How to Thrive as a Leader of Social Change

Authors: Imhotep Adisa, Green For All Fellows Class 5 In my 7 years as the Executive Director of the Kheprw Institute (KI), I have met several wide-eyed young people who want to change the world. These young people, full of passion, are determined to make a difference, yet are unaware of the many challenges they will face along their journeys.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”- Leo Tolstoy

This quote is incredibly relevant for social entrepreneurs. This is imperative.Before starting on your mission to change the world, you must remember to start with yourself.

I have been lucky enough through the years to meet people who have not only kept me accountable, but also have given me the necessary guidance to help me avoid and overcome inevitable obstacles. With that being said, I would like to offer three strategies to help you as you make a difference in your own community:

1. Do a self-check:Be honest about who you are. Right now. What is it that you’re willing to endure? The journey of the social entrepreneur is not for sprinters. It is most definitely for long-distance runners. What are you willing to sacrifice? Short-term benefits for long-term world changing objectives?

2. Be a sponge:Learn from the trials and tribulations of others and get inspiration from it. Study from within other organizations. They best present ways for you to acquire leadership skills.

3. Perseverance is key:There will be tons of bumps. There were times that my organization, Kheprw Institute, knew the lights were supposed to be shut off that day, yet we approached our work the same way that we do every other day. Nine times out of ten, the answer to our problem has walked through the door at its own pace. At the end of the day, organizations that are built to last are led by individuals who are able to withstand the most.

If you think this road will be easy, you’re in for a rude awakening. The path of a leader is often treacherous, and at the end of the day, only those who are able to endure the most survive. But if you’re able to persevere, the world is yours.

“At the moment of commitment, the entire universe conspires to assist you.”-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Step out on faith, and let the Universe be your guide.

Imhotep Adisa — Fellows Class 5

Imhotep Adisa is native of Indianapolis, Indiana. As an African-American, his interest in environmental and economic issues was born out of personal and community experiences. His interest in environmental issues was heightened after some of the young men in his program held a forum on the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Not long after, the group read Van Jones' The Green Collar Economy. Since that time most of their work has centered on creating community awareness about the environment, providing information to residents on green economic opportunities, and providing an alternative voice to the community about these issues as they relate to the African-American community.

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