Eight (8) years ago I set a 10 year goal to spend most of my time on projects that affect the world around me (near and far) in a positive way through a return to volunteering. After many years trying and after my placenta died causing massive hemorrhage, I beat a 21% fatality rate and delivered a wonderful miracle daughter. Originally, my idea was to find my way, within 10 years, to South East Asia and work in educating girls who have been rescued by Swiss and French organizations from sex traficking. Back then, this topic was still very taboo and the silence contributed to the unbelievable growth of this inhumane criminal activity all over the world. In the past 2-3 years, this issue has gained tremendous traction and is now widely recognized, along with other types of slavery, as a major problem we must address. Addressing issues facing women and girls are the most powerful lever to a happier world.
In the process of raising my daughter for the first 10 years of her life and trying to figure out what I would do when I turned 42, my whole world changed. For the nth time in my life I wound up in the path of a negligent person and was crushed between two cars. I divorced the father of my daughter. I suffered the US economic meltdown after I had put all my eggs in the U.S. market (Americans are my favorite clients.) However, through all of this I made serious headway in preparing my life for the next stage.
One of the issues I have is that I do not come from a background of philanthropy. In fact, the mere mention of volunteering in my family is meant with negativity. The mere mention of a world changing idea generates an onslaughts of ‘no you can’t’. In order to avoid being outcast, I have developed a system for helping those close to me achieve their goals, whatever they might be, in a very discreet way. With each success, my fears diminished. I also worked very hard to develop a chosen family based on loving relationships with partners who share the same desire to change the world or simply encourage me to do it. With each long-term relationship I created, my fears diminished. Over the past year I have been underemployed but still, I was able to reintegrate the world of 9-5 and regain full mobility after a few years of being crippled by chronic pain. I no longer feel permanently handicapped and unable to travel. When thinking about moving to another country, I wonder if I could live alongside other women who make do with much less Western comfort. In 2010, after many years of trying to catch up on the horrendous utility bills I accrued while living for 2 years in an ill-insulated cottage, my power was cut off. For 5 months I lived with only one electric outlet provided by a neighbor to accomplish everything I needed to do. I did not feel my quality of life reduced from this. In fact, I feel that, with little or no resources, I always manage to hack life in a way that is really awesome. I haven’t finished catching up with the expense of life but most days I just want to jump up and scream ‘I win!’ as I have achieved some other awesome milestone.
I cannot see anything preventing me from changing the world anymore so I quit my job a few weeks ago. This doesn’t mean that I will gain 40 hours a week. I will continue my social media strategic work with the business group and I have a gazillion short term tasks to accomplish for the entrepreneurs I coach and for the businesses I manage. I will keep time for a few new projects or coaching gigs. But in the short term, I expect to apply 25% of my time to my philanthropy projects. I will be applying to fellowships or proposing large projects to various organizations I follow. Of course, as a long time e-business specialist and recent social media and game layer enthusiast, my suggestions will have lots to do with games, education, social media and business workflows. I also expect to develop some presentations as a means to entertain while practicing presenting Ignite-style & long-form. I have also taken my gating process up a notch by creating a validation committee to revise and prioritize all my projects every 90 days. We are going to call it the V.O.I.D. (Validating Opportunities in Development) Integrating friends and colleagues in a review process will give us all a chance to have fun and exchange ideas on a regular basis.
I still have no idea what I will be doing in 2 years when my daughter enters high-school (here or somewhere else in the world) but I am returning to a life where I can affect real change and see the results first hand.