Social Entrepreneurship Rules of Engagement: Don’t Burnout Before You’ve Even Started

Hey, social change agents!

The answer?

3. You’re nearing energy saturation.


As Craig Zelizer notes in his blog post entitled Quit to Win, But Look Before You Jump, “I know that I couldn’t continue to do both [my day job and PCDN] indefinitely without burning out.” You know you’ve come to the cross roads of decision-making when your energy to do both your day job and your side project become unsustainable. I think that in business and in other areas of our lives, Americans (and perhaps even Westerners in general) aren't great at transitions and 'rites of passage'. We have arbitrary benchmarks that delineate major changes in our lives, often without considering the preparation needed to fully embrace those changes. For example, think about when you turned 18. Graduating from high school and preparing for college might be the most immediate thing on your mind, but what about the fact that 18 is the magic number when you are tried as an adult in the criminal justice system? Or the fact that you can legally be drafted into the military at 18? These are things that we don’t have incremental goal posts to mark the transition from ‘child’ to ‘adult’. One day you’re a minor, and then next day, you’re an adult. The point I’m trying to make here is that our current systems surrounding important points of transition, don’t give us a good sense of the process of change. When change becomes a binary state, it’s only natural that you’d have difficulty managing the transition from employment to social entrepreneurship. My answer is to maintain an honest dialogue with yourself, to check in with yourself on your own energy levels as they are spread between both employment and social entrepreneurship. I know I thought (and probably still think in some areas) that I was the social entrepreneurship version of Rambo, but giving yourself the time and space to build your business is the best self-care you can do for your yourself. In fact, I provide an 8-step plan to move from employment to social entrepreneurship in my September 3, 2016 post entitled How to Plan Your Employment for Social Entrepreneurship.

Blog Ending

By recognizing our own limitations and planning appropriately, social entrepreneurs can more successfully do what we love and love what we do faster and more efficiently. In fact, it's not even really about us; it's the causes we champion that are getting the best of us, and that benefits the society as a whole.

For Craig’s original words, check out his blog post . You can also read about my 8-step entrepreneurial journey in How to Plan Your Employment for Social Entrepreneurship. Make sure you don’t miss his responses to my inquires and future collaborations on social entrepreneurship by signing up for my mailing list on the striped scrolling bar at the bottom of the screen.