, answer each of these questions with just one sentence. "1. What is your business about? 2. What do you want to be known for as a person? 3. Why should someone hire you? 4. What social cause are you seeking to serve? 5. If you are designing a product or service, look at it and the decide: What else can you remove from the design or service and still keep its function intact."
5. Build trust.
Having people around you that can help is essential to making everything work. Its hard to do everything yourself, yet I know even for me its hard to sometimes give up the control since you think no one else can do it just like you. Blake says "A leader can create a company, but a community creates a movement."
6. Giving is good business
He says "even if you're not going to start a company that matters, you can still start something small that can be built into something that matters in a very big way." He suggests that giving is the best investment you can make. I know from experience giving is awesome. I love it and hope that I am in a position to give for years to come.
I have a couple pairs of TOMS and never thought anything of the charitable aspects of them. However, since reading this book I feel like a proud owner that helped at least 2 people get shoes. Also, did you know TOMS stands for Tomorrow, as in Shoes for Tomorrow.
Let's all continue to make this world a better place and create better tomorrows all around. No matter how we get to that point, lets try to start something that matters!