How We're Holding Ourselves Back From Success
(And What We Can Do About It)a chat with Kari Enge

Welcome to another Chat For Change — and get ready to meet Kari Enge, a true servant leader and founder of Rank&File magazine.

As a first-time startup owner, Kari has achieved something amazing in the short span of two years: without a professional background in journalism or publishing, she has successfully created a different kind of Conscious Business media company. Her beautifully designed online magazine not only scored thought-provoking interviews with leadership experts like Simon Sinek, but has attracted a growing community of like-minded social entrepreneurs through its practical advice and very human touch — all of it ad-free. In addition, Kari is part of a new documentary film about the rise of social entrepreneurship, called The New Breed.

We would love for you to celebrate a milestone with us: recently, Kari published the 10th issue of her magazine. This meant ten magazines full of inspiring entrepreneurial stories, of resources and workbooks created specially for startup teams, and of hard-earned wisdom from Kari's own journey.

Take a moment (well, about 15-20 minutes) to join Kari and me as we reflect on how all of us can influence our own entrepreneurial progress and personal growth.

Here are some of the questions we're exploring in this story:

  • What do we (too often) overlook when trying to make an impact now?
  • Does perfection matter?
  • How committed should I be to my business model?
  • What's a unique trait that successful entrepreneurs have?
  • How can I define failure so that it helps, not blocks, me?

Before we dive into them, let me quickly share a startup tale that illustrates why we need to ask ourselves especially the next question not just once:

So, what's our model?

Not too long ago, three surfers got together and founded a company with a tough mission: find novel ways to reduce the plastic pollution in our oceans. And as fate would have it, they soon stumbled across a life-changing solution. Realizing that discarded fishing nets represent a significant part of plastic pollution, they created a process to collect and recycle the nets with the help of Chilean fishermen. At the same time, the startup commits to support the fishermen's communities through social projects.

So where's the catch? Well, it's not that the idea doesn't work — it does very successfully — but that the goal behind the mission proved to be limiting. That goal was to build a business producing skateboards using the recycled material. The company was supposed to be a skateboarder's life-style brand, and the business model was carved out to enable this goal.

But it quickly turned out, that people were more interested in their recycling efforts and the new material they were generating. Reality now called for openness and courage: would they be willing to change their goal and thereby their business model to take advantage of these new opportunities?

Yes, they were. They've partnered with companies such as Patagonia to expand their recycling mission and make their special material available to the manufacturing of a wide range of products, from office chairs to sunglasses. They're growing in unforeseen directions — and still get to make their skateboards.

This company is Bureo, and you can read lots more about their journey in Rank&File's interview with Bureo's founders on the set of The New Breed film.

In our chat, Kari and I often came back to Bureo's story and what choosing a business model actually means for a startup. Listen in to an excerpt from our chat, as we talk about what every entrepreneur should consider: where we need to be flexible, how we can create impact now, and what might be holding you back from answering exactly those two questions. We'll also get to one simple question that can make a big difference to your model, plus: why entrepreneurs should be selfish.

We're jumping right into the cute intro here.

What is failure?

As you probably know from personal experience, the way we define failure can help or hinder our entrepreneurial dreams. It can have a huge positive or negative impact on how we view and deal with our chosen business model. Listen in as Kari and I move deeper into the question of flexibility and growth — personal and organizational — and learn about a special symbol of leadership that can transform the way you think of your work.

Thanks for listening in! I hope this story sparked ideas or aha-moments for you that will help you move forward. Just remember to stay true to yourself, enjoy the ride, and don't forget to ask yourself: What does this make possible?

External resources mentioned in this story:

Rank&File Magazine:
Simon Sinek featured in Issue 1.
Bureo featured in Issue 10.
Theory of Change Method & Workbook featured in Issue 10.

The New Breed social enterprise documentary film:


Raven + Lily fair trade:

Full disclosure: Christine is a member of Rank & File's independent Advisory Board.

© August 2018

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