I recently watched Apple’s famous 1997 commercial “To the crazy ones” again because I feel that it perfectly describes the kinds of people all this, my blog, my coaching, my workshops and my programs are dedicated to.
I am so inspired by these kinds of people because the ones with the crazy ideas and ambitions are the ones who actually make change. However, in order to make change, there must be action first. And in order to take action, there must be belief first.
I do believe that there are people out there with solutions to cancer, hunger, poverty and other major challenges we face.
However, as it is in entrepreneurship, an idea is never enough to make change happen. Only if the idea is met with belief that it actually can happen and pursued with action, does it have the possibility to materialize.
I want to share the stories of five extraordinary people I encountered over the past two years who inspire me with their big vision and bold action.
When I first met Patrick, he worked as a corporate CFO and advisor for large organizations. In 2014 he decided to become part of the driving team behind Kingo, who’s mission is to turn lives ON! In communities without access to the electricity grid.
I remember the difference between when I met him as the corporate CFO and when he first told me about Kingo and its mission. It was two different worlds.
The day he first told me about Kingo we met for lunch in Zurich and he just came back from a trip to South Africa, jet lagged and after about two hours of sleep. However, there was no sense of fatigue at all. His lights were turned on. His eyes were glowing while he passionately told me about Kingo and its mission.
The world needs more leaders like Patrick who don’t go down the path of least resistance and take a leap of faith to live up to their full potential.
If you are one of these leaders who are on a mission to make positive change and want a sparring partner, strategist and challenger, let’s talk.
2. Lifestyle Design Convention
In early January 2015, I attended the LDC in Zurich. It was a transformational experience for me and I shared my lessons here.
I was impressed by the boldness of my friend Kai who is the organizer of the convention. He brought together over 100 people who all want more out of their lives. He facilitated the event together with some amazing speakers, including J. P. Morgan.
Lifestyle design is a very common term these days in countries like the U.S., Australia and the U.K. However, it’s not a very well known concept in Switzerland.
Few people in Switzerland talk about this concept of designing your life the way you want it.
I believe the Lifestyle Design Convention has started a discussion, a community and a place for people who are not willing to settle for the status quo and who have decided to raise the bar for themselves.
Kai has met a lot of resistance along the way. People told him it’s a crazy idea and it will never work. Sometimes, he even told it to himself.
However, it was his bold spirit, his willingness to take risk, to step up and to raise the bar for himself that made this possible.
I met the founder of WeFound, Val, for the first time in mid 2014. We had a coffee in Zurich and had a very inspiring discussion about WeFound and its mission to empower women entrepreneurs to build businesses that create impact.
I love what Val and the entire team at WeFound are building because I deeply believe in community and entrepreneurship as an enabler for change.
Despite all the “naysayers” and critics, Val decided to go after her dreams and inspire other leaders to start local communities all around Europe and build a movement that empowers women entrepreneurs to make a difference together.
4. Kalmat Foundation
John is the co-founder of the Kalmat Foundation who’s mission is to improve living conditions of children around the world by providing help to meet their basic needs.
I first met John almost two years ago, right at the time when he started another business in Switzerland. One of the first things he told me about was the Foundation and every time he tells me about it, his eyes lighten up and he talks from a place of love and compassion.
John regularly shares his updates with me on the foundation and ever since we met, they have been able to help more children every year in South Asia to get a better chance for education.
Of course, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. It’s tough. It’s hard emotional work and it takes a lot of perseverance to turn such a vision into reality.
It’s people like John, who are out there making positive change happen, who make the world a better place.
5. Trestle Foundation
Somewhere in 2014, I met Ralph, the CEO of Trestle for a beer in Zurich. I was as curious as always and hammered him with questions about the story and mission behind the Trestle Foundation.
One of the first things he shared with me was the story of when they started everything. It was a long and hard initial journey and failure stared them in the face many times.
However, they persevered and have recently launched their 20:20 initiative with the goal to empower 20’000 women entrepreneurs in emerging economies till 2020.
I have the honor to be on the Steering Committee and to help the Foundation develop the training program for these entrepreneurs.
They have been met with a lot of resistance in the beginning and were told it would never work.
However, average or mediocre ideas never change the world. Entrepreneurs with crazy ideas and ambitions do.
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