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How Not To Be Discouraged When Things Don’t Go Your Way For Social Entrepreneurs

Apr 13, 2022

Sometimes (most times) it’s about the process, not the result. In social enterprise, in anything really, we are often focused on the destination…the Point B. I’m here at Point A and I want to get to Point B as painlessly and quickly as possible.

This is what we want. This is not what happens.

I was messaging with a friend the other day who was coming up with one roadblock after the other. As I was thinking about how to encourage him, I realized that so much of our experience is about what we learn in the experience.

Even if I could just get on a plane and fly over the ocean or wave my magic wand and fix it all, that would stop his pain (at least this pain), but it would stunt his growth and learning.

Resilience only comes from experience. It’s one of the few things you can’t pick up a book and learn by reading. You must live it to learn it.

I could go farther down the philosophical road, but my guess is that you already know what I mean…and you know I get you. So, let’s talk about something practical.

The documentation process.

Nothing is wasted…if you save it.

You cannot imagine how.many.times. I have created content and either lost it or thought…well that was just a huge waste of time. “That’s 3 hours of my life I’ll never get back 🙄.” Thanks to technology, we don’t have to be as concerned about losing stuff these days. Thank you Google Drive, the Internet, and Evernote!

But, we do have the time-suck of content creation that comes when we’re inspired, but we think it’s crap or we’ll never use it.

My guess is…You Will Use It!

At some point, you’ll use either the exact thing you created or some derivative of it. Whether it’s an infographic, a document, or a spreadsheet. Why? Because it likely came from your Spirit. If you felt super-inspired as you wrote or designed it, it was probably a download from your Higher Power.

So, fear not. Nothing is wasted. This is about the process. This is about what you learn about yourself, your (future) organization, and your beneficiaries (the people you want to serve) as you’re creating content.

You may have created the content for a specific purpose such as a crowdfunding campaign or an interview or a news article. Even if that event doesn’t happen, likely you dug down inside to create it. The canceled event you prepared for was the spark for an opportunity you had no idea was coming! And, maybe it comes fast, and you don’t have a lot of time to prepare. Boom! There it is….95% ready to go with a few minor tweaks.

I’ve been at this entrepreneur thing for over 18 years now…in lots of different industries. So, I’ve created a lot of content. Most of which was not actually used for the intended purpose…or I did use it, then recycled it for a different purpose…even if that was an impromptu conversation with a potential new client.

This is my advice to you…whatever you’re creating, create it first in something you can save…for the future.

Here are some examples*:

*Most of these tools have an offline version, but the internet is critical to make sure it all syncs. I check often to make sure it’s saving.

1. Filling out an application that involves sentence-type responses?  Open a google doc (free) and answer the questions there first. Then, copy/paste or re-type your answers into the application.

2.  Creating a profile for a third party's website for a fundraiser, open a google doc (free), and type the questions and responses there first.

3. Create a landing page?  Again write content in a google doc first. Next, create the design in Canva (free) or on google drawing (free) or just draw it on a piece of paper (almost free).  If you drew it, take a picture, and upload it to your google drive (free) or Evernote (free).

4. Speaking of Evernote, it is an excellent tool for on-the-go. You can type notes, take pics of documents, save voice recordings…it’s all there.

5. Have a lot of lists and data? Enter it into a google sheet, then save what you want to share as a google page (google’s PDF equivalent).

Organization of your content…now that is for another post.

For now, it is important to realize that nothing you create is wasted. So, save it all! You will use it again!

Creating content is about the process, not the result.

It’s the process of learning about ourselves, our organization, and our people.

It’s about tapping into our Spirit to design our present and our future in a way that we’d never think possible while living in the tyranny of the urgent. (Which, let’s face it. Urgency is where most of us live most of the time.)

Often, it’s the content we’ve already created that propels us through those challenging experiences…the experiences which increase our resilience.