Until a few years ago, the only phrases I heard that referred to organizations like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Alzheimer’s Organization were non-profit or not-for-profit organizations. I always found that phrase peculiar – don’t those organizations want to be sustainable and grow just like other businesses? Does being profitable only relate to publicly held businesses? Is making a profit something to be ashamed of doing?
Then, I was introduced to a TedTalk you-tube video called Five Phrases That Can Change Your Life presented by Adam Braun about his organization, Pencils of Promise. For those of you unfamiliar with Adam, he started an organization years ago after traveling through 50 different impoverished countries to provide education to children yearning for the chance to learn. He started this mission because he had been asking one child per country what was the one thing they wanted if they could have anything in the world. In India, when he asked one young boy that question, the child answered, “A pencil.” The child didn’t want fancy clothes, a fast car, a motorcycle, or money; but rather, he wanted, more than anything in the world, a pencil. This was a moment of revelation for Adam Braun. He realized that his calling was to provide pencils and books and schools to help children learn, grow, and reach their potential. His organization has now built more than 550 schools and provided education to more than 100,000 children that otherwise would have no access to learning.
As he developed his organization (which started with $25!), Adam coined the phrase “For Purpose Organizations” – a wonderful way to refer to mission-driven organizations that are based on the goal to improve the lives of others. That phrase certainly fits the hundreds of great organizations in and around Siouxland that are focused on providing needed services and assistance and constantly enhancing their services to meet increasing demands and changing needs. We are so blessed in Siouxland to have a myriad of organizations that are available and accessible and designed to help fill the unique needs of our diverse community.
I share Adam Braun’s story and presentation with each Leadership Siouxland because it provides a great framework to encourage action – get involved, find your passion, make a difference. One of Adam’s five phrases that resonates with me is “Speak the Language of the Person You Seek to Become.” We cannot expect to become different unless we act differently, speak differently, change the picture we are presenting to others. Through learning and changing, we can become the person we are meant to be – that we can meet our potential and leave a legacy of positive impact.
As we progress through the nine-month curriculum of Leadership Siouxland, we know what we want the class to become – we want the graduates to become leaders who want to make a positive difference in their own lives, their workplaces, their community, their world, and then actually go out and do it!
Our February session focused on how to get involved. What does it take to become a board member of a For Purpose organization? What are the traits that constitute an effective board member? How do we find an organization that fits our own talents and passions and where we can make the most positive impact on as many lives as possible? Our curriculum provides tools and resources that foster creativity and new ideas. We help people find their passion and act on it. Join our next class and learn firsthand that Siouxland is full of opportunities for growth, impact, and purpose. Follow your heart and get involved!
By Peggy Smith