Tag Archives: caring

Rough: A Social Entrepreneur’s Journey

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I’ve often spoken about my journey in finding my calling. I am so fortunate to love what I do, every day.  And with that gift, I want to vigorously help others.   I am passionate about serving UniversalGiving every day, helping people connect with quality ways to give and volunteer all across the world.

I am equally passionate about helping others find something they love to do.  It lights up your life. You become the best, most sincere, intelligent, fun, and delightful person if you can engage with your calling.

People hear me speak with joy and clarity about my calling, yet they think my life to social entrepreneurship was easy.

It was the “Rough” of my life.  It was excruciating. I fought to find work I loved to greet every day.  There were some really, really low times, over many years.  In fact, I don’t like to talk about it, because I enjoy focusing on the positive.

So “Rough” is in response to many people’s request:

“Pamela, tell me what it was like. I don’t know where to start. I need encouragement.

“Can you help me?  I need to know I can make it…”

or

“Pamela,  you had it easy.  I wish I could have found my calling as you did!  You’re so lucky.”

I write this for all aspiring social entrepreneurs. Persevere in getting to know yourself and carve out your pathway.  You will find it. Even if takes years. It’s worth it.

Just as we should love who we marry, we should love what we do.  I’m still working on that first one. So for all you moms who crave meaning, and come to me dying for a purpose, I have that purpose, and I also will be grateful to find what you have too: precious family and children. We deserve both, and we can help each other.

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If you hear me speak or read my writing, I focus on the positive. It’s imperative to be a solid, move-forward-and-make-it-happen entrepreneur, and a happy person. I am grateful for all the good Life has opened up unto me, in conjunction with the human effort and striving I put forth.

But if you need to know my journey, so that you know it is possible for you, I will share. Here is where my story started. But my vision of social entrepreneurship didn’t manifest itself until 14 years later. And I am still working on my next vision of serving… stay tuned.  Team, we don’t stop growing, ever.

An Entrepreneur’s Journey

There are people who are bootstrapping on a vision. And there are people who don’t yet have a vision. Both are in a glorious battle.

One is striving to achieve and live their vision, to build a new way of doing things in the world. The other, I think, is in more pain because they haven’t yet found that calling.  At least the former, despite formidable pressures to launch, fundraise, hire the right people, (fire the others who need to be the right people elsewhere), fight legal battles, meet payroll, is in love. They like their day to day.

I can’t emphasize how important this is. If you dread each day, feel dead in your skills, and unappreciated, it starts to wear off everywhere else. It impacts your whole life.

Build towards vision, positive growth, enthusiasm every day. This is what you must do. Equally important is who you surround yourself with. You are building your future right now. No, it is not off two years from now, or 20. Your future is everything you put your thought and energy into, right now. And right now, and now, and…now.

ROUGH: Try

So you have to keep trying.

I leave four jobs in two years out of college. I am in sales for a company for one year.  I am out of work for a year. All my friends are on a track, on track: MBA, Doctor, Lawyer.  I feel embarrassed. I am from a smart school, with smart colleagues, and I don’t feel like I am living a smart life.

I pick up any jobs I can, while still trying to pursue a love-of-my-life calling.

I work for a man who wanted an executive assistant but says I don’t deserve to be paid. He says I’m too green. I work for the experience anyway.

I work as a step aerobics instructor. I am hired and pushed out as a waitress by a frustrated restaurant-owner in Venice Beach.  I always wanted to serve others, but my hands shook while I carried the plates.  I volunteer with alcoholic men in Skid Row, helping them with life skills. I interview to sell insurance. I do real estate research for an independent couple, a marketing brochure for a nonprofit. I do all I can to provide for myself and try to make it.

Still, all the while, I was learning more about our international world, understanding social entrepreneurship and helping pave the way. I studied The Economist, read about the world, prayed, cried and asked for my life to be used.  On my knees I prayed and cried for it. The drive was that strong, as was the depression in not finding it. Ask my roommate at the time – who is now UniversalGiving’s COO. She saw it all, and it was excruciating.

I see an idea.  I get inspired and do the full business plan for a Gift Basket company that would give back to nonprofits, early CSR before I know it. I sneak into a manufacturer’s conference for Gift Basket vendors of 1000 people, to find out all the suppliers of foods and gifts. I prepared inventory, storage, a marketing plan, and first customers.

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And then…

I had to give up.

It just didn’t feel right.  I just wasn’t prepared to do this on my own. I needed a partner.

I was devastated.   I had started… another non-starter in my life.

