Thoughts for the Mentor Capital Network Community:
A friend of mine is in the Intensive Care Unit today, because a few days ago a Nazi hit him with a torch in Charlottesville, VA, USA. (He’ll live, but he needs care.)
A Nazi. In 2017. In the United States of America.
Some of you deal with violence in your lives on a regular basis. Many of you are actively working to bring peace to your communities. Thank you for that.
Fifteen years of working with social entrepreneurs has introduced me to people working on the hardest problems the world. People working in the front lines of communities that have been torn apart by war and disease and hate. People working WITH those communities, not just for them.
But that’s not what I will write about today. You’ll get those stories from us every two weeks – amazing entrepreneurs building businesses for a better world. That is who the MCN supports, and many of you are part of that — as entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors. Thank you for that as well.
Today, I write about some janitors I knew twenty years ago.
In the mid-1990s, I was the site coordinator for a group called Hands on DC. I would visit DC public schools, and work with the facilities staff to come up with projects that our volunteers could do that would (a) actually add value, and (b) make life easier for the facilities team at the school so they could focus on the longer-term projects.
These men were accomplishing great things without minimal resources. They were also highly visible role models. They were the adults with jobs that the kids saw every day and looked up to. (There were amazing teachers, of course, but that was a different kind of relationship.) Somewhere between the second or third time I saw a little duckling string of elementary school kids following a janitor around, I knew I had to do whatever I could to create work in those communities.
But more to the point, I knew that it was the person holding that job who made a difference, more than the job itself.
If you want to build a more inclusive world, watch how you build the world around you every day. Notice how you talk to people. Notice who you include. Notice who is watching you.
And don’t just act accordingly. PLAN accordingly. Build justice and inclusiveness into how you do your work and how you live your life. Because as Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
If we can help you build a company that actively does good, let us know. Applications for our program are due by October 16th.
Whatever your path, take it with intent.