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5 Steps to Develop a Career of Impact and a Life of Fulfilment

Are you bored by your 9 to 5 career in a cubicle? Tired of working 40 hours a week without a sense of purpose? Unfulfilled by a life that looks great on the outside but drains you personally?

Do you want to introduce a social impact element to your company? Or, maybe you are looking for the next steps in your career…

Don’t feel frustrated, or trapped.

You can have a career where you will thrive, feel fulfilled and create meaningful impact.

Working with professionals who want to create social impact, at Amani Institute we have identified 5 key elements to help people find their place in the purpose economy. 440 Fellows from 60 countries globally have already joined our award-winning Social Innovation Management program and confirmed the importance of these 5 interconnected dimensions:

  • Find your burning
  • Understand the sector
  • Gain hands-on experience in the field
  • Develop the skills required to create impact
  • Build your network

Find your Burning

What makes you angry and what issue do you want to change?

Your “burning” is your passion; it is the area or issue on which you will work to create change.

It doesn’t matter if it’s about climate change, a lack of diversity and opportunities in your work environment, how we deal with human migration, inequalities or humanitarian aid. You are the only one who can identify what really moves you. Start from there.

New York Times’ columnist David Brooks wrote about finding one’s burning in his recent book The Second Mountain – The Quest for a Moral Life: “Every so often, you meet people who radiate joy—who seem to know why they were put on this earth, who glow with a kind of inner light. Life, for these people, has often followed what we might think of as a two-mountain shape. They get out of school, they start a career, and they begin climbing the mountain they thought they were meant to climb. Their goals on this first mountain are the ones our culture endorses: to be a success, to make your mark, to experience personal happiness. But when they get to the top of that mountain, something happens. They look around and find the view . . . unsatisfying. They realise: This wasn’t my mountain after all. There’s another, bigger mountain out there that is actually my mountain.

On the second mountain, life moves from self-centered to other-centered. They want the things that are truly worth wanting, not the things other people tell them to want.

Some people radically alter their lives when this happens. They give up their law practices and move to Tibet. They quit their jobs as consultants and become teachers in inner-city schools. Others stay in their basic fields but spend their time differently”.

How can you discover that calling?

Well, at Amani Institute, we call it your moment of obligation, that particular experience that affects you deeply, maybe since you were a child, and makes you want to act for change and not just wait for it to happen. That’s your compass and your source of energy to keep going in your journey towards social impact.

Understand the Sector

Don’t let the traditional idea of organisations being only for-profit or non-profit mislead you. The social sector has changed a lot! There are plenty of opportunities and it’s a constantly evolving landscape with a wide spectrum of impact organisations. Furthermore, it’s not mandatory to be a social entrepreneur to be a successful changemaker. You can make change happen within companies, as an “Intrapreneur”.

With these ideas in mind, you can now explore your options and re-evaluate your CV: How can the skills and competencies you already have contribute to what you identify as your “cause”? What kind of organisations will consider those skills useful? What competences will you be happy to learn? Would you consider moving locations, if required? Are you ready to gain new perspectives by stepping outside of your comfort zone?

Gain Hands-on Experience in the Field

Build your muscles as an athlete would. Stop merely thinking and instead, act. Social change is not for those without courage, and it requires time and perseverance. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Don’t think you can solve others’ problems, if you don’t see the problem closely yourself. It’s not about generosity, but empathy. You must understand the root cause of your burning and your stakeholders’ points of view, so you can co-create solutions with the community, rather than relying on your own assumptions.

Develop the Skills Required to Create Impact

At Amani Institute, we believe there are 4 main 21st century skills needed to succeed in any job, but are absolutely necessary for a changemaker: leadership, management, problem-solving, and communication.

The mix of these 4 elements is what will enable you to identify the real problems, be innovative in experimenting with original solutions and proactive in testing and fine-tuning them. Communication skills will help you align everyone toward the same purpose and work effectively on 4 levels: with your team, partners, donors, and probably most important – your beneficiaries.

There’s no innovation without beneficiaries’ participation. Social Innovation is not about a product or a service, it’s about changing people’s behavior. You need to be a leader, have excellent communication skills, create trust, and motivate others to work towards one common goal.

Build Your Network

Being a changemaker is not easy and it’s important that you find like minded individuals on similar journeys. It’s about finding your tribe, people who share the courage and commitment to make the world a better place, who will inspire you and hold you accountable. These are people with shared experiences who push you to transform failures into learning opportunities in order to keep moving forward.

There are plenty of organisations to follow on social media (including Social Change Central and Amani Institute) and events everywhere.

If you are serious about changemaking, why don’t you take the first step in building the skills you need to change today?

If you are considering a more adventurous and fulfilling life of meaning, with Amani Institute’s global faculty, global Fellows and global networks, you can accelerate your impact. Applications are open for the award-winning 9-month program in Social Innovation Management with 4-month intensive immersion phase in Nairobi (Kenya), Bengaluru (India) or São Paulo. (Brazil).
Scholarship Deadline 6 May. Final deadline 17 June for July 2019 cohort! Learn more and apply here.

Jay Boolkin
Jay Boolkin

I'm passionate about positive social change and the power of social entrepreneurship to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. I believe that for-purpose business models can become part of the mainstream and I am enthusiastic about advocating for business models that are genuinely built around a social or environmental mission.

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