Do you shake the world through the job you do?
Just how will you make an impact in the world in the years to come?
A few weeks ago, I read a wonderful, newly published book – Shake the World (Amazon USA/Amazon UK) by James Marshall Reilly which really resonated with me.
The tagline to the book is:
“It’s not about finding a job, It’s about creating a life”
Shake the World looks into and reveals the reasons underlying the meteoric rise of a new generation of business leaders, such as Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Jessica Jackley of Kiva and Shawn Fanning of Napster. And many others.
Embracing a shift in generational values, these young people share a passion for driving powerful global change while creating sustainable organizations that often blur the old boundaries between business and philanthropy.
James Reilly has truly captured the insights of these brightest business and nonprofit leaders. And he learned that despite their different fields, they’re all using similar tools to seize opportunities and redefine success.
He suggests that to really “make it happen” these days, you need to break the old corporate mold, ignore the rules, and create your own opportunities.
The true games changers are the men and women starting their own businesses, inventing jobs that didn’t previously exist, and committing themselves fully to attaining astonishing success, however individually defined.
By looking at the inspirational stories and successes of this new breed of business leaders, James Reilly shows how they:-
- Followed their passion
- Responded to ordinary events in an extraordinary way
- Used counter-intuitive thinking and applied the same techniques to problem solving in everyday life
- Harnessed technology in unprecedented ways to build a powerful network and bring about transformational change
- Took risks that took their life on a completely different path and changed their world and that of many others.
So there you are. A blueprint for your future. And mine.
Did I say how inspired I am by this book?
I managed to track down James Reilly in his busy world global schedule for a quick Q&A:-
1. James thanks for your wonderful book! You and your book are going to shake up quite a few people’s world. What’s the most rewarding thing for you after having written such a world changing book?
I have to say that the most rewarding thing for me is when I get emails from people who say, “I just read your book, and it completely changed my life.”
And then they tell me how they were inspired to start a company, or to teach kids how to read, or to rethink their approach to their lives and careers – or simply that the book made them feel empowered about their options.
2. What started you off on your journey? Did you one day just wake up and decide to change the world?
It was more that I saw all of these young people who were changing the world already, and I wanted to figure out how they were doing it so I could learn.
I interviewed highly successful and innovative young people, and the most important lesson I took away from that experience was that we are all in the position to effect change – regardless of our education level or background.
3. What’s the single one thing that you believe stops people from making the difference in the world that deep down they want to?
I would have to say the biggest obstacle for most of us is that we don’t understand how much power we actually have to empower not only our own lives, but also the lives of others. Problems can be so overwhelming that we think, “I can’t do that.”
In Shake the World I profile people who said just the opposite, and then they acted on it. There is a lot to be said for not taking “no” as an answer. As Woody Allen famously said, “80% of success is showing up.”
4. What 3 tips can you offer for any young person starting off on their working life today?
First, allocate more time toward figuring out what you really want to do with your life – take the time to design your dream job, then either find it or create it for yourself.
I think many of us just run to the first job we are offered and then get trapped in a career and lifestyle that we are not happy with over the long-term.
Second, understand that in just the last few years, all of the old barriers to entry have changed – we don’t need schools and companies to teach us. We can self-educate. And finally, don’t get sucked into the negative attitude that has emerged from the tough economy and poor job market.
Focus instead on the unbelievable opportunities that are out there rather than on a bunch of statistics about the job market. Make sure your “work” compliments and fulfills your life.
5. Maybe not everyone wants to start up their project but I do strongly believe that everyone wants to shake the world. What suggestions can you offer these people who are working for others?
Virtually every company now has initiatives in place for corporate social responsibility. Get involved in these programs at the company you work for.
Further, there are so many opportunities outside of work that we are practically tripping over them.
Think of all of the cause-marketing initiatives you read about, or the impact that a fifty-dollar loan through KIVA can have.
On a smaller scale, we can also leverage our consumer dollars when we shop by becoming ethical, conscious consumers.
If we buy a FEED Bag instead of a “name” brand bag, we are part of a force that is working to eradicate hunger and malnutrition – to the tune of almost 70 million free meals distributed to malnourished children through school feeding. That’s powerful.
Collectively we then become part of something much larger.
6. What about business people? What 3 tips can you offer them to shake up the world?
- Channel passion and leverage failure.
- Become a positively disruptive force in your respective industry or area of interest.
- Harness capitalism in innovative ways to serve global good.
7. There is a rapidly growing awareness about the need for change and equality in the world. What are your hopes for your future? How can my readers here “Make it Happen” and SHAKE the world?
My biggest concern is over the ethics in the space.
