My guest for Episode 015 of the Mountain Mantras: Wellness and Life Lessons show is Paul Shoemaker, author, philanthropist and change agent.
What can I do to change the world? The common reaction to that question is to feel that it’s futile, that the world is just too big and complex to affect change. But what about the people who are making a difference every day? We regularly hear about everyday heroes who are making significant impact on daunting social issues. How do they do it? Paul Shoemaker shares inspiring stories and advice during this interview.
Paul is the Founding President of Social Venture Partners International—a network of thousands of leaders supporting social change in nearly 40 cities and 8 countries around the world. He has spent the last 17 years connecting people and organizations that are on the same journeys to change the world.
About his book, Can’t Not Do
CAN’T NOT DO provides the tools and answers to convert positive intention into positive action, not only with compelling narratives of people who have done it, but by distilling the core lessons learned by successful social change leaders to become more effective. Through foundational questions, personal evaluations, and concrete instruction, Shoemaker shares the necessary wisdom to achieve real progress.
Shoemaker argues that we don’t have to be famous or wealthy to make a deep difference. We have the solutions, technology, and resources necessary to fight many of the world’s largest social problems. The most vital missing link needed is more people – committed people—who can marshal resources with passion to make change happen. “Because of the world we live in, full of social multipliers, one person can have such positive impact,” he says.
With so many social challenges facing our world, trying to effect change feels daunting. The problems are complex, the politics murky, and the players innumerable. Yet, every day there are regular heroes making a significant impact on our most intractable social issues.
“Can’t Not Do” is a catchphrase for the urge that captures the heart of effective social change agents—explaining, in their own words, their passion and drive: “I can’t not do this.” “It’s not that I can do this, it’s that I can’t not.” “I could not imagine not doing something about this issue.” The surprising truth from the trenches is: we already have numerous proven solutions for our many social challenges; what our world needs most, and what most changes our children’s future, are more people prepared and committed to act on their social impulses for the long haul. Innovation helps. Money helps, too. But greater numbers of committed people help the most.
If you feel an internal, persistent call to do more for the world, Can’t Not Do will help you to bridge the gap between “wanting to do” and “doing”—to access the drive of an effective change agent, to break through self-imposed barriers, to learn key principles for success, and to start seeing yourself acting as a change agent.
There is no “secret sauce” someone is born with and no special club needed to be successful at social change. Rather, successful change agents share some fundamental orientations to the world and to their committed cause and, over time, learn certain lessons that help them become more effective. These lessons are reflected in Can’t Not Do in seven seemingly simple questions that provide guideposts and unlock the reader’s potential to make a difference for a social cause they care about.
This isn’t a self-help book. It’s an inspiring narrative intertwined with a “street-readiness” dialogue, between the author and you, between you and your inner aspirations. These are authentic success stories, vital questions, and unconventional answers that can guide and inspire you to realize your greatest potential.
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