#94) Get our eBook: "Oh Sh*t. Now what? How Impact Entrepreneurs Become Great Leaders During Times of Crisis"
#82) Got hope? Here's one entrepreneur that sold all his businesses to rescue 12,000+ street children
When my (now) wife and I were dating about 20 years ago in Japan, she worried that she was making a bad investment in me.
Because I was bordering on monkhood. (Not ideal for husband material.)
Over the years, I've spent time in monasteries affiliated with French-Vietnamese Buddhists (Thich Nhat Hanh, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee), Thai Buddhists, Zen Buddhists (Tassajara, part of the San Francisco Zen Center), and Catholicism.
Additionally, I've hung out with the brother of the Dalai Lama at his Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, and worked on (and failed at) a regular meditation practice at home and at local Zen and Korean Buddhist centers.
Along the journey, I've had some wild experiences. Here are a few:
So what does all this have to do with climate change and cleantech entrepreneurship?
First, who cares? This is what life is all about, exploring possibilities and other cultures. :)
Second, it's about bringing one's whole self to work. We're more than our LinkedIn resumes.
The other day, during a session with my business coach, she said, "Chris, most of your peers, partners, and students see you as a Type A, hard charging, mission-aligned, finance-oriented, Excel-loving business person. But what if they also knew about you as an introspective, meditating-in-caves, compassion-filled dude (with a pony tail)? How much more could you resonate with them and help them reach their own goals?"
Third, it's a reminder to get to know more about the unknown aspects of your customers and employees. They offer so much more than just what they provide to your business. As an example, yesterday I was running a group coaching call and realized that one of these emerging leaders spoke Mandarin. Given his Caucasian American appearance, it was delightfully mind-expanding, and it created a chance to share how I had learned a different Asian language, Japanese. (But I conceded that his skill may be more practical than mine in the years to come.)
Finally, it's a shout out to the science-backed benefits of mindfulness and mediation. Here's a summary from Headspace, the meditation app founded by a former British monk who studied circus arts before being ordained in a Tibetan monastery in the Indian Himalayas. By the way, fun fact on this company: It's valued at more than $300 million. Holy Buddha!
Alright, time for me to go and meditate. Just kidding. I'm 100% in work mode. I'll save meditation for tonight and hope that I don't fall asleep instead after the kids go to bed.
First, get in line.
When you have billionaires like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, and Richard Branson involved, you'll get lots of entrepreneurs knocking on the door.
Second, the bar is high.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures only invests in "technologies with the potential to reduce at least half a gigaton of greenhouse gases every year, about 1% of projected 2050 global emissions."
Third, they invest across the spectrum of company stage and scale. See below.
Fourth, their investments can cover a wide range of sectors with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This was pretty mind-expanding when I first saw this. #WayMoreDiverseThanSolar
Finally, to get a sense for who they've already invested in, check out their portfolio companies here.
You feeling confident yet?
If not, then let's settle for hopeful -- that is, optimistic that the world has groups like BEV investing in world changing solutions led by high performance CEOs.
Screenshots from Breakthrough Energy Ventures website
Finally, climate change entrepreneurs are not seeking concessionary financial returns. We're not after sacrifice (though personally, I love it). It's about "yes, and" not "no, but."
We're about abundance and shareholder capitalism.
But, as speakers at this week's Sustainable Business and Social Impact conference at Duke University's business school noted, sometimes we should be fine with "great" financial returns, not "maximizing" financial returns at all costs to other stakeholders.
Photo from Jason Rosewell on Unsplash