Meaningful Work: Persistence takes many forms

For blog 5.indd

There are dreams that never leave us. The longing to follow certain work keeps revealing itself—even with children and all the wildness that family life brings. How to keep holding the thread of your dream is one of life’s magic tricks for us humans. Once, an artist told me how she held the thread of her dream to create art under seemingly impossible circumstances. For eleven years, she cared for her husband who suffered from a debilitating illness. At the time, her work had nothing to do with her art, but she needed the job to save the house from the bank. Each day as she drove to work, she imagined drawing lines between the clouds in the sky. Now in her 70’s, this artist is creating an astonishing body of work. She held the connection to her dream.

The clues on how to hold on to the thread of our dreams are inside of us. Sometimes they are right in front of us. So many individuals have excellent ideas and they have the drive to create something useful for humanity. Yet their ideas languish due to life struggles, lack of support, or not having a connection to the market.

Poonam Ahluwalia understands how fragile this thread can be. This knowledge inspired her to create YouthTrade which supports and develops young entrepreneurs. The photographs in this blog entry show three YouthTrade entrepreneurs at a MIT Conference with Aluwalia in 2013.

• Priya Samant created EarthFrendz to develop a community of women in India who make tote bags designed by Samant from beautiful recycled textiles. A mother of two children, Samant dreamed of this business when she was forced to slow down to save her health during her second pregnancy.

• Entrepreneur Annie Ryu deferred entering Harvard Medical School to build Global Village Fruit, a business designed to support sustainable agricultural development in communities in rural India.

• Frederic Byram adapted his mother’s recipe for muesli when his father encouraged him to follow his dream. With Tutu Foods, Byram plans to adapt recipes from his Costa Rican family to encourage healthy eating at modest prices.

At YouthTrade, they offer each other support and practical advice to develop their vision.

Many of us are well acquainted with the idea of dreams, but not how to nourish them and bring them to our daily lives. In upcoming Storyforth blog entries, I will share more stories on the practical ways that others held the possibility for meaningful work. I’ll close this blog entry with the poem that Ahluwalia reads at her global summits.

The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it, you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t every let go of the thread.
Rainer Marie Rilke

meaningful work

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