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A sustainability maven explains what she actually does for a living…

Making a Living While Making a Difference: New Material

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In an era of economic turbulence and a widespread crisis of trust, working people everywhere are realizing that personal success is interconnected with healthy communities and the environment.  This section contains selected resources from the book, and new material for the upcoming 4th edition.  

Making a Living While Making a Difference is a timely and highly informative guide to a working life built on principled choices and an entrepreneurial attitude. No matter how broken the economy is, you need to focus on your talents and passions, and craft a contribution from these.  The book is about greener enterprises and technologies, socially responsible business, innovative nonprofit work, and reinventing government. It’s really about putting the pieces together with creativity and hope.

Here’s an example of a highly motivated young person who is doing just that.

 Candi Sterling is a 25 year old Renaissance person who combines dramatic image with a gentle style.  A social media savvy actor, writer and model who works on communications projects for New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program, Candi is the marketing assistant for Making a Living While Making a Difference. She was eager to provide the first case study for this blog by working through the steps in a systematic way.
We started where I nearly always begin the conversation, with a question:
What IS clear about the future you want to create? Not just general qualities, but specific kinds of work or play, places to be, accomplishments.
Candi responded:   writing, arts, travel and graduate school (For where and what is unknown, but I love learning and centers of academia)
She was clear on her personality traits:
1.  Social
2.  Observant
3.  Networking
4.  Professionally Identified
5.  Creative and artistic
6.  Verbal with an appreciative for colorful words
7.  Fast paced
8.  Direct interpersonal communication
9.  Extraverted
10. Engaging others in decision making
She was equally clear on her values:
1.  Clean healthy living (almost to an OCD degree)
2.  Education (the continuation and Graduate Programs are now being evaluated)
3.  Honesty (Having the ability to make informed decisions)
4.  Time Freedom and Flexibility
5.  Creativity
6.  Multi-culturalism
7.  Sustainable practices
8.  Holistic ways of thinking
9.  Flexibility and integration
10. Organic Expression
Candi’s recent projects range from co-planning events for the Hudson Valley Smart Growth Alliance, to producing a multigenerational beauty pageant benefit for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.  She has a good handle on the way her current work is building up a career foundation. She says,” The story of my work history is one of creativity. It has been a process of ‘zeroing in’ on what would be enjoyable based on experience and approaching situations with little expectation.”
1.  In terms of a “job” I am already on the path with the Hudson River Estuary Program to gain experience as an environmental writer and eco-content curator. The next step is to push momentum into the other two main active projects that are poised to be lucrative.
2.  The first is Yceeya Network: “Yceeya Network serves the entrepreneurial community by being the Catalyst for Business Connection and Sustainable Business Growth”
3.  The second is running my “UnFranchise” business via the Shop.com platform and pushing my focus areas:
a.  Non-Profit Program Campaign for Art Boundaries Unlimited
b.  Web Solutions and Content Creation for Small Business and Entrepreneurs
c.  Offering the “Entrepreneurialize Your Passion” program—a holistic process that gives complimentary sessions to collaboratively guide people in monetizing the work they already do or channel a passion into a lucrative business project.
She had no trouble listing recent accomplishments, and had begun to find language to describe their impact.  This is a critical stepping stone toward understanding what’s important in your work, to you and others.
Recent Accomplishments:
1.  Profiled on the online magazine “Daily Single” that interviews a working professional daily and tells their story and promotes their professional projects.
2.  Facilitated team project as a teaching fellow at Singularity University (summer 2010)
3.  Interviewed on camera an entrepreneur launching a new business, as well as being a featured industrial actor for Technology Beat Studios.
4.  Organized and edited major water conference documents and got them up on a state website.
5.  Became a certified web center specialist and launched www.iPresence.biz,  a business to help entrepreneurs and small businesses have effective and sustainable online presence.
6.  Co-hosted and sang the National Anthem for statewide pageant event
7.  Recently voted onto the board of the international organization, Art Boundaries Unlimited.
8.  A variety of published work.
Impacts of recent accomplishments:
1.  Organizational impact and facilitating high performance organizations
2.  3 new projects created from water team project with 1 taking off with continued growth
3.  Strategic communication & articulation
4.  Emotional balance of others kept in check
5.  Interpersonal organization and systems troubleshooting (problem solving)
6.  Introduced the concept of working collaborative in a manner similar to artists.
In spite of all that, Candi said frankly, “Sometimes, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know I’m doing something worthwhile.”
Some of the Ten Steps came easily for Candi.  Wake up?  Done.  Support system?  Vigorous, diverse, and activated.  Step 2, Stabilize your life, was an ouch point.  Watching Candi move through the New York City metro area from her environmental job in New Paltz to Long Island via New York City based events and meetings, I asked her to create a time budget – one of the most probing exercises in the book.  For weeks we joked about the pain this was bringing up for her.  When she did it, sure enough:  the week has 168 hours, but Candi’s week had 187 or more. To be sure, some activities overlapped, but she acknowledged a lack of boundaries in her quest for adventure and achievement.  She noted that true “down time” is not easy to protect, and that her support system was perhaps a bit too vibrant.
Wrestling with Step 6, “Identify the essence of your work in the world,”
Candi responded:
1.  I’m leading multiple lives, and integration is a work in progress
2.  What is the real “work” I’m doing in all of these multiple lives and projects?
3.  Perhaps the essence is creating opportunities and visibility for these projects, enabling them to happen and working as a catalyst.
Candi is committed to her projects, but she has yet to uncover a integrating principle that will characterize the strongest and most vital projects, jobs and businesses.   Her answers to Step 7 — on commitment — show that, beyond the projects, she is living the questions.
Candi’s experiences are diverse in more ways than the categories she uses to describe them.  Her time is strategically divided with about half of it spent using good marketing, facilitation and communications skills in worthwhile but conventional settings, from marketing networks to a state agency.  Beyond these experiences, she has fallen into some extraordinary gigs, like accompanying a destination speaker for a Caribbean cruise, and spending a summer as a teaching fellow for Singularity University, a NASA and Google supported initiative of technology innovators developing bold, global-scale concepts that stretch human potential.
As Candi reflects on the nontraditional choices – unorthodox projects, and things she has done in a signature style – she will further clarify the essence of her work and the precise commitments that will move her unique career forward.

Written by melissaeverett

August 21, 2011 at 10:35 pm

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