I called my Dad and let him know I was abandoning the Gift Basket business plan. What would I do next, he asked?

I thought…..I might like PR.  That’s the thing…you often just don’t know.

You have to try, and believe all the things that don’t work are gearing you exactly into what does work.  Don’t worry.  Keep going.  Keep trying.  Learn.

I tried to get into PR. I was told I didn’t have any experience. I was told I didn’t have an internship on my resume.

So I went — and got experience, for ten days. I got into Chiatt Day, and beat out college teens for an unpaid internship. After a week-plus, I put it on my resume, and was then able to get a job with a PR agency because I had ‘experience.’

I entered data for them. I was praised with the company record of stuffing the most press kits. I was so mind-tired, so exhausted by not using my mind, that I had to run up and down the stairwell to stay sane.

I went from sales, to being out of work for a year, to odd jobs, to a 10-day internship at Chiatt Day, to 8 months at a PR firm, into a Masters in broadcast journalism.  I hopped and hopped.

Then I met Peter Samuelson, and he helped change my life course. He was doing it, and he really lived.

ROUGH: Your Calling

How Do You Get There Once You Know What It Is?

Just because you have a calling doesn’t mean there is an easy way to get there.

At the age of twelve, I was struck with an early vision. In my post “To Be of Service,” I speak about witnessing poverty in Mexico with my father, and how that changed my life. It set me on a pathway to service and ultimately entrepreneurship.  However, the challenges to get there, and to understand my unique path as a social entrepreneur, were many.

I had always been very entrepreneurial. I loved to create little businesses. For some, there is a time when we move from being an entrepreneur, to being a social entrepreneur.  Peter Samuelson, film director and founder of Starlight Children’s Foundation, encapsulated that pivotal moment for me.   I first met Peter through the Leadership Institute, started by management leader Warren Bennis at USC Business School. Here’s how Peter sparked me on my path.

While the thread in my life was about helping, I was having a hard time finding an outlet. At the time, I was in graduate school, heading into broadcast journalism with the goal of changing the tenor of media news.  I wanted to see a world where we could emphasize positive developments in our world.

It’s not that we ignore the tough situations, but the murder rate is not always going up. There are places it has gone down.  Positive solutions helped get us there. Why not cover that news?

If you focus only on the negative, you’ll stay there.  Move into the new world you envision.  But news directors told me it wasn’t possible. “We operate off of eye candy, what will bring the most viewers. What you’re proposing doesn’t drive eyeballs, Pamela.”

So I was feeling blocked again. Four “careers” in four years. Now what do I do?

Peter got up and spoke about “entrepreneurial philanthropy” or “social entrepreneurship.”  “We need to make a difference in a strategic, business-like way, while serving our communities!” he proclaimed.  He essentially galvanized us with his relentless passion. I’ve never seen anyone speak like that.

My heart dropped. Tears filled my eyes. At that point I was going through my mid-life crisis at age 25. And in an instant, I knew what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be a social entrepreneur. Peter brought my vision of how I wanted to serve – with compassion and business principles – to life.

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The relief, the joy, the glory…to know… that I was made to be a social entrepreneur.

I left the Leadership Conference and ran to a payphone (yes, a payphone) and called my Dad, “Dad, Dad, I know what I want to do!” I excitedly explained. He listened with joy and support as he always does.  “That’s great, honey!  And…how…do you get paid?”

Rough.

Social entrepreneurship was not a developed concept — let alone a field. There were NO:

social entrepreneurship blogs or books

social entrepreneurship job listings

social entrepreneurship events, certificates, programs, classes…

or  degrees….

or conferences.

Or thought leaders.  Or experienced social entrepreneurs, proven track records, or just any example.

Now try explaining to everyone you want to be a social entrepreneur.

“You mean a social worker?”

“What’s a social engineer?”

“Oh cool!  Wait, what do they do?”

“Oh… well, good luck with that.”

It was lonely.

What was the next step?

While still excruciating, that year I found the right people and the right idea. VolunteerMatch came into being. It was a ‘lucky’ confluence of the Web (I love scale), do-gooderism, and providing a solution to people finding quick, accessible efficient ways to volunteer. Even then, it still wasn’t my full calling, because it wasn’t global. While grateful, I had more work to do to find my true purpose.

So while I was struck with a wonderful devotion in life, it took years to manifest it. Four to reach VolunteerMatch. And then for my true calling, international, through UniversalGivingthat would take ten.

Ten years.

What you have to remember is, every passionless dead-end is still a precious part of your process.

You must commit to serving and helping others in your current situation, even when you don’t want to be there.