In my book, I wrote that I think the future of global change may lie in linking for-profit businesses directly with philanthropic endeavours, which will allow us to harness capitalism and consumer dollars to address global need in a very powerful, immediate, and substantial way.
This unfortunately opens up the owners of these businesses to potential scrutiny and criticism.
There is a very strange phenomenon that goes on when people try to “give.” There is always a long line of people criticising them for not giving “enough,” or not giving “right.”
I think it is very strange. I look at them with awe and say, “Wow, you didn’t have to “give” anything. Thank you.”
So my biggest hope is that we can stop being so judgmental and look at intent.
We need to weed out the unethical players, of course, but we also need to stop saying, “what you did is not good enough.”
Look at what happens in politics. A lot of talented people shy away from becoming involved because they don’t want to risk being ripped apart by the media.
I hope that doesn’t happen here, or we will scare away many good people who are capable of incubating extraordinary solutions to global problems.
8. Finally James, what’s next for you? How will you be shaking the world in the next 5 years?
By promoting the work of good people effecting change. As a writer and the owner of a socially conscious marketing agency, it is my mission to help other world-shaking individuals get their messages out to the masses.
Thanks so much James for all your work and your outstanding book. It has been a real pleasure and an honour to interview you.
The Way Forward
So there we are. There is no excuse now for you or me not to get started with shaking the world from today.
How will YOU shake the world?
When will you begin?
Remember the power of fearless living and positive thinking.
Sounds like a must-read, this book. Loved the interview with the author. Thank you for a great post, Arvind. I am “shaking the world” I am associated with through social responsibility, trying to improve lives. I support a few children by bearing the expense of their education and food. I contribute to our local orphanages regularly. And for those whom I cannot support in an organized way, I give whenever I can (food, clothing, medical help, cash). I donate text books and school uniforms for children who cannot afford them.
My ultimate goal is to progressively increase my contribution and perhaps support entire old age homes and orphanages. Right now I set aside fifty per cent of my earnings (for what it is worth). When I complete and publish my book, I want to channel its proceeds towards helping those in need.
I try my best to be kind and helpful to people – and maintain an attitude of goodness. I think it works, as I am blessed with a wonderful family and friends who care for me.
Vidya, this is definitely a must read book. But knowing what you do for others and how you live your life, you are clearly already shaking the world!
YOU are the sort of person I aspire to be like. Though by most people’s standards, I do my bit, I feel I could be doing so much more.
Thanks Vidya for setting such an example for us.
It’s time for me and others to really shake the world!
Watch this space…
Thanks for your recommendation of the book and love the quick Q&A with James! Will consider getting one if I manage to find this at my local bookstore 🙂
Dennis, welcome to my blog.
This is a life-changing book – and I highly recommend that you read it soon:-)
Thanks for the in depth review and interview. The book sounds like a great read.
Galen, yes the book is a fabulous read:-)
This looks like an awesome book. Great interview! It’s so inspiring to hear about more and more younger people rocking the world for the greatness of all. We all having amazing levels of greatness within us. Imagine what the world would be like if we all let ours shine! I’m doing my best to let mine shine each day but reading this interview, I feel like I could do so much more.
Thanks for the awesome inspiration Arvind!
Paige, it’s so heartening for me to read such inspiring stories of young people shaking the world.
It gives me hope and inspired me to do much more myself.
Let us all shine our own greatness more and more everyday – and truly shake the world!
Onwards and upwards:-)
You have gotten my attention with this book and interview.
Jame’s road map for shaking up the world is awesome. So much of what he says I believe in and am working on but he raises the bar. I’ll be checking his book out today on Amazon. Thanks for a superb interview Arvind…Fran
Fran, I take it that you too are now raising your own bar!
Shaking up the world starts with you and me:-).
Looks alike a great book! And what a great interview! I hope I’m changing the world through teaching children and writing my blog. I’m very inspired how many people there are really trying to make a difference. That’s why I like reading blogs like yours instead of watching the news!
“It’s not about finding a job, It’s about creating a life” and I totally agree with this…We make our life and this life makes the whole world…
I was shot through the heart, definitely. I work now but this is not really the type of work I was eyeing for. I want to work in a hospital but I guess I need to wait for the right time. I am still working on it and hope that it\d come true this year. Just merely reading the interview made a big impact on me, what more if it’s already the book? Thanks!
Wow, I’m so inspired that I’m going to pass this info on to my nieces and nephews. Isn’t life grand. The world is changing in such amazing and powerful ways that it’s difficult to contain my excitement!
I agree. we need to be bold and not let old rules bound us, but create our own opporutnities and doors