Find Your Big Goal, And Then Dance

My “Big” Goal

For the good or the bad, I am a planner. Almost two years ago, I grew a pair and quit corporate, conventional life. To justify it, I needed a plan — some direction, some inkling of a purpose to twinkle through. I dug deep and came up with a “big” goal that I scribbled down in pen — buzzword disclaimer: I will dedicate the rest of my life to fighting multidimensional poverty through economic empowerment, leveraging first the power of social enterprise. It sounds all flowery, cliched and dandy, but it’s something that has stuck for the last two years. And that’s been powerful.

Finding Them “Small” Goals

I had my “big” goal written in pen, and now I needed a bunch of smaller goals written in pencil that would contribute in some way to this mother of all goals. There were a few options I was contemplating — (1) just go to India and start a social enterprise, (2) do your MBA with a focus on social innovation or (3) educate yourself by working around the world in the social impact space.

Flexing Them Small Goals

My first hurrah turned out to be Guatemala. I was to spend six months there working for a social enterprise accelerator. The six months suddenly turned to fifteen. And my ambitious custom six-month rotational “MBA” went caput. But that’s the beauty of it. It made sense to spend the extra time in Guatemala. After six months, I had just about established myself. The unpaid fellowship soon became a decently paid job, and I got a chance to really add value while learning more than I could have imagined. Option three gave me reasonable flexibility.

Conquering Them Small Goals

This is my Round 2. In Round 1, I worked with a bunch of social entrepreneurs working in all kinds of cause areas. The breadth was what I wanted but we didn’t go deep enough. In Round 2, I will be working with one enterprise that is trying to fight poverty through job creation, sublimely aligned with what I want to eventually do in India. Add some theory on communication, leadership and management, a network of like-minded but diverse professionals, and I am all giddy right now. The program starts tomorrow. The first week is a quick crash course on biomimicry. We are going on a retreat in the middle of nowhere in Kenya to introspect and connect. Cliched, I know but I love it when you experience why clichés are clichés.

Nothing Is Better

I found out about this while I was in the middle of Bolivia. I still had a month of travel left. I was about to see Colombia and parts of Guatemala that I hadn’t yet. But all the while, I couldn’t wait for tomorrow, for the start of this next round. I feel so spoilt. There I was, travelling the world, but all I could think of was getting to Nairobi to start my apprenticeship. That’s what is so powerful about direction. “Work” becomes play, and conventional pleasures become unwanted distractions.



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Anish Malpani

Anish Malpani

Trying to incubate my own social enterprise. Also these consume me: data, spoken-word and friggin’ Arsenal.