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In so doing, you commit to good values and build your strength. You also meet helpful people. You meet people you can help.

You learn many valuable skills. In my case, sales, PR, broadcast communications, international on the side.  All of those experiences came back into play in my effective governing of UniversalGiving.

This fight to find what I love to do, enabled me to go through my midlife crisis 25 years earlier than most. I am clear, pure and passionate about what I do and the meaning in my life. It has led me to fight for others, so they can have this too.  I am almost equally passionate about UniversalGiving, as I am about helping people find their pathway in life.

I wake up in love to live each day.  I know what it means to me, and I don’t take it for granted. Every day I get to help others, with my heart and with my mind, for the community and in business. That is what I get to do with a wonderful team. Every day.

So my efforts to serve certainly started with poverty, but now extend into striving to be a great social entrepreneurship leader; and to be available for anyone who would like to talk about their pathway. I hope to serve not just my industry and global social entrepreneurship, but also the entering leaders, to help them.  One of the greatest joys has not just been being a social entrepreneur, but also helping pave for others, for our social entrepreneurship industry.

ROUGH: Continue Giving

In my final notes to all of you who wish so sincerely for this meaning…

Please, don’t give up.

DO NOT give up.

The joy you will find is lovely, fruitful, fulfilling. It is life-giving to yourself and others. It will build you in ways you will never imagine, and bring the right people into your life. And it might be much simpler for you. If so, cherish it.  We all receive our challenges in life, in different ways.

Mine wasn’t an easy journey, but it was filled with joy despite the challenges. Making it big is not about money.  I am “wealthy” because of the joy-filled, purposeful life that I lead. I am alive, not just because I breathe. I am alive because I truly live.  I hope I can help others become “rich,” too.

From Rough to Joy.

Dear reader, I hope this helped you. It wasn’t easy for me to write, but I did it.

Love, Pamela

The Classic Pamela Positive: Make Criticism Yield to You

 

“Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself;

he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him.”

 

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

 

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No matter how hard it is, we have to face challenging feedback and take some step of action. It’s not easy… but the more we do it, the more we become accustomed to it. To being honest with ourselves… and to overcoming the challenge.

 

We grow, we excel, and we move on, up and over it.

 

With that honesty, as Goethe states, the criticism “will gradually yield to him.”

 

 


 

 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, and natural philosopher, best known for his two-part poetic drama Faust, which he started around the age of twenty-three and didn’t finish till shortly before his death sixty years later. He is considered one of the greatest contributors of the German Romantic period. At the age of sixteen, in 1765, Goethe went to Leipzig University to study law as his father wished, though he also gained much recognition from the Rococo poems and lyric he wrote during this period. In 1766, he fell in love with Anne Catharina Schoenkopf (1746-1810) and wrote his joyfully exuberant collection of poems Annette.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe now rests in the Fürstengruft or “Royal Tomb” in the “Historic Cemetery” in Wiemar where his dear friend Schiller is also laid to rest. In honour of these two famous German men of letters, a statue of Goethe and Schiller now stands at the German National Theatre in Munich. UNESCO’S “Memory of the World” list includes the handwritten works of Goethe preserved by the Goethe-Schiller-Archive.

Bio Source: The Literature Network

The Classic Pamela Positive: What Love Is

 

What Love Is

 

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It’s the warmth of your eyes.

It’s the feeling in your heart.

It’s the slowing down to care.

 

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It’s connecting.

 

It’s giving.

 

And you can do it right now. Go reach out to someone and give them your love.

 

Love Today,

 

Pamela

 

 

Citations:
Fig. 1: Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash
Fig. 2: Photo by Ryan Holloway on Unsplash

The Classic Pamela Positive: “A Selfless Person Is More Concerned About the Happiness of Another…”

 

“A selfless person is one who is more concerned about the happiness and well-being of another than about his or her own convenience or comfort, one who is willing to serve another when it is neither sought for nor appreciated, or one who is willing to serve even those whom he or she dislikes.

A selfless person displays a willingness to sacrifice, a willingness to purge from his or her mind and heart personal wants, and needs, and feelings. Instead of reaching for and requiring praise and recognition for himself, or gratification of his or her own wants, the selfless person will meet these very human needs for others. ”

–H. Burke Peterson

 

 

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What a great lesson to learn today, team Living and Giving. You need
to think about how you can think about others. 

We all have a tendency to think about our lives, our pathway, our job,
our marriage, our date, our dog, our, our, OUR!

Get off yourself and on to serving others.   You will feel an
indescribable joy, and, relief!  Life is not just about you. Start
living… for others.

