As a social entrepreneur, many of us have a strong belief that we have a predisposition in life to make a positive impact on the world. The notion of the Triple Bottom Line is becoming increasingly important in the business world. It is possible – and desirable — to seek a business outcome that is not only profitable and economically viable, but also environmentally sound and socially desirable. Indeed, Social Entrepreneurship is on the rise, which also brings with it a high level of responsibility and dedication for those on the forefront of change.

Oftentimes community leaders must overcome the biggest obstacles in order to reach the end-goal. Too often do I find myself in conversations with fellow colleagues, friends and family who talk about a dream they had, and the wall they hit in making that dream become a reality. Mistakes and bad decisions only define our character and make us stronger business professionals. While we may have a lofty end-goal in mind, there is not always one right path to take in the business world in order to make our biggest dreams become a reality.

Life sometimes feels like a maze: full of opportunities to go off the beaten path, stumble upon dead-ends, and take wrong turns…but in order to reach the end, we always need to take a risk and remember all of our turns and dead-ends define us and open us up to new insights.

There will be times when we may be ready to settle on certain choices or throw in the towel on ventures, but it is always important to stay focused on the end. No matter how unclear and twisted things may seem at times, there is always a way out. Sometimes we just need to work out the kinks on our current path, take a deep breath and move on. We are never stuck in one place or at a true dead-end in reaching our goal. Even if we must back peddle, there’s always a way out and another path to take.

We cannot read the future. No matter how often people around you say “I told you so!’ when you make a bad decision, they cannot read the future, either. We don’t know how something will play out until we give it time to play out.

As my favorite Transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

As we continue our Social Entrepreneur quest through the maze of life, we need to:
Take the time to learn from our mistakes before we let them get us down;
Acknowledge our wrong turns and failures before we back peddle into another mistake;
Stand by our choices and allow ourselves to see things for how they really are;
Ask for insights from others but have the strength to be accountable for our own actions;
And be ready to allow ourselves to be open to new perspectives before we ask for the guidance we seek.

Blog Post by Whitney Ehresman, Business Development Manager at Advanced Technology Recycling

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