I love you,
Pamela


 

 

H. Burke Peterson was an authority in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the author of “A Glimpse of Glory”. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. In World War II, he fought with the American Navy in the Pacific theatre.  After the war, he attended the University of Arizona and went on to receive his masters at the Utah State Agricultural College. Throughout his time serving in the church, he was published in The Ensign of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the official periodical of the Church, numerous times He was married to Brookie Carden in 1947, and they had five daughters.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Celebrate True Wealth

 

Wealth is a state of mind and life. We tend to associate poverty with money. But poverty can be mental, emotional or Spiritual Poverty.™ I am often struck by this in my travel and volunteering in developing nations. Often, the divorce rates are low. Families not only stay together, but also spend time together. They gather food from the fields together, cook together and share meals together.

 

 

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Contrast us: 15 minute family dinners if we are lucky. Fast-food and food distanced from its natural base. We eat alone; we eat in our cars. Divorces are easier to get, and in our mind it can be easier to allow those thoughts in as a possibility, rather than work through critical issues. So we lose the connection to family. We lose the connection to the local farm. We can lose the connection to long-term commitment.

 

 

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We lose our greatest asset in natural wealth: relationships. Relationships with ourselves, our families, the earth. This wealth creates happy, balanced, productive, lower stress lifestyles, because we are connected in the way we are meant to be.

Further, we often pass by our heritage and where we come from. In many emerging nations, and especially in the continent of Africa, we see tribes value their connection to their heritage as primary importance even above their nationality. There is a deep-rooted connection to rituals and history which keeps people grounded in who they are, and the deeper, long-term meaning of being a part of a larger community in their lives.

 

 

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Poverty is about money, at times. It has to be addressed as people should have the opportunity to live productive lives and make choices about what they would like to devote their lives to. Poverty is also about our well-being. Often when we get beyond “money poverty,” we forget “well-being poverty,” and get trapped in a go-go-go consumer culture.

 

 

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I hope we can celebrate the healthy wealth that is accessible to us all in positive, committed relationships with ourselves, one another, our families, our earth, our communities and our heritage. How wonderful this is available to us all.

 

 


Citations:
Fig. 1: Photo by Lee Myungseon on Unsplash
Fig. 2: Photo by Sai De Silva on Usnplash
Fig. 3: Photo by Ramdan Authentic on Unsplash
Fig. 4: Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Smile at A Stranger, and The Important Reason Why” – Juliana Margulies

 

“Walk down the street and smile at a stranger. He’ll smile at the next stranger passing by, and then the whole street is smiling. And no one knows why.” 

— Juliana Margulies

 

 

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I love this quote. The only reason why we need to smile… is simply to give joy. Give joy to ourselves and to others… it’s one of our main reasons for being. And while people may not know why you are smiling, they’ll soon find out. It makes the world go around with peacefulness, graciousness and loving kindness. That’s reason enough. 🙂

 


 

 

Juliana Margulies is an American actress who achieved success as a regular character on ER, for which she received an Emmy. She grew up in New York, the youngest daughter of Jewish immigrants. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a philosopher and Madison Avenue advertising executive. More recently, she took the lead role in The Good Wife, and has received a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards. Margulies attended Sarah Lawrence College, where she appeared in a few college plays. In 2007, she married to Keith Lieberthal, and they have one young son together.

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Love Many, Trust a Few, And Always Paddle Your Own Canoe”

 

“Love Many, Trust a Few, And Always Paddle Your Own Canoe”

 

–Terri, from Coudersport, PA, as seen on Dark Chocolate Dove Wrapper

 

Terri has it right. What a joy to enjoy dark chocolate, which I love, with a truly inspired quote.

 

 

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Life affords us so many ways to love, and how important we keep doing so. At the same time, we have to be careful, and so Trust, or entrusting ourselves to others, perhaps must be a bit more rare.  I wish it weren’t so… however, everyone is on their pathway of personal growth. So we must honor them, honor ourselves: We should always love, but not necessarily entrust to others.

 

As far as paddling one’s own canoe. As my Oma says, “You’d better put a little elbow grease into that.” She was always ensuring she had pulled her weight. In fact, when I went over to Oma’s for a sleepover as a young child, even at the age of 8 or 9, our fun together — was working together. We scrubbed the kitchen floor on hands and knees, sharpened pencils, and wrote up a list for the freezer so she knew what was in there. She taught me to care about being clean, ordered and organized, which made her home special. She made it fun. I loved working with my Oma.

 

 

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Terri, we thank you for a quote which has delighted